It is with great pleasure that Benedictine announces the hiring of Josiah Sears as the 28th head football coach in school history. Sears replaces Jon Cooper, who announced his retirement in December after compiling a 62-51 record in 11 seasons as head coach.
"I am extremely humbled and excited for the opportunity to work at Benedictine and lead the young men within the football program," Sears said. "Everything about the school, department, and program are impressive, and I am excited to use my experience and values, which align with both the university and department, to build a culture of excellence in every area of life."
Sears arrives at Benedictine for his first head coaching appointment after serving as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Wheaton College for the past three seasons. Wheaton posted consecutive unbeaten regular seasons for the first time in school history in 2014 and 2015, reaching the second round of the NCAA playoffs each year, finishing with a record of 11-1 each of the past two seasons and finishing ranked in the top-10 nationally. Wheaton featured two All-American offensive linemen this year and sported a 30-4 record during the three years with Sears.
"Josiah demonstrated a detailed vision for our football program," Benedictine athletic director Mark McHorney said. "Being able to clearly outline every aspect of the program was something that stood out with the screening committee. We were able to see what our program culture will be on the field, in the classroom, and in the community. I couldn't be more excited to welcome Josiah (Sears) and his outstanding pedigree to Benedictine. His commitment to excellence has been evident from his days as a player through his coaching career at two of the top programs in Division III. I'd like to thank the screening committee, office of enrollment, and Vice President for Student Life Marco Masini for their time and effort during this process."
Prior to joining Wheaton, Sears logged five years as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Franklin College. Franklin made four appearances in the NCAA Playoffs with four wins during Sears' tenure, posting an overall record of 44-11 over the five years with four conference titles. Sears helped produce multiple offensive All-American selections at Franklin including a pair of quarterbacks who were also named as the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Year. One of the quarterbacks was a finalist for the Gagliardi Trophy and the other set an NCAA single game record for completion percentage. Franklin set numerous school records while scoring just under 40 points per game and averaging just under 450 yards.
Sears played collegiately as a running back and fullback at Indiana University, working his way from a walk-on to scholarship player and was voted as a captain of the 2007 team along with current Chicago Bear Tracy Porter. Indiana broke a 14-year bowl drought during his final campaign, which saw the Indiana native score six touchdowns. Following his college career, Sears was offered tryouts with the Bears and Buffalo Bills.
Sears inherits a team that finished 7-3 this season under head coach Jon Cooper, who retired following the season. Benedictine lost to Lakeland College in the regular season finale to determine the conference champion. Benedictine has represented the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference in the NCAA Playoffs three times in the past six seasons.
"I am impressed with Mark (McHorney) and his vision and leadership," Sears said. "I am excited to get started and contribute to the greatness of the institution."
Sears, who resides in Wheaton with his wife Lyndee, and two children, daughter Tinley (4), and son Boman (2), will be formally introduced to the Benedictine community at a luncheon on Tuesday, January 26.