by Eric C. Paulsen
Editor in Chief
Ten days after guiding his team to an undefeated record and its first ever playoff game, Rex Huigens resigned as the Head Football Coach of the University of La Verne.
“I was at a crossroads in my life. Having the season we did made it easy for me. But if we would have had a losing season I think I would have stayed on. I would not want it to seem like I was quitting on the program. Man, what a great way to end it,” said Huigens who turned in his resignation last August.
Huigens stated many reasons for his resignation; the pressures of recruiting players, spending time with his 12-year-old son Brent, and the change in the philosophy towards football within the conference.
“I am driven to be good, but the recruiting process and the end result was really getting to me,” said Huigens.
“I have been coaching for 25 years. It would be nice to see what a weekend will be like,” said Huigens.
Huigens expressed concern about the changes in the conference with the football program of other schools. “I think La Verne needed to be proactive rather than reactive with the trend. I think my resignation will help in this process,” explained Huigens.
He does not plan to alienate himself from the game. “I will be at the games. But now I can second guess the coach,” joked Huigens.
Huigens has been involved with ULV’s football program for the past 25 years with the past four being the head coach. Huigens still plans to stay on as the assistant athletic director and professor and remain as the head golf coach.
Huigens is not ruling out returning to the football coaching ranks. “I’m not closing any doors but I am not looking for anything right now. I would be stupid if I said I wasn’t going to coach anymore,” said Huigens.
During Huigens’ short tenure as the head coach he rewrote school history with the accomplishments of his teams. Huigens complied an overall record of 30-6-1 with a .811 winning percentage along with winning two Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titles in ‘93 and ‘94.
The vacancy was immediately filled with the University naming Don Morel as the Head Coach. Morel has been the offensive coordinator for the Leos for the past four years.
“I have all the confidence that he will continue the program in a competitive and successful way,” said Huigens.
When the announcement was first made Huigens told his players at the football awards banquet and described his players as being surprised and not knowing how to react to it. He was glad he could tell the players that the new coach was Don Morel, someone the players were comfortable with.
The transition for the Huigens Era to the Morel Era has gone smoothly, something that the two wanted.
“I can only do the best job I can. We are going to continue to do the things that we have done over the past four years,” said Morel.
“My plan was when Rex retired, I was going to be the head coach. I enjoy working here and look forward to coaching next year,” said Morel.
More recently Huigens was named one of the American Football Coaches Association 1994 regional Coaches of the Year, which makes a him a candidate for the National Coach of the Year for the AFCA College Division II, Region 5.
“It is a great honor, something I am really proud of, but anytime a head coach gets an award, it is really a staff award, because we all work together,” said Huigens.
“I will really miss the player contact that is what made it worth it,” said Huigens.