Former San Diego football coach contests university’s claim he retired after 10 years: ‘I was shown the door’

The University of San Diego announced earlier this week that football head coach Dale Lindsey, the winningest coach in program history, would be retiring after 10 seasons with the Toreros. 

But the 80-year-old coach refuted that claim on Wednesday, telling the San Diego Union-Tribune that he was “shown the door.” 

Associate Vice President and Executive Director of Athletics Bill McGillis made the announcement Tuesday, calling Lindsey “one of the greatest head coaches” in San Diego history and “one of the elite head coaches in college football.”


“Coach Lindsey is leaving an incredible legacy at the University of San Diego. Beyond the extraordinary level of championship success our program has achieved under his leadership, Coach Lindsey established a standard of excellence for the young men in our program, and the lessons they’ve learned from him will last a lifetime. The numbers speak for themselves, but they don’t even begin to tell the story of the impact he’s made at USD,” McGillis said. 

“His emphasis on — and commitment to — the value of a college education has been the true hallmark of his leadership from day one. He will retire from USD as one of the greatest head coaches in our university’s history and one of the elite head coaches in college football. Tremendous man. Tremendous coach. Tremendous leader. Coach Lindsey led our program with great integrity, and he has built a model program in every sense of the word. His presence and leadership have been a gift to our scholar-athletes, alumni, coaches and community. We have been blessed.”

But Lindsey painted a different picture of his exit, telling the Union-Tribune that he “did not [expletive] retire.”


“I was shown the door and would like to coach. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it,” he asserted.

“I wasn’t planning on retiring,” Lindsey continued. “I know chronologically how old I am. But I don’t function like an 80-year-old man. If you just sit at home, you become a vegetable — and vegetables die sooner or later. I’ve seen too many coaches work their ass off for 40 years, think they’re going to go off to some golden parachute retirement.

“Then they’re dead in six months. I don’t want to be one [of those], nor do I intend to be one.”

Lindsey finished his decadelong career at San Diego with an 80-30 record, which included seven PFL Championships and five FCS Playoff appearances. He was also a three-time PFL Coach of the Year.

McGillis repeatedly declined to answer the outlet’s question about Lindsey’s claim that he was fired. The veteran coach said he was never offered an explanation. 

“I didn’t get a reason. I’ve been fired before. You never get a reason. I can’t tell you any more than I was told, ‘You no longer work here. Goodbye,’” Lindsey said.

Lindsey played in the NFL after getting drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 1965. After eight seasons, he would go on to play one more season with the New Orleans Saints.

After his playing career, Lindsey was a coach for several different NFL teams, including the Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Washington Redskins, Chicago Bears and San Diego Chargers.

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