Worst school record seals Lyons' fate
HANOVER, N.H. -- Dartmouth fired football coach John Lyons on Tuesday after the Big Green finished 1-9, the worst record in school history.
Lyons had one year left on his contract. In 13 seasons at Dartmouth, he was 60-68-1 overall and 43-50-1 against Ivy League opponents.
"As difficult a decision as this was, it is a good time to make this move in order to change the direction of the program," athletic director Josie Harper said. "John has had his share of success here and we appreciate all that he has done for the college, but, in the larger picture, we feel that this is in the best interest of Dartmouth football at this time."
Lyons led Dartmouth to a pair of Ivy championships, including a 10-0 mark in 1996 that was the school's first perfect mark in 26 years. During 1995-97, the Big Green went 25-4-1.
But Dartmouth has gone 16-53 since then. The only win this year was a 20-7 victory over Brown in the next-to-last game of the season.
Lyons, 52, joined the Dartmouth staff in 1988 as defensive coordinator and coach of the defensive backs.
Heavner lost the starting job midway through the season. Baylor is a two-hour drive from his hometown of Johnson City, Texas.
Heavner became the starter five games into the 2003 season and held the position before being benched in favor of redshirt freshman Richard Kovalcheck in the fourth quarter at Oregon on Oct. 16.
Heavner, a sophomore, will have to sit out next season, then will have two years of eligibility remaining.
Makonnen, the fourth-ranked Golden Bears' (9-1, 7-1 Pac-10) leading receiver in 2002, missed all but three games last season after foot surgery. He has been dogged by injuries again this year, struggling with a strained hamstring before receiving the internal injury last month.
But team doctors believe Makonnen can resume playing, and he doesn't want to miss the final regular-season game of his career -- particularly because the Bears need a victory to stay on track for a berth in the Rose Bowl.
He felt fine after participating in a full practice Tuesday.
"It's been feeling good for a while," said Makonnen, who has just six catches for 60 yards and a touchdown this season. "I just want to get out there for a big game."
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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