Joplin, Mo. – Missouri Southern State University Director of Athletics Jared Bruggeman has announced today the hiring of former Southern defensive coordinator Daryl Daye as the 11th head football coach in Missouri Southern history. Daye is currently the assistant to the head coach for the NFL's Buffalo Bills. His first official day at MSSU will be January 2.
"I'm ecstatic about the opportunity to get back to the Joplin area and for my wife and me to make it our home," Daye said. "I'm looking forward to coming back and working at a quality university for quality individuals."
Daye is in his second season with the Bills. He assists Dave Wannstedt in coaching the inside linebackers and also helps coach the special teams units. He is responsible for assisting head coach Chan Gailey in the team's day-to-day administrative operation as well as numerous travel and training camp duties.
"Congratulations to Daryl Daye for getting the head coaching job at Missouri Southern," said Bills general manager Buddy Nix. "Daryl played for me at LSU. I've known him for years and he did a great job for us here with the Bills. Everybody liked him. He was the head coach at Nicholls for a few years and did a great job and he'll do a good job for Missouri Southern State, too."
Bills head coach Chan Gailey echoed Nix's sentiment.
"Daryl did an excellent job with our coaching staff during his time with the Bills organization and we are excited for him with the opportunity he now has as the head coach at Missouri Southern," Gailey said. "I want to offer my congratulations to Daryl and we believe he will do an excellent job in his new role. We wish Daryl and his wife Kathy the best of luck in their new endeavor."
Prior to making the move to the NFL, Daye spent four seasons as the Lions' defensive coordinator where he helped orchestrate one of the MIAA's top defenses. His 2008 unit led the MIAA in pass defense, holding opponents to 172 passing yards per game, while recording 58 tackles for a loss, 15 sacks and recovering all 15 fumbles the team forced. In 2007, Daye's defense led the MIAA in total defense for the first time in school history. That season, the Lions led the MIAA in pass defense, opponents' first downs (fewest), passing efficiency and were ranked second in opponents third and fourth down conversion rates. The Lions' defense was ranked 21st nationally in total defense and also broke a 17-year old school record with 21 interceptions (while a Division II school).
Prior to Missouri Southern, Daye served as special teams coach for Southern University in 2005. In that season, his punt return unit led the nation with 19.1 yards per punt return and the kickoff return squad ranked ninth nationally at 22.4 yards per return average.
Daye previously served as head coach at Nicholls State University in Thibodeaux, La., from 1999-2003. His 2003 team broke 32 school records and played for the first-ever Southland Conference Championship. Daye led the Colonels to a four-win turnaround in 2002 as the team finished 7-4 and ended the season ranked in the Division I-AA top 25. For his efforts, he was named the 2002 Southland Conference Coach of the Year. He also had stints as an assistant coach at Liberty, Southern Mississippi and at his alma mater, Louisiana State.
Daye was chosen to be the next leader of the Lions' football team amongst a group of more than 100 applications that were submitted. The search committee consisted of Bruggeman, Al Cade (Missouri Southern Faculty Athletic Representative), Jim Frazier (former MSSU AD and football coach), Bruce Anderson (President of the MSSU Lionbackers), Bryce Darnell (MSSU Baseball Coach), Julie Wengert (MSSU Associate AD for Administration), Brandon Williams (Current MSSU Football Player), Darren Fullerton (MSSU Vice President for Student Affairs), and Skip Hale (Member of the Lionbacker Steering Committee).
"I am very happy to have Daryl back in Joplin and thrilled that he has accepted the position as our new football coach," Bruggeman said. "I am very confident that he'll do a great job of leading our program in a positive direction. I am particularly grateful for the efforts of the search committee, who worked considerable hours even over the Thanksgiving break to greatly aid this process."
A formal press conference introducing Daye as the next Lions head coach will be on Tuesday, December 20 at 2 pm in room 138 of the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center.