WIU's Holtschlag upset, but understands firing of head coach - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

WIU's Holtschlag upset, but understands firing of head coach

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WIU offensive tackle Jimmy Holtschlag says he's sad to see head coach Mark Hendrickson get fired but "understands the call." WIU offensive tackle Jimmy Holtschlag says he's sad to see head coach Mark Hendrickson get fired but "understands the call."

MACOMB, Ill. (WGEM) -- Western Illinois fired its football coach Monday following 14 years of service to the program and the university.

The public is left to assume Mark Hendrickson was relieved of his duties for a lack of success, a combined 17 losses the last two seasons, because WGEM's numerous requests to get the perspective of athletic director Tim Van Alstine have been rejected. 

According to the media relations department no one will be available until Hendrickson's successor has been named, which could be next week or next month because a timetable hasn't been announced.

Veteran offensive lineman and QND alum Jimmy Holtschlag says he wasn't caught off guard with the news, but it doesn't take away from the sting of seeing the dismissal of his head coach.

"It was upsetting to hear about it. It's tough to see a guy like that go. I've built a strong relationship with him over the last four years and I'm sad to see him go," Holtschlag said. 

"But I can understand the call. The pieces weren't falling together just right and it became a problem. We really struggled with that this year." 

Holtschlag says he enjoys Western and didn't seem eager to leave or transfer.

In fact, he seems energized about the opportunity that awaits he and his teammates. Holtschlag claims a new face and new message is likely the best remedy at this point.

"I'm going in to this with some excitement," he explained. 

"It's going to be nice to see some fresh ideas because it was a tough year. Coming in to new ideas and new life within the program is going to be pretty beneficial I imagine. You've just got to fight through it and you got to believe that things are going to get better."

Holtschlag, who will be a senior next fall, is also hoping to get healthier. He will have surgery on his ankle later this week to correct a problem that hampered his abilities for most of this season.

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