Jim Lyall Steps Down as Football Coach; Matt Kohn Named Interim Head Coach for 2016 Season

Jim Lyall Steps Down as Football Coach; Matt Kohn Named Interim Head Coach for 2016 Season

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."

"I would also like to express my heartfelt gratitude to President Sister Peg Albert, Athletic Director Fred Smith, my coaching staff members and players for the opportunity afforded me at SHU," he said. "To be named the program's first head football coach has been a great honor and the highlight of my professional career."
Smith said his main focus is making sure the football program makes a smooth transition into the 2016 season.

"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."

Kohn was part of Lyall's original coaching staff at SHU. He was named the MSFA Mideast Assistant Coach of the Year in 2014. Kohn previously coached at his alma mater, the University of Indianapolis, from 2005-08. As a player, Kohn was a four-year letter winner at quarterback for UI. The former quarterback holds several school records, as well as the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference record for most passing yards in a game (645). The 34-year-old is a Lenawee County native and received his master's degree in organizational leadership from SHU in 2015.

The Saints begin the 2016 season Sept. 3 at home against Lindenwood-Belleville (Ill.). For more about SHU football, please visit www.shusaints.com.