Graybeal Steps Down as Head Coach

OGDEN, Utah – Weber State University head football coach Jerry Graybeal has asked to be relieved of his duties following a 1-10 season, the worst in the program's 43-year history.

Graybeal informed Director of Athletics William J. Weidner of his decision during a meeting Tuesday morning. Graybeal will be reassigned within the Weber State athletic department as a Special Assistant to the Director of Athletics, effective immediately.

 "I believe this decision is in the best interest of our players and Wildcats athletics," Graybeal said in a statement. "In my new role I will do everything in my power to help the program move forward. I appreciate the support of the administration, my coaches and players. We have a great bunch of guys on this team."

During his seven years at WSU, Graybeal compiled a 32-46 record, including a 20-32 mark in the Big Sky Conference.

"I appreciate all of Coach Graybeal's hard work and dedication to our football program," WSU President F. Ann Millner said in accepting Graybeal's request for reassignment. "During his tenure, Coach Graybeal has always led by example, and today's decision once again demonstrates his character and integrity."

Weidner said he welcomes the opportunity to work with Graybeal in his new role.

 "Coach Graybeal has been an outstanding ambassador for WSU, the athletic department and our football program," said Weidner. "Jerry will remain a viable and valued contributing member of our athletic program."

Weidner said a national search for a new head football coach will begin immediately.

"Weber State University and our athletic program remain committed to establishing a football program that will consistently contend for Big Sky championships and NCAA playoff berths. I am confident that, with due diligence, our national search efforts will result in the naming of an individual who will provide the dynamic leadership and vision that will be required in order for our football program to move forward and ultimately position itself to successfully compete for the Big Sky championship," Weidner said.

Graybeal, 49, signed a three-year contract last November following an 8-4 season. Weidner said the university will honor the second year of the contract. The third year was an option year, which the university will not exercise.

Weidner said that Graybeal's assistant coaches would be retained through the remainder of their contracts, which expire January 31, 2005. He indicated that they would have an opportunity to interview for positions on the new coach's staff.

Graybeal was hired as the seventh head football coach in WSU history in December 1997. Prior to joining WSU, he spent 15 years as an assistant coach at Eastern Washington University, including 10 seasons as defensive coordinator. His seven seasons at WSU ranks fourth all-time, and his 78 games coached ties him for third most in Wildcats history.

During his tenure, Graybeal posted three winning seasons (1998, 6-5; 2000, 7-4; 2003, 8-4) but failed to win the Big Sky Conference title. His best Big Sky season was 2000, when the Wildcats went 5-3 in the conference and finished tied for second. Two of the last three years the Wildcats went 1-6 in the Big Sky, finishing last both times.

In 1998, Graybeal's first season as coach, the Wildcats led the Big Sky in every major defensive category. Graybeal was named Big Sky Coach of the Year in 2003, leading WSU to an 8-4 record after it was picked last in the preseason polls.

F. Ann Millner, President

801-626-6001 ·

William J. Weidner, Director of Athletics
801-626-6817 ·

John Kowalewski, director of Media Relations
801-626-7212 ·