Hatcher to leave football program, replaced by Stewart

Kalli Bubb/The News Head Coach Chris Hatcher talks to his team during practice Monday at Roy Stewart Stadium.

Kalli Bubb/The News Head Coach Chris Hatcher talks to his team during practice Monday at Roy Stewart Stadium.

After five seasons with Racer Football, Head Coach Chris Hatcher is leaving the program but will be replaced by Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks Coach Mitch Stewart.

Hatcher will be officially introduced as new head coach of Samford University at 11 a.m. Friday during a press conference, approximately one week after Samford head coach Pat Sullivan resigned due to his health.

The position has been offered to and accepted by Hatcher.

Samford President Andrew Westmoreland said Hatcher is a perfect fit for the University and football program, according to an interview with Samford’s official athletics website.

“Coach Hatcher possesses the characteristics necessary for success as the leader of our football program,” he said.  “Underlying his strengths as a great motivator and tactician, he is a person of unshakable character.  Fundamentally, he sees himself as a teacher.  He is an ideal fit for Samford.”

Hatcher told samfordsports.com that he is looking forward to following Sullivan’s footsteps and said that he can’t wait to get started.

“It is a true honor to follow Coach Sullivan and have the opportunity to lead the Samford football program into its next chapter,” Hatcher said. “Put simply, Coach Sullivan is a legend.  They say you never want to be ‘the man that follows the man.’  Well I do.”

Murray State Athletics announced as of Wednesday that Hatcher will be replaced by Stewart, who has received high praise from President Bob Davies.

“Over the past six months, I have had the opportunity to meet, talk and observe the work of Coach Stewart,” Davies said in an interview with Goracers.com.  “My initial impressions were that he is an impressive, young coach who I hope we will be able to hang onto.”

Stewart has worked with the Racers for five years, coached two All-Americans and his offense ranked 15th in the nation with 5,625 yards of total offense and 439 points, according to Goracers.com. Hatcher and Stewart have worked together previously at Georgia Southern and have both been quarterbacks at Valdosta State.

Report of Hatcher’s move to Samford first surfaced on footballscoop.com and was confirmed by FOX-6 in Alabama.

Hatcher was hired by Murray State in 2010 and has a record with the Racers of 27-30. The Racers tied for last place with Austin Peay State in the Ohio Valley Conference this year with a record in OVC of 1-7.

Samford is located in Birmingham, Ala.

Story by Mary Bradley, Editor-in-Chief