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Another Losing Season for SEMO Ends on Winning Note
Southeast Missouri State closed out its football season Saturday in the best way possible, pulling out a thrilling 33-30 win at Austin Peay.
But the bottom line was another losing record for the Redhawks.
Southeast finished 4-8 overall and 2-6 in Ohio Valley Conference play, which tied the Redhawks for seventh place in the nine-team league.
That makes it 16 losing seasons in 18 years since the program moved up to the Division I-AA level in 1991.
In addition to the two winning records – 7-5 in 1994 and 8-4 in 2002 – Southeast has recorded more than four victories in only two other Division I-AA campaigns, 5-6 in 1995 and 5-7 in 2003.
Only four times has Southeast posted a winning Ohio Valley Conference mark, the most recent in 2003 when a victory in the final game would have given the then-Indians a share of the OVC title and the league’s automatic playoff spot.
Since then it’s been nothing but futility for Southeast, which has not won more than four games in a season and has not posted more than three OVC victories in any campaign.
For all that Southeast coach Tony Samuel and his staff appear to know about football, they have been able to make no significant headway in the all-important wins column since taking over the program in 2006.
Samuel’s three-year record is 11-23, including 5-18 in the OVC. The Redhawks’ top OVC finish under Samuel has been seventh place.
From a final score standpoint, the Redhawks were more competitive in many games this season than they had been for a while.
And, the Redhawks did exceed expectations since they were picked last in the OVC preseason poll.
But I just don’t see Southeast having enough across-the-board talent to consistently match up with the OVC’s better programs.
How much of that is due to the facility and financial limitations the program faces is open to debate, but it sure can’t be helping recruiting.
Southeast has had three head coaches since moving to Division I-AA – John Mumford, Tim Billings and Samuel.
Mumford and Billings had their moments – each was responsible for one of the winning seasons – but neither was able to produce even modest success on a consistent basis.
Whether Samuel, who has two years left on his contract, will be able to break through with a winning record remains to be seen. I hope he does, because I really like him and his assistants. I believe they are good football coaches.
Southeast had 16 seniors this year, many of them ranking among the squad’s top players.
The Redhawks did have some promising underclassmen, including true freshman quarterback Matt Scheible. He looks like he could be a real keeper.
But, unless a fairly significant number of impact newcomers are brought in, I wouldn’t count on next season turning out much different than this year.
I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: Southeast football just might be a black hole that no coach – save for a miracle-worker in the form of somebody like Jerry Kill, who turned around an SIU program that was worse off than Southeast’s several years ago – will be able to escape.
I’m hoping Samuel proves that theory wrong.
Another losing season ends on a winning note
By Marty Mishow, The Southeast Missourian