Inhabiting the Mount Olympus of college football coaching are Bear Bryant, Eddie Robinson, Bobby Bowden, Amos Alonzo Stagg — and with a seat reserved is Mount Union football icon Larry Kehres.
Kehres announced on Wednesday his retirement after 27 years, 332 wins and 11 NCAA Div. III national championships. He is remaining employed as Mount Union’s director of athletics, but will transition football coaching duties to his son, Vince, per the university’s official athletic site.
“The best part of the job was developing relationships with players and continuing those relationships following their graduations.
“Coaching the Purple Raiders has been a tremendous experience for my family. We have shared many great experiences with our players, fellow coaches, trainers and their families. We plan to continue to enjoy working with Mount Union coaches and athletes.”
Mount Union won an astounding 92.5 percent of its games under Kehres’ direction. Boise State’s Chris Petersen is the closest active FBS comparison, with a 91.3 win percentage. He’s the only coach in the FBS ranks at or above 90. Alabama’s Nick Saban has won 84 percent of his game while leading the Crimson Tide.
Kehres ranks No. 5 on the all-time wins list, behind fellow D-III legend John Gagliardi, Robinson, Bowden and Pop Warner. Kehres had the shortest career among this illustrious group.
He coached four players who reached the NFL — no small feat from the Div. III ranks, which do not offer athletic scholarships. Among his pupils is Cecil Shorts, who caught for 979 yards and seven touchdowns for the Jacksonville Jaguars last season.