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Dale Lindsey may not be a household name for most, but he is one of the greatest college football coaches in history. The former Kentucky, Western Kentucky, Cleveland Browns and New Orleans Saints linebacker got into coaching more than 50 years ago.
Needless to say, the 80-year-old been around for awhile.
Lindsey coached with 19 different teams across the high school, NCAA, NFL, AFL and USFL ranks from 1974 to 2012, including a stint as the defensive coordinator for the Chargers, before landing as the head coach at the University of San Diego in 2013. He had the fourth-best winning percentage by any coach in FCS history over the course of the last 10 years and became the winningest head coach in school history back in 2021.
The Toreros won eight games in his first year. They lost just two conference games from 2014-2019 and never won less than nine games during that stretch.
It has been a different story over the last two years.
San Diego went 7-4 in 2021 and 5-5 in 2022. They marked Lindsey’s worst two seasons at the helm.
It was then announced that he retired from coaching the Toreros on Tuesday. San Diego’s football team was told by Executive Director of Athletics Bill McGillis that Lindsey was retiring on Monday night.
That doesn’t appear to be the case. Lindsey claims that he was squeezed out.
I did not f—king retire. I was shown the door and would like to coach. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.— Dale Lindsey, via The San Diego Union-Tribune
He was surprised by the retirement announcement because he says that he is nowhere near that point. In fact, despite his age, the ever-fiery Lindsey doesn’t want to hang it up anytime soon.
I wasn’t planning on retiring. I know chronologically how old I am. But I don’t function like an 80-year-old man. If you just sit at home, you become a vegetable — and vegetables die sooner or later.
I’ve seen too many coaches work their ass off for 40 years, think they’re going to go off to some golden parachute retirement. Then they’re dead in six months. I don’t want to be one (of those), nor do I intend to be one.— Dale Lindsey, via The San Diego Union-Tribune
McGillis declined to directly answer the question of whether Lindsey was fired or retired. His answer was a bunch of fluff.
Lindsey says that no matter what San Diego tries to push, he was fired. McGillis told him in a meeting that he is no longer the head football coach.
Anytime you’re called into the principal’s office, you know something’s wrong. I didn’t get a reason. I’ve been fired before. You never get a reason. I can’t tell you any more than I was told, ‘You no longer work here. Goodbye.’— Dale Lindsey, via The San Diego Union-Tribune
Considering that Lindsey says that he did not retire, it sounds like he didn’t retire. McGillis’ hesitancy when it came to directly addressing Lindsey’s departure also speaks loudly about what really went down.
Perhaps San Diego was trying to respect Lindsey’s greatness by announcing his retirement instead of saying that he was fired. Perhaps it was a miscommunication. Maybe it was a bold-faced lie.
Whatever actually happened is between Lindsey and the school, but the truth always comes out!