In late December, Union’s longtime head football coach John Audino announced his retirement. In a press release, the college stated Audino is leaving in order to pursue “other coaching opportunities.”
Audino began his career as head coach of Union’s football team in 1992 and, under his leadership, the team did not register a single losing season between 1992 and 2009.
Audino led the Dutchmen to the NCAA Division III playoffs five times in his career, with the team’s most recent playoff appearance occurring in 2006. In that same year, Audino’s Dutchmen won their second Liberty League title and Audino and his staff were honored with the Liberty League Coaching Staff of the Year award for the second time.
Audino coached an impressive 145 Liberty League All-Academic student-athletes, 146 Liberty League All Stars and 12 First Team All-Americans. Over the course of his career, Audino also coached four athletes who were named finalists for the Gagliardi Trophy, which recognizes the NCAA Division III Player of the Year in football.
But the past half-decade has been significantly less fruitful for the Dutchmen. Since 2009, the team has finished four seasons with losing records, for a cumulative record of 19-40. And this year’s team finished the season 0-10, their first winless season since 1959.
When asked about his plans to return next season at a media luncheon in November 2015, before the team’s final loss, Audino said, “I don’t see why not … obviously, I want to be back and I’m excited about being back, and hopefully everything is going to work out and be just like it is.”
But after the Dutchmen dropped their final game last season, a 23-10 loss to RPI in the annual Dutchman Shoes Trophy Game, Athletic Director Jim McLaughlin met with Audino for an end-of-season evaluation.
This is procedure for all coaches at the school, according to McLaughlin. He added that, like athletic administrators, Division III coaches at Union are on year-to-year deals.
Audino’s decision to retire was not made public until Dec. 17, more than a month after the Dutchmen’s final loss of the season and his meeting with McLaughlin.
In a statement concerning his retirement, Audino said, “I would like to thank the hundreds of dedicated young men that I have had the privilege to forge mutually beneficial relationships on and off the field as well as my family, the alumni, my staff, the fans, the media and the Union College community who have supported our program throughout the years.”
Regarding Audino’s retirement, McLaughlin said, “The college greatly appreciates John’s service and the impact he has had on the many students that came through the program and we wish him the best in the future.”
Union has begun a nationwide search for Audino’s successor.