Bobby Wilder resigned as Old Dominion’s football coach Monday morning.
“I have resigned as head coach of the ODU football program as I feel it’s in the best interest for this program going forward,” Wilder said in a school statement. “I have poured my heart and soul into this university and our football program, but I feel this is the best decision for Old Dominion University. I plan to be an asset throughout the transition for the university.”
Wilder helped ODU re-launch its long-dormant football program when the former Maine assistant was hired in 2007.
The school resumed play in 2009, and Wilder was part of the program’s elevation from FCS, a level at which ODU had great success, to FBS. But the Monarchs posted a 10-26 record the last three seasons, and that included three victories against FCS teams.
It also included, however, a stunning 49-35 upset of Virginia Tech during the 2018 season.
The Monarchs went 1-11 this season, beating only Norfolk State in the opener. ODU was 2-14 in Conference USA the last two seasons. Wilder finished with a 77-56 overall record at ODU.
ODU athletic director Wood Selig, in the statement, said: “This should in no way detract from or diminish the sacrifice and commitment that Coach Wilder has given ODU and our entire Hampton Roads community while leading our football program. Coach Wilder has dedicated the last 13 years of his professional career in the pursuit of excellence for ODU football.
“I am extremely grateful to Bobby Wilder, our assistant coaches, our student athletes and our football support staff. Collectively, they have given everything of themselves. They have represented ODU with class and dignity.”
Selig said he is looking for an excellent recruiter with FBS experience to replace Wilder. The first of two national signing periods is Dec. 18-20. Selig said he expects to have a new coach hired by then.
Selig said the Old Dominion Athletic Foundation, the university’s fundraising organization, will buy out the last two years of Wilder’s contract for $600,000, fulfilling the terms of a deal he signed in 2017.
Selig indicated a national search will begin immediately and ODU will use the assistance of a search firm.