ADRIAN, Mich. -- Siena Heights University announced that head football coach Jim Lyall will step down effective immediately due to health concerns. SHU Assistant Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator Matt Kohn was named as interim head coach for the 2016 season, according to Athletic Director Fred Smith.
"Over the past year-and-a-half, I have experienced an ongoing health issue," Lyall said. "In light of this issue, I've decided to step down as the head football coach at Siena Heights University. This was a very difficult decision to make, but for the sake of my health and my family, it was the right time. I have complete confidence that Siena Heights football will continue to carry on the tradition that we started."
"Jim embodies everything we wanted Siena Heights football to be," Smith said. "The university owes him a debt of gratitude for taking on the challenge of beginning a successful collegiate football program. We wish him nothing but the best and know he will remain an integral part of the university community."
Lyall, who was hired in 2010 to help start the Saints' intercollegiate football program, led SHU through its first five seasons. In 2014, he was named the MSFA Mideast Coach of the Year after leading the Saints to a Mid-States Football Association Mideast Division championship. In four NAIA varsity seasons at Siena Heights, Lyall compiled a 19-21 record.
After playing for legendary University of Michigan coach Bo Schembechler from 1970-73, Lyall spent more than 40 years coaching at the collegiate level, including 25 as a head coach. He was the head coach of Adrian College from 1990-2009, compiling a record of 103-92-1, including a Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association championship. Lyall also worked for 15 years as a special education teacher in adapted physical education.
SHU President Sister Peg Albert, OP, PhD, said Lyall's contributions to Siena Heights extended far beyond the football field.
"We couldn't have asked for a better person to start our football program," she said. "We wanted someone who understood not only how to run a college football program, but could build it the right way. We wanted success both on and off the field, and Jim certainly accomplished that. I am very grateful for his service and his dedication to the mission of Siena Heights."
"We have all the confidence that Matt can continue the strong football tradition that Siena Heights has established," he said. "We know the coaching staff and student-athletes will rise to the challenge this season."
The Saints begin the 2016 season Sept. 3 at home against Lindenwood-Belleville (Ill.). For more about SHU football, please visit www.shusaints.com.