(School Release)-- University of the Cumberlands (UC) Athletic Director Randy Vernon announced today that John Bland is stepping down as the head football coach. Bland will be leaving the Patriots immediately to begin his new duties as the head coach at Mississippi College.
"We appreciate the job Coach Bland has done for the past eight years at University of the Cumberlands. We wish him and his family the very best as they move on to Mississippi College," said Vernon.
Bland leaves UC after eight seasons as the head coach. The Patriots earned the #1 ranking in the country for two weeks and spent most of the season as one of the top two teams in the nation this season. Overall, he posted a 70-21 mark and won the Mid-South Conference championship five times. Bland was named MSC Coach of the Year five times and 103 Patriots earned all-conference honors in his tenure.
In 2013, the Patriots led the nation with 4,978 rushing yards, averaging 355.6 per game, a mark that also led the country. Cumberlands averaged 44.0 points per game, ranking 5th in all of NAIA. The defense was also stout, ranking 15th in the nation in rushing defense (128.6 ypg) and 16th in scoring defense (20.7 ppg).
"We will begin our search immediately to find the next football coach for our university," stated Vernon. "We will have a good nucleus of players returning and I look forward to another successful season in 2014. We want our returning players to know that we will do everything we can to find the best fit for our team and for University of the Cumberlands."