Tim Keating, the winningest coach in McDaniel football history who led the team to the top of the Centennial Conference before it sunk toward the bottom in recent years, was one of three coaches whose time at the school ended Friday.
Keating, 58, stepped down after 19 seasons, 110 victories and seven conference championships. The college also announced that women’s soccer coach Bryan Shumaker and volleyball coach/assistant athletic director Carole Molloy resigned from their posts.
Keating didn’t return a call seeking comment. Athletic director Paul Moyer said it’s the school’s policy not to discuss personnel matters, but praised Keating’s contributions to McDaniel.
“Tim Keating was one of the best coaches in the nation and we need to celebrate his past successes, and make sure that people understand the impact that he had both on and off the football field,” Moyer said. “I don’t think necessarily that people should pigeonhole him for just his work on the football field.
“Coach Keating was an integral part of the tradition and history of our program, and clearly he has contributed to the lives of just so many students on our campus.”
The Green Terror football team, which earned at least a share of each Centennial title from 1997-2002, hasn’t had a winning season since its last league crown in 2004. After going 3-17 from 2007-08, the squad appeared to be on the rise again when it put together back-to-back 5-5 records the next two years.
But despite being competitive in the majority of their losses, the young Terror fell off again this past season, slipping to 2-8.
Offensive coordinator Aaron Bartolain said he couldn’t put his finger on why the program tumbled.
“We just haven’t had the success that we wanted to and we worked for. I’m sure there’s a lot that goes into that, but the bottom line is we haven’t got that done,” he said. “It’s been hard to be a part of it, and that’s the hardest part because I don’t think any individual that’s been associated with this program wanted to see that go the way it went.”
Bartolain, who has been a member of the Terror’s coaching staff for 11 years and a 2000 All-American as a McDaniel player, said he hopes Keating is remembered for the good times more than the bad.
“As we saw at Penn State, it doesn’t matter what happens, if you’re one of the greatest of all time, your time is going to come,” Bartolain said. “It’s not an infinite amount of time you’re going to be there, particularly with this business.
“I think Coach Keating had a great career here. Winning conference championships and trips to the national playoffs, I think they speak for themselves. If you want to remember a few seasons, feel free to do that. But he accomplished a lot here as a head coach, more than most have.”
Sophomore running back Joe Rollins, who just completed one of the most prolific rushing seasons in program history, said the players’ reaction to Friday’s news was solemn.
“It was pretty silent when Mr. Moyer first told us. No one really spoke,” Rollins said. “Everyone respected Coach Keating very much. He was a very, very nice guy, a nice coach. He cared a lot about the job. He cared a lot about the team and the program.”
McDaniel has yet to name an interim coach and Moyer said it’s too soon to know how the school plans to move forward in its search for Keating’s successor.
Bartolain and defensive coordinator Mike Dailey could be candidates for the job.
“We haven’t gone that far yet,” Moyer said. “I don’t think McDaniel College, and certainly not our president, wants to leap to any decisions about the future of our programs in any case. So we’re going to go through a process and make sure it’s done well, it’s done right. And if it ends up being one of our current coaches, that’s a credit to them.”
Keating had an up-and-down first four years after coming to McDaniel from Wesley College in 1993. The Terror jumped from 4-6 in 1996 to 10-1 the next year, when Keating was named Division III Coach of the Year.
From 1997-99, he led McDaniel to 30 consecutive regular-season wins, and from 1997-2001, the Terror made five straight trips to the NCAA Division III playoffs.
This year’s squad posted a 2-8 record that didn’t tell the whole story. McDaniel lost six games by eight points or fewer, and was competitive in all but one contest while starting mostly underclassmen.
That led both Keating and his players to express they felt the young team could be close to contending in the conference. After a season-ending 28-24 loss to 10th-ranked Johns Hopkins, Keating said he hoped to be there to turn the program around as he did at the beginning of his tenure.
“I need another ring. I need one bad,” Keating said that day. “I’m looking forward to that opportunity. Right now, I’m moving forward like it’s all going to happen.”
However, that won’t be.
“It is disappointing because we had the whole four years with him, got to know him as a person and as a coach,” senior defensive lineman Bill Gerdes said. “But having the downturn of a team, obviously it’s a job and like everything else, you have to treat it as such. So the administration did what they had to do.
“But as a player and knowing him as a person, no one wants to see that happen.”