Denny Stolz, fired as San Diego State's football coach, says he wasn't given enough time to rebuild the Aztecs' sagging fortunes, but athletic department officals said mounting losses forced the change.
"It's a lack of wins, a lack of Ws," Stolz said of the reason for his firing Monday. "It's just hard for me to accept that you can lose 34, 35, 36 kids off a championship ballclub and not have a chance to rebuild."Athletic director Fred Miller, asked if Stolz was given enough time to rebuild after losing most players from the 1986 team that won the Western Athletic Conference championship, said, "Sometimes you can't give the full amount of time that you would like to."
"It's unfortunate that we didn't have greater success this season with our football program," Miller said. "We appreciate the contributions that Denny Stolz has made to our program, but we felt it was time for a change.
"I think he gave it his best shot, and it wasn't forthcoming."
San Diego State associate athletic director Al Luginbill will take over as head football coach on Nov. 23. Stolz, hired before the 1986 season, will coach the team's final game this Saturday when San Diego State visits New Mexico.
Defensive failings of Stolz's teams were a major reason for his dismissal, and prompted the late-season change, Miller said.
"It is essential that we get this program moving rapidly, and this kind of internal transfer of responsibility makes a good deal of sense," he said.
Fired after a season filled with lopsided losses, Stolz said a rash of injuries on defense, which at times sidelined the entire starting defensive line, was a major reason for the defeats.
"If they had had a little more patience, we would have been OK," he said. "I know how many players it takes to win. We didn't have them, but the foundation is there."
Stolz was to be reassigned to another post at the school, a move that keeps its deficit-ridden athletic department from having to buy out the final three years on his contract which pays a reported $62,500 a year.
His new duties have yet to be determined, Miller said.
Stolz's dismissal followed Saturday's 58-7 rout of the Aztecs by Texas El-Paso. It was the second-worst defeat for a San Diego State team since a 60-0 loss to Fresno State in 1960.