After less than two weeks of looking for Ed Meierkort’s successor, the Coyotes found who they were looking for.
Joe Glenn became the 29th football coach at the University of South Dakota Monday afternoon as students, athletes, media and old friends welcomed him back to his alma mater.
The university began the search for a new football coach two weeks ago, when it was decided that Meierkort’s contract would not be renewed this summer.
The MUC pit lounge was filled to capacity with people waiting to hear the news. Whether they knew it before it was announced or were curious as to what was going on, onlookers were excited to be welcoming the future of the USD football program.
“It’s a very good day for the University of South Dakota,” President Jim Abbott said at the ceremony as he welcomed Glenn back to Vermillion.
Glenn graduated from USD with his bachelor’s degree in 1971 and then graduated with his masters in 1975. While completing his undergraduate degree, Glenn played football for the Coyotes as quarterback and wide receiver.
In only his second year at USD, Athletic Director David Sayler said during the ceremony that as USD finishes its final year of transition into Division I, he wanted to make some lasting changes.
“We want the leadership that will allow us to be a winning program at the Division-I level,” Sayler said. “We need to stop being afraid of success. We need to embrace it and expect success.”
Sayler said once they realized that Glenn had everything they were looking for and might be interested in the position, they focused all their searching efforts on him.
When Glenn was finally introduced, he described it as a Kodak moment with no words to describe how he felt. In his speech, Glenn thanked the university and Abbott for creating a “wow” factor on campus with all of the positive energy and changes.
Glenn said that he hadn’t planned on taking the coaching position — he thought he was retired for good and said “no” three times before deciding it was his calling.
“They were looking for a guy that has similar credentials as I have, looking for a guy to groom the staff,” Glenn said. “When I realized that if I didn’t do it, they were going to go somewhere else to get a guy, I thought I’d be as qualified as anyone to come back here and coach. I know the place, I love the place, it’s my school.”
After his acknowledgments, Glenn focused his speech on what could be expected during his reign.
“Success begins with a winning coaching staff that has strong values and strong commitments to the student athletes,” Glenn said. “They need to be involved in the students’ lives.”
Glenn calls his method of success the “make me feel good and I will produce” philosophy. It’s a style of motivation that urges athletes to compete at the height of their ability because they don’t want to disappoint their coaches, fans or teammates.
“Some schools can motivate out of the fear factor,” Glenn said. “Or, you can make people love what they do, who they are and where they’re at. You need to appeal to a young man’s sense of pride.”
Looking forward to the future, Glenn said recruiting would focus on signing all-around athletes that are winners on and off the field. Rather than just looking for those who excel on the football field, Glenn wants to recruit two or three sport athletes that have the determination to compete.
“We’re going to have a fundamentally sound team — tackling, blocking, techniques,” Glenn said. “We’re going to be disciplined, showing up on time to practice and class, and take care of teammates.”
With two Division II National Championships and one Division I-AA National Championship, Glenn has an overall coaching record of 188-100-1. Although there are some changes he wants to make, Glenn said he is excited for the future.
“The whole thing isn’t broken,” Glenn said. “I just hope that we can motivate and tweak to try to keep moving the ball forward. I might show the coaches a new way or two to do things, maybe spark up the recruiting a little bit, and do a couple little things. It doesn’t take much to get a little bit of an edge here or there.”
As for next football season when the Coyotes will be playing in the Missouri Valley Conference against teams such as South Dakota State, North Dakota State and Northern Iowa, Glenn said he expects the USD community to step up their support.
“Not just football, but let’s support all our teams until the end,” Glenn said. “We can’t do it without the band, our students and our fans. It’s all part of the love for the University of South Dakota than it is for the football team. Those are our colors out there so let’s stay here until the end of the game and cheer them on.”
Glenn ended the press conference by leading the crowd with the USD fight song, a tradition he wants to bring back after winning games.