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Rich Lackner's historic 36-year run at Carnegie Mellon ends after having to withdraw from the playoffs

Carnegie Mellon (D-III - PA) head coach Rich Lackner's historic career comes to an end after campus COVID testing forces them to withdraw from the D-III playoff.

Rich Lackner has enjoyed an incredible run at as the head coach of Carnegie Mellon (D-III - PA).

Over the past 36 seasons under his leadership, Lackner has established a perennial winner at a school well known for its rigorous academic standards. He collected 234 wins, finished with a record of .500 or better in 32 of his 36 seasons at the helm, and won 13 conference titles.

Back in August, Lackner, age 65, announced that this would be his final season leading the program, setting the stage for a special season for the small college coaching legend.

The players and staff responded by playing inspired football en route to a n 8-2 season. A victory over Case Western (D-III - OH) in their final game of the regular season meant a President's Athletic Conference title and also a trip to the D-III playoffs.

Their reward for making the playoffs? A 490-mile road trip to North Central (D-III - IL) to take on the defending national champions.

While a tough draw, the Carnegie Mellon program was certainly looking forward to another shot to take the field under Lackner.

However, after a number of positive COVID tests in the program this week as a result of a required weekly testing program for varsity athletes on campus, Carnegie Mellon had to withdraw from the postseason. 

The official result of the game will go down as a no-contest. 

Director of athletics Josh Centor shared the following in a statement:

"We are devastated that we will not have the opportunity to compete in the NCAA playoffs. Our team had a remarkable season, and they earned the privilege to compete at the highest level. While we won't be able to play, this does nothing to diminish the accomplishments of each and every member of our program," said Director of Athletics Josh Centor. "Our commitment has always been, and will always be, to prioritize the health and safety of our students and the broader community."

Quite the bitter way to end an absolutely legendary career in coaching.

Please join us in congratulating coach Lackner on an outstanding career, and the best of luck in the next chapter of his life.