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Delaware's Keeler relieved of coaching duties

Newark, DE (Sports Network) - The University of Delaware fired highly successful football coach K.C. Keeler in a shocking decision on Monday.

Keeler led Delaware to three FCS national championship games, including the 2003 title, over his 11 seasons.

The Wilmington News Journal first reported the firing on Twitter.

Considered an outspoken coach, Keeler has been a big winner at Delaware, compiling an 86-52 record after he replaced legendary coach Harold "Tubby" Raymond in 2002.

"We appreciate the efforts and accomplishments of Coach Keeler in leading the Blue Hens football program," Delaware athletic director Eric Ziady said. "The 86 wins and the 2003 national championship will forever be etched in the hearts and minds of the Blue Hen faithful, and I thank Coach for his commitment to his alma mater.

"However, at this important time in UD Athletics, and after thorough evaluation over the past two months, I believe a change of direction is needed in Delaware football. We must reinvigorate our program and re-energize our supporters as we lay the foundation for future success."

Delaware opened this season with four straight wins, but slumped to a 5-6 finish, including 2-6 in CAA Football. The Blue Hens' season-ending four-game losing streak was the Blue Hens' longest losing drought since the 1967 season.

The 53-year-old Keeler was a Blue Hens linebacker and a three-year starter for Raymond and was a junior on the 1979 Division II Blue Hen national championship team.

His 2003 squad shut out Colgate, 40-0, for the FCS (then NCAA Division I-AA) title). His 2007 and 2010 squads lost in the national final to Appalachian State and Eastern Washington, respectively.

Asked if he was given a reason for his firing, Keeler told the Wilmington News Journal, "They just want to move in a different direction, I guess."

01/07 19:47:05 ET