September 7, 2003

ONU replaces coach after violations found

More news about: Ohio Northern

Ohio Northern placed 17-year head coach Tom Kaczkowski on administrative leave Saturday after an internal investigation uncovered rules violations within the program and named Stacey Hairston interim head coach.

"The university is deeply concerned about these violations," university president Kendall Baker said. "However, our focus is on our young men in the football program. They are extraordinary individuals of enormous dedication and we intend to do everything we possibly can to ensure that they can enjoy the greatest success possible this season."

"It"s our responsibility to police ourselves," Ohio Northern AD Tom Simmons told The Lima News. "We hope our remedy will meet the approval of the NCAA, and we think it will."

Baker and Simmons told the paper the school had received reports about practices being held before the first permissible date, which for ONU was Aug. 24.

Hairston has spent the past seven seasons as an assistant football coach for ONU, coaching the defensive backs. He has also served as special teams coordinator last year.

"My decision to serve as interim head coach was based on the welfare of the players in our program," Hairston said. "It was a very difficult decision, but we have a great group of young men in the program that need leadership right now. It"s important for the program that the players have someone they can trust and that is on their side. I"m excited about the players who will continue to play football at Ohio Northern."

"(Stacey Hairston) is a man of great integrity and I have the utmost respect for him as a person," said Baker. "We feel privileged and honored to have someone with his experience and football knowledge serving as the leader of our young men."

Hairston played defensive back for the Cleveland Browns for three years after a successful three-year stint with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the CFL.

While at Ohio Northern, Hairston set several school records while playing defensive back and wide receiver. He led the Bears in receiving in 1987 and 1988 with 515 and 577 yards, respectively, and led in all-purpose yards in 1988 with 754. His 1,097 receiving yards is seventh-best in ONU history and his 59 career receptions is 12th-best at ONU.

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