MACOMB, Ill. (WGEM) -- Addressing about a half dozen media members Thursday morning for the first time since firing football coach Mark Hendrickson, Western Illinois athletic director Tim Van Alstine says Hendrickson's entire body of work ultimately led to a change at the top.
"It's really hard to see your team consistently lose whether its one season, two seasons, five seasons, or a decade," Van Alstine said.
"It's really hard to watch your team lose, but keep in mind you think about (the state of the program) all the time."
Unquestionably this is one of the biggest, if not the most important, decision Van Alstine has made in his tenure considering the financial ramifications, and the prestige which accompanies Western's most high profile program.
"It's not lost upon me and it's not lost upon the university administration that this is a significant hire," Van Alstine explained.
"Football is one of our signature programs, and as a result of that, it lends itself to having a significant amount of attention paid to this."
More than 60 candidates have surfaced and even more thanks to new computer software, which allows Van Alstine to compare his requirements for the job to that of the coaches resume.
"We've had over 300 hits on that," he said.
"More than 300 folks have been looking at the position announcement. There is alot of curiosity out there."
The bottom line is results and Van Alstine won't settle for any one without a track record of success.
"A coach that has had responsibility leading a program and has had responsibilities building programs, whether that's a coordinator, offense or defense, or a head coach," he indicated.
"We want a proven winner."
The target date to have a new coach in place is December 19.
Until that time, defensive coordinator Brian Ward has been tabbed interim head coach but Ward will not be considered for the vacancy.
Van Alstine expects to conduct phone interviews in the next few days, and then he anticipates 3-5 finalists to come to Macomb for interviews.
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