Exactly 25 days from today, Stephen F. Austin will kick off the 2018 season against a team from the SEC. As it turns out, the FCS school will do so without its head coach.
In mid-July, SFA announced that Clint Conque has been suspended “pending an investigation into alleged violations of university policy.” Nearly three weeks later, Conque announced Monday that he has resigned his post as the Lumberjacks’ coach.
“Today I announce my decision to step down as the head football coach at Stephen F. Austin,” Conque said in a statement released by the university. “Although I have remained confident in the ongoing investigation into the potential violation of university policy, as a family of faith and out of respect to my profession, I do not want this situation to be a further distraction to the 2018 football team and season. I deeply care for my players and wish them great success this season and beyond. …
“It has been a privilege to serve the university and to work with many outstanding players and coaches – past and present. I am proud of the foundation that is in place both on and off the field,” he said. “I have arrived at this decision on my own and look to move forward in my career.”
Defensive coordinator Jeff Byrd will continue on as interim head coach, with the school stating in its release that “[w]e will re-evaluate the leadership structure of our team at the conclusion of the year”
Conque has been the head coach at SFA the past four seasons. In that span, he went 21-25 overall and 17-18 in Southland Conference play. Since going 8-5 and qualifying for the FCS playoffs his first season, the football program has gone 4-7, 5-5, 4-7 the last three years.
Prior to that, Conque was the head coach at Central Arkansas from 2000-13, with the last seven of those years spent in the Southland Conference. During his time with the Bears, he went 105-59.
Stephen F. Austin will open the upcoming season against Mississippi State in Starkville Sept. 1.