One of the most dominant reigns in college football history came to an end Wednesday as Mount Union (D-III – OH) head coach Larry Kehres announced his retirement from coaching. He will remain on as the school’s athletic director, while assistant head coach and defensive coordinator Vince Kehres will take over as head coach.
Kehres, a Mount Union graduate, returned to Mount Union after two years as a graduate assistant at Bowling Green and one year in the Ohio high school ranks as an assistant football coach and head swimming coach in 1974. He was named athletic director in 1985 and assumed the Purple Raiders’ head coaching duties in 1986.
Mount Union ruled Division III and the Ohio Athletic Conference with an iron fist for much of his 27 seasons. Under his guidance, the Purple Raiders posted 23 conference titles, 21 undefeated seasons and 11 national championships. In a 13-year stretch from 1996-2008, Mount Union won the Division III crown nine times. Kehres’ most recent title came in his last game as head coach, leading the 15-0 Purple Raiders to the 2012 national title while ranking first nationally in passing efficiency, scoring offense, rushing defense, total defense and scoring defense.
“The best part of the job was developing relationships with players and continuing those relationships following their graduations,” Kehres said in the school’s release. “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.”
He steps down with a career record of 332-24-3 and an unthinkable .924 winning percentage.
Simply put, Mount Union’s run of dominance under Kehres will never again be duplicated in college football history. This is a career where nearly 80 percent of his regular seasons ended with a perfect record, where the last time Mount Union didn’t win the Ohio Athletic Conference and reach at least the Division III quarterfinals came in 1991, where his 12th best season ended with a 14-1 record and national title appearance, where his last regular season loss came eight seasons before his retirement. Look at it this way – every single player on Mount Union’s roster has seen the Purple Raiders win the conference championship every year of their entire life.
Vince Kehres, also a Mount Union graduate, has spent 13 years on the coaching staff, the last eight as defensive coordinator. He has had a hand in 10 of Mount Union’s 11 national titles as either a player or coach.
“Obviously Mount Union football has been a part of my entire life,” stated Vince. “I have a passion for coaching and working with young men and I can think of no better place to do that then at Mount Union. I promise this program will continue to uphold the values and ideals that have made Mount Union what it is in the world of college football,” said Vince Kehres. “Our mission remains the same — bring quality young men to this place and allow them the opportunity to grow and be successful on and off the field.”