Word spread quickly Monday morning that Sam Houston State University football head coach Todd Whitten had been fired.
Whitten, who has been at Sam Houston state for five years, has had three losing seasons and no playoff appearances.
“I was disappointed and upset,” said quarterback Bryan Randolph. “He has done a lot for the program.”
Randolph and several other players found out through word of mouth, as no meeting was called to inform the players.
On Monday, Whitten and athletic director Bobby Williams sat down for their end of year meeting. After reviewing the season and the state of the program, Whitten was relieved of his duties.
“I want to thank all the players and the assistant coaches on our staff for all their hard work over the last five seasons,” Whitten said in an interview with Sports Information. “I’ve had the opportunity to work with some outstanding young men.”
In the past two years, Whitten’s job has been under heavy scrutiny. His teams have placed no higher than fifth in the Southland Conference, and have a combined record of 5-9 in conference play.
In his tenure at Sam Houston State, Whitten has accumulated an overall record of 25-28, including a 16-17 record in conference play. He has had just two winning seasons in his five seasons at Sam Houston State. “I appreciate the hard work that Todd Whitten and his football staff have given the university,” Williams said during an interview with Sports Information. “Decisions of this nature are complex. When there are so many quality people involved, in addition to positive personal relationships, it is made even more difficult.”Williams has stated that the search for the next candidate will begin immediately.Some candidates who could be considered for replacing Whitten include Abilene-Christian’s Chris Thomsen, West Texas A&M’s Don Carthel, and Blinn College’s Brad Franchione, Jr.
“I don’t know,” said Carthel, who has coached four conference champions en route to a 90-53-1 career record. “I’d have to talk with them and think about it.”
Whitten was hired in 2005 to replace four-time Conference Coach of the year Ron Randleman. He came in from Tarleton State University with a 45-23 record, along with three conference titles and a Lone Star Conference Coach of the Year award in 1996. In his time at Sam Houston, his teams have placed no higher than second place in conference.
“He’s always been a players’ coach,” Randolph said. “We are going to miss him.”