Dave Steckel will leave Missouri State University’s head football coaching position after five seasons. MSU announced via a release that Steckel and the university will officially part ways on Jan. 14.

Steckel will receive a $340,000 privately funded buyout in three annual installments as a part of the separation agreement, depending on Steckel’s employment.

“We want to thank Stec for his hard work and dedication to Missouri State,” Director of Athletics Kyle Moats said in the release. “He and I met after the holidays to discuss football-related matters, which ultimately led to this mutual agreement.”

Steckel’s release comes after he and Moats met after the 1-10 season for the Bears concluded on Nov. 26. At the time, Moats said he and MSU President Clif Smart were confident in Steckel’s plans for the program.

“Even though there are a number of areas we agree need immediate improvement, we are in agreement that the prudent course of action is to push forward with our commitment to Stec and this team,” Moats said in a statement released on Nov. 27. “Getting our football program turned in the right direction remains a priority for the university, and we expect our commitment to this staff to be rewarded with results on the field."

If the university fired Steckel in November, they would owe him over $550,000 within 30 days of his removal, according to his contract.

In five years, Steckel compiled a 13-42 record with two one-win seasons — his first and last. Steckel was announced as the head coach of the Bears on Dec. 14, 2014, after Terry Allen. Before serving as MSU’s head coach, he was Mizzou’s defensive coordinator.

The Bears never won more than four games in a season under Steckel and never reached the FCS postseason — a feat no Bears football team has reached since 1990. The Bears were ranked in the Top 25 FCS polls in 2018 during Steckel’s leadership. That year, they started 4-2, beating two ranked opponents, before losing their final five games.

University President Clif Smart will host a press conference on Jan. 13 to answer media questions about the future of the program. In the meantime, a search for a head coach begins immediately, according to the release. 

The Bears’ current offensive coordinator, Justin Kramer, will serve as the interim head coach until a replacement is named.

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