In a press conference at 7 p.m. Friday, Coastal Carolina University President David DeCenzo and Athletic Director Hunter Yurachek announced Head Football Coach David Bennett has been removed from his position.
DeCenzo said, in part, the decision was made because of lower ticket sales and the "energy and vitality are gone in our football program."
DeCenzo said, "We expect to annually place in the top 20" and pointed out that that has not happened. He said attendance at games has fallen sharply, and they need to find a way to bring excitement back to the program.
"This was, to date, the hardest decision I have had to make about our football program," DeCenzo said.
At the conference, it was announced that Bennett had not yet met with the team.
DeCenzo said Bennett's reassignment has nothing to do with the arrest Friday of Wilson Beaver , football equipment coordinator at Coastal Carolina University, on embezzlement and forgery charges.
DeCenzo said Bennett was not "fired" from the program, but has instead been reassigned within the university. He said Bennett has accepted the reassignment, but what that will entail is not yet clear.
Yurachek said he will begin an immediate search for a new head coach for the CCU football program.
NewsChannel 15 Sports Director Rich Chrampanis interviewed David Bennett right after the press conference. Click here to watch that interview in its entirety.
NewsChannel 15 talked with some CCU students to see how they felt about the school's decision, and they were all surprised.
"A new football coach could possibly, you know, rejuvenate things. But it could also be a bad thing," said Summer Sheehan. "It kind of makes you wonder, you know, where's the sense of loyalty, because he's been with us this long."
Sheehan went on to wonder if the infamous "cats and dogs" press conference that went viral on YouTube and appeared on several ESPN shows this year affected the decision made by university officials.
Tareik Horne added, "I thought he was doing a good job. I never thought he was going to be reassigned because he was a funny person. He cared about the football team, so it's kind of shocking."
"It's a good decision to make changes, if it works for the better. If it doesn't work for the better, it's not Coach Bennett's fault. It's obviously DeCenzo's fault," said Bryant Lewis.
What do you think of the decision?