Dave Wiemers has resigned as coach of the Emporia State football team, making the announcement after a 3 p.m. meeting with his players today.

ESU finished the season with a 3-8 record, losing its final seven games of the year.

"After committing eight years of my life to ESU football, I feel that it is time for me to step down as head coach," Wiemers said in a released statement. "As difficult as it is to leave, I believe it is the best thing to do for myself, my family and the future of the program."

Wiemers ends his tenure with a 35-32 mark in six seasons as head coach at ESU after serving as an assistant for two years. Following a 5-6 record his first season, he led the Hornets to consecutive 9-3 years in 2002 and 2003. The two-year span included a victory in the 2002 Mineral Water Bowl and ESU’s first-ever appearance in the NCAA Playoffs in 2003. He was named Wilson/MIAA Coach of the Year after the 2003 season.

"I'm very proud of our team and the accomplishments of our program thoughout the last eight years," Wiemers said. "We have taken Hornet football to a new level, and left a solid foundation which the program can continue to grow."

Since 2003, ESU has suffered through three consecutive losing campaigns. The Hornets were 5-6 in 2004, 4-6 in 2005 and 3-8 in 2006.

This year’s squad never did live up to expectations. After being picked sixth in the conference, ESU finished eighth, posting only two conference victories.

The decision came as a shock to many of the players who gathered for the team meeting. Many left with tears in their eyes as they emerged from the locker room.

"It's very unexpected," ESU senior quarterback Justin Whitworth said. "There's a lot of guys in there that weren't really ready for it."

ESU Athletic Director Kent Weiser said the search for a new coach would begin immediately. There is no timetable for the selection of a new candidate.

"ESU Athletics is indebted to Dave Wiemers, and he will be greatly missed," Weiser said in a released statement. "We wish the best for him and his family."

For additional information and reaction, read tomorrow's Emporia Gazette.

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