No. 7 SDSU is the highest ranked opponent SIU has defeated since Oct. 17, 2009 (No. 2 Northern Iowa).
The Saluki defense has now recorded a sack in 40 of its previous 41 games.
Southern nearly overcame a 22-point second half deficit
October 12, 2013
In five seasons at the helm of Southern Illinois University, Dale Lennon ranks second in school history in winning percentage with a 35-23 (.603) record and two FCS Playoff appearances. His 35 wins are the most by an SIU coach in his first five years.
Lennon was named SIU's 20th head coach in program history on Dec. 27, 2007. He guided the Salukis to back-to-back Missouri Valley Football Conference titles in 2008 and 2009 and was tabbed as the MVFC and AFCA Region IV Coach of the Year in both seasons. During that stretch, the Salukis won 14 consecutive conference games, which is the longest conference winning streak in MVFC history.
Individual award winners have been plentiful during Lennon's tenure. Running back Deji Karim was the 2009 MVFC Offensive Player of the Year and one of three finalists for the Walter Payton Award, which is given to the most outstanding player in the FCS each year. Karim was a sixth-round draft pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2010. Running back Larry Warner was also a finalist for the Walter Payton Award in 2008, finishing 10th in the balloting. Linebacker Brandin Jordan (2009) and cornerback Korey Lindsey (2010) were finalists for the Buck Buchanan Award that goes to the FCS's most valuable defensive player. In 2010, Lindsey won the College Football Performance Awards' Elite Defensive Back Award. Lindsey was drafted in the seventh round by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2010 NFL Draft. In 2011, Bryan Boemer won the Rimington Award as the nation's top FCS center.
In Lennon's five seasons, SIU has had eight First-Team All-Americans, plus five CoSIDA Academic All-Americans. Before Lennon arrived at Southern, the Salukis had only six Academic All-Americans in the previous 95 years. Six of Lennon's former Saluki players (Ken Boatright, Jayson DiManche, Stephen Franklin, Jewel Hampton, Deji Karim and Korey Lindsey) entered training camp in 2013 with an NFL contract.
During his first two seasons in the MVFC, Lennon totaled a 15-1 record and won a pair of conference titles.
In 2008, Lennon's first season in Carbondale, he guided SIU to a 9-3 record. He had the difficult task of replacing the most successful coach in school history, Jerry Kill, who was the 2007 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year and went on to success at Northern Illinois and now Minnesota.
Lennon, who came to SIU with his own personal string of five-consecutive playoff appearances, lived up to the challenge during his first year in Carbondale, claiming a share of the MVFC title and a playoff berth.
In 2009, SIU became the first team in league history to go 8-0 in conference play, doing so in convincing fashion by winning road games at No. 2 Northern Iowa and at No. 9 South Dakota State. The 2009 season featured an 11-game overall winning streak, the third longest winning streak in school history.
The Salukis were ranked No. 1 by The Sports Network for three weeks and entered the 2009 NCAA Division I playoffs, the school's seventh-consecutive playoff appearance, as the No. 3 overall seed. Lennon guided SIU to the quarterfinals of the playoffs by posting a win over No. 17 Eastern Illinois, before falling to No. 6 William & Mary.
During Lennon's tenure, the program has won 10 games against ranked opponents. Lennon's success at SIU and previously at North Dakota have made him one of the winningest active coaches in the country. In 16 seasons as a head coach, Lennon has compiled a 137-56 (.710) record. He has been to either the Division I or II playoffs in 10 seasons. Lennon also owns a national championship ring, which he captured in 2001 when he was the head coach at his alma mater, North Dakota.
Lennon stands as the winningest coach in UND history with a 90-24 record in nine seasons. In addition to leading North Dakota to a national championship, Lennon's teams made seven playoff appearances, played in two national championship games and won five North Central Conference Championships.
Lennon graduated from Rugby High School in Rugby, N.D., a town of less than 3,000 residents near the Canadian border. He went on to play fullback from 1979-83 for the University of North Dakota and was a team captain.
Lennon's coaching tenure with the Fighting Sioux began on the defensive side of the ball. He was North Dakota's defensive line coach for two seasons (1988-89) before being promoted to defensive coordinator (1990-96).
The Fighting Sioux made four-straight playoff appearances from 1992-95, which ultimately led to Lennon's hiring as head coach of the University of Mary in Bismarck, N.D. in 1997. There he reversed the fortunes of the program and led it to an NAIA playoff appearance in 1998.
Lennon returned to his alma mater as head coach in 1999, and the program flourished under his direction. He reached the pinnacle of success in 2001, when he guided his team to the NCAA Division II National Championship and earned AFCA Coach of the Year honors. He won the NCC Coach of the Year laurels three times.
Lennon began his coaching career as the defensive backs coach for Valley City (N.D.) State in 1986. He then coached linebackers at Dickinson (N.D.) State in 1987, helping the team to a 9-1 record and an NAIA playoff appearance before joining the North Dakota coaching staff the following season. Lennon and his wife Chris have three adult sons, Jared, Trevor and Cody.
|1986||Valley City State||Defensive Backs||7-3||---||---|
|1987||Dickinson State||Linebackers||9-1||---||NAIA Playoffs|
|1988||North Dakota||Defensive Line||7-4||5-4 (t-4th)||---|
|1989||North Dakota||Defensive Line||3-7-1||2-6-1 (9th)||---|
|1990||North Dakota||Defensive Coordinator||7-3||7-2 (2nd)||---|
|1991||North Dakota||Defensive Coordinator||7-2||6-2 (t-2nd)|
|1992||North Dakota||Defensive Coordinator||6-4-1||6-2-1 (2nd)||NCAA Playoffs 1st Round|
|1993||North Dakota||Defensive Coordinator||10-3||7-1 (t-1st)||NCAA Semifinals|
|1994||North Dakota||Defensive Coordinator||10-3||7-2 (t-1st)||NCAA Semifinals|
|1995||North Dakota||Defensive Coordinator||9-2||8-1 (1st)||NCAA Playoffs 1st Round|
|1996||North Dakota||Defensive Coordinator||7-3||6-3 (t-2nd)||---|
|1997||Mary||Head Coach||4-6||1-5 (6th)||---|
|1998||Mary||Head Coach||8-3||5-1 (t-1st)||NAIA Playoffs|
|1999||North Dakota||Head Coach||9-2||8-1 (t-1st)||NCAA Playoffs 1st Round|
|2000||North Dakota||Head Coach||8-3||6-3 (t-3rd)||---|
|2001||North Dakota||Head Coach||14-1||7-1 (1st)||NCAA DII National Champions|
|2002||North Dakota||Head Coach||5-6||3-5 (7th)||---|
|2003||North Dakota||Head Coach||12-2||7-0 (1st)||NCAA DII Runner-Up|
|2004||North Dakota||Head Coach||11-3||4-2 (t-2nd)||NCAA Semifinals|
|2005||North Dakota||Head Coach||10-3||4-2 (t-1st)||NCAA Playoffs 2nd Round|
|2006||North Dakota||Head Coach||11-2||7-1 (1st)||NCAA Quarterfinals|
|2007||North Dakota||Head Coach||10-2||7-1 (2nd)||NCAA Playoffs 2nd Round|
|2008||Southern Illinois||Head Coach||9-3||7-1 (t-1st)||NCAA Playoffs 1st Round|
|2009||Southern Illinois||Head Coach||11-2||8-0 (1st)||NCAA Quarterfinals|
|2010||Southern Illinois||Head Coach||5-6||4-4 (t-3rd)||---|
|2011||Southern Illinois||Head Coach||4-7||2-6 (t-7th)||---|
|2012||Southern Illinois||Head Coach||6-5||5-3 (t-3rd)||---|
|AT SIU||Head Coach||35-23||26-14|