MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Southern Illinois Coach Rey Dempsey was named today to the head football coaching position at Memphis State, replacing Rex Dockery who was killed in an airplane crash two weeks ago.
'We won't be outworked.
Nobody will work any harder than we do,' Dempsey told a news conference.
'I'm looking forward to this relationship,' Dempsey said. 'They want it clean and done right. That's the kind of person I am. We're going to have a good program here.'
Dempsey said he would interview Memphis State assistant coaches but could not say who would be retained.
Dempsey, 47, led his Salukis to the Division 1-AA national championship this season with a 13-1 record. In eight years at Southern, he compiled a 54-37 record.
'The neatest thing about Rey is that he's as outstanding a gentleman as he is a football coach,' said Fred Huff, assistant athletic director at Southern. 'I've never seen a single coach at any level around here with the rapport with players that he's built up here. He relies heavily on reasoning and good communication to do that. That's his coaching style.'
Dempsey, who coached at Youngstown State in Ohio and handled special teams for the Detroit Lions in 1975, inherits a Memphis State squad that went 6-4-1 in 1983, the best showing in six years for the Tigers who made the turnaround after two successive 1-10 seasons.
Dockery was killed on Dec. 12 along with Memphis State offensive coordinator Chris Faros, defensive back Charles Greenhill and pilot Glenn Jones when their private plane crashed near Lawrenceburg, Tenn.