Northern Colorado fires head coach Dalton

GREELEY, Colo. -- The University of Northern Colorado fired
football coach O. Kay Dalton Friday after six seasons.

Dalton finished with a 38-31 overall record at UNC, including a
4-7 record -- 0-5 in the Great West Conference -- this season.

"After considerable thought and reflection I decided that the
timing is right to make a change in the coaching staff and move in
a different direction," UNC's athletic director Jay Hinrichs said.

Hinrichs said there wasn't a single, leading factor in making
the change.

"I'm in shock, total shock," said Dalton, whose entire staff
also was fired.

Dalton, who had been recruiting for next season, was offensive
coordinator at Northern Colorado from 1989 until he became head
coach in 1999.

He worked as an assistant coach for four NFL teams -- including
two stints as wide receivers coach with the Denver Broncos from
1974-77 and 1986-87 -- two Canadian Football League teams, the
University of Colorado and Colorado State University.

He also was the head coach of the Montreal Allouettes of the
Canadian Football League in the late 1960s.

UNC has spent the last three seasons making the transition from
NCAA Division II to Division I-AA. Next season, the Bears join the
Big Sky Conference.

"When [Hinrichs] told me that if I decided not to resign that
he'd have to fire me, I said OK," Dalton said. "I've always said
that I wanted to stay on for at least a year or two to see the
transition to Division I-AA through. Now, I'll be cleaning out my
desk [Saturday] and Sunday."

Northern Colorado has formed a committee to search for a new
coach and will begin the process immediately, Hinrichs said.

"We're looking for a coach with experience and a high-energy
person," he said.