Mavs’ Auer leaving for Southern Illinois
Colorado Mesa assistant football coach Todd Auer wasn’t planning to leave Grand Junction, but the defensive coordinator received an opportunity he couldn’t refuse.
Auer was hired Monday as the linebackers coach at Southern Illinois University.
“I’ve never applied for a job in my life,” Auer told The Daily Sentinel on Monday evening. “I’ve always been happy where I’ve been. It’s one of those things, guys call you.”
Auer was the defensive coordinator for the Mavericks the past two seasons. CMU finished third in Division II with 23 interceptions and 19th in points allowed (19.3 per game) this fall.
Auer coached Jake Edmiston, who set a Division II single-season record for tackles (177), solo tackles (102) and tackles per game (16.1).
“It’s sad, but it’s a great opportunity for Coach Auer,” CMU head coach Russ Martin said. “He’s done a great job of getting our kids to play hard and with great expectations. This gives him a chance to coach at the Division I-AA level. We’ll make adjustments. Our kids will miss him, but they’ll still play hard.
“He instilled a great work ethic. The kids played with a great tenacity and were confident they would make turnovers.”
Auer spent 23 seasons at Chadron State, including 17 as defensive coordinator, prior to coaching at Mesa.
“I thought I had an unbelievable experience (at CMU),” Auer said. “I thought we turned the program around. The defense really bought in this year. We were 5-6 and I still had an enjoyable year. It was a lot of fun. The seniors were great. The hardest thing is leaving the kids. It was tough. I had a great defensive staff. I’ll miss Grand Junction.”
Martin is already talking to coaches at the American Football Coaches Association National Convention in Indianapolis this week about finding a replacement for Auer.
“I’m visiting with people about it at the convention,” Martin said. “We may hire from within or from outside. We’ll do what’s best for the program and the young men.
“There is no set timeline. We want to get someone as soon as possible, but it’s got to be the right fit.”
Auer will join former CMU offensive coordinator Bill O’Boyle at SIU, a Division I Football Championship Series program. O’Boyle and Auer have coached together for 18 years, including 17 at Chadron State before coming to Mesa in 2012. They have known each other for 30 years and both know SIU head coach Dale Lennon.
“It was definitely a huge factor,” Auer said of O’Boyle being at SIU. “It would’ve been a harder decision to leave (if O’Boyle wasn’t at SIU). It made the decision a lot easier. We played in (Division I-AA), but mostly coached Division II. We loved Division II level. This was too good of an opportunity with all the kids they have coming back. Next year, they could be pretty good. “
O’Boyle, who was the CMU offensive coordinator in 2012, was promoted to SIU’s offensive coordinator after this past season.
Auer replaces Eric Schmidt, who was the inside linebackers and special teams coach in 2013. Schmidt left SIU to be the defensive coordinator for the University of North Dakota. Former SIU defensive coordinator Bubba Schweigert is North Dakota’s new head coach.