Texas A&M University-Commerce President Dr. Ray Keck and Director of Athletics Tim McMurray announced Wednesday a contract extension for Head Football Coach Colby Carthel. The extension secures Carthel as Lions’ head coach through the 2021 season.
“Colby Carthel’s leadership of our football program has transformed our institution in ways we have never experienced,” Keck noted. “To celebrate a national championship has our proud institution in a state of euphoria. This extension is a reflection of not just Colby as a football coach, but as a transformational leader of men.”
Carthel has been the head coach of the Lions for five seasons, with a continued progression of success in each year, earning a record of 49-15, and winning the 2017 NCAA Division II National Championship.
The Lions became the first team in Division II football history to claim the “Triple Crown” of the National Championship, the Harlon Hill Trophy (Luis Perez), and the NCAA Elite 90 Award (Garrett Blubaugh). A&M-Commerce defeated West Florida 37-27 in the National Championship Game in Kansas City.
The Lions have made the postseason in each of Carthel’s five seasons, qualifying for the NCAA Division II playoffs for three consecutive years.
The Lions have also been successful in the classroom and the community. Nearly 70 football student-athletes were named to honor rolls in the fall 2017 semester. The Lions have also continued to increase their community service and engagement activities, including over 400 hours of service in Port Aransas cleaning up from Hurricane Harvey in Port Aransas following the victory over Texas A&M-Kingsville.
“Watching Colby embrace that national championship trophy last month was emotional,” said McMurray. “He and his coaching staff exemplify our “Best in Class” mission throughout every phase of our program. It is a privilege to steward their success. Through the generous support of Lion Champions Fund donors and our Best in Class administration, we continue to identify and generate resources that provide continuity and opportunities for these stellar student-athletes and coaches.”
The Lions recently completed the 2017 National Championship season with a record of 14-1 overall and 7-1 in the Lone Star Conference. A&M-Commerce won three straight road games in the playoffs as Super Region Four’s fifth seed. The three teams they defeated on the road came into the games with a combined record of 34-1, marking the toughest road to a national semifinal in Division II history. The Lions then defeated Harding 31-17 at home in the national semifinals in front of a record crowd of 10,120. The Lions finished third in the nation in cumulative attendance and fifth in the nation in average attendance, as 8,580 fans per game turned out to support the national champions.
In his five seasons in Commerce, Carthel has mentored 126 all-Lone Star Conference selections and 16 All-Americans to date. Carthel is the only coach in school history to lead the Lions to five straight postseason berths.
“What an honor it is to continue to serve this prestigious program,” Carthel said. “Our administration continues to make the commitment of building A&M-Commerce into the premier football program in Division II, and I’m excited to help lead in that endeavor. While we have accomplished so much in the past five years, it’s exciting to know our best days are still ahead of us.”
Season ticket opportunities for 2018 will be announced later this month.