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USD Assistant Leaving For U Of Mary
The longest-tenured assistant coach for the University of South Dakota football team is leaving.
Offensive line coach and recruiting coordinator Tony Spencer confirmed Friday that he accepted a position as wide receivers coach and special teams coordinator at the University of Mary, an NCAA Division II and Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) program in N.D.
“I had a great six years here, and I definitely appreciate Coach Meierkort giving me an opportunity to coach on his staff,” Spencer told the Press & Dakotan. “I had some great players to work with, and if I could, I’d do it all over again.
“It was a great time.”
Spencer spent six seasons with the Coyotes, helping develop the offensive line into one of the best in the country at the D-II level and then the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) ranks.
Last season, the Coyotes — with just one senior on the line — rushed for 150.9 yards per game, a mark that was second-best in the Great West Conference. Three lineman earned all-conference honors, led by first team selection Tom Compton.
Spencer is heading to Bismarck, N.D. today (Saturday) to begin preparations for Mary’s camp which starts next Tuesday.
“I’ll be back and forth between Vermillion for a while,” Spencer said. “I’m excited to get started and do some things. I’m anxious to meet my players and share my vision.”
That vision carried over to USD’s offensive line during Spencer’s tenure in Vermillion.
During the 2005 season, Spencer’s first, the Coyotes led the North Central Conference and ranked fourth nationally with 295.7 rushing yards and 285.7 passing yards per game. USD was again fourth nationally in rushing in 2006.
In 2007 and 2008 (USD’s first outside Division II), the Coyotes finished seventh in the nation in rushing yardage, and boasted the country’s leading rusher in Amos Allen in 2007.
Prior to coming to USD in 2004, Spencer served as a graduate assistant at Wyoming for former Coyote player Joe Glenn in 2003-04. Before that, Spencer was an assistant coach at Caroll College (Mont.) from 1996-2002.
He will now join a Mary football program that will enter its 13th under head coach Myron Schulz.
Last season, the Marauders won their final three games to finish 4-7 — 4-6 in the Northern Sun. The offense averaged 301.4 yards per game, including 120.1 yards on the ground.
Spencer, who informed his USD lineman earlier this week of his decision to leave, said that while he will miss the Coyotes, he is anxious for his new assignment.
“It’s bittersweet, especially when you leave one place and go somewhere else,” he said. “As many sad faces as there were here, and some guys were a little mad, I know there are eager faces (at Mary) to get a new position coach up there.”
The loss of Spencer leaves USD with two remaining offensive assistants — former quarterback and offensive coordinator Wes Beschorner, and wide receivers coach Tim Triplett. Jake Breske, a graduate assistant, works with the running backs.
BY JEREMY HOECK, Yankton Press & Dakotan