Dale Lindsey, Winningest Coach in Program History, to Retire from USD

Wednesday, March 22, 2023
by USD Athletics Communications

SAN DIEGO – Dale Lindsey, the winningest coach in football program history, will retire from coaching at the University of San Diego, Associate Vice President and Executive Director of Athletics Bill McGillis announced Tuesday. Lindsey leaves with the fourth-best win percentage (72.7%) in FCS history.

In 10 seasons at the helm, Lindsey accumulated a record of 80-30, including a remarkable 68-9 in Pioneer Football League contests. His career accolades include seven PFL Championships, five FCS Playoff appearances, three-time PFL Coach of the Year, and four-time national coach of the year finalist. Under Lindsey, USD tied the FCS record with 39 consecutive conference wins (between 2015 and 2021).

“Coach Lindsey is leaving an incredible legacy at the University of San Diego,” said McGillis. “Beyond the extraordinary level of championship success our program has achieved under his leadership, Coach Lindsey established a standard of excellence for the young men in our program, and the lessons they've learned from him will last a lifetime. The numbers speak for themselves, but they don't even begin to tell the story of the impact he's made at USD. His emphasis on - and commitment to - the value of a college education has been the true hallmark of his leadership from day one. He will retire from USD as one of the greatest head coaches in our university's history and one of the elite head coaches in college football. Tremendous man. Tremendous coach. Tremendous leader. Coach Lindsey led our program with great integrity, and he has built a model program in every sense of the word. His presence and leadership have been a gift to our scholar-athletes, alumni, coaches and community. We have been blessed.”

Lindsey was named the 13th head football coach in USD history on December 29, 2012. He brought more than 40 years of coaching experience at the high school, college and professional levels, including 21 in the NFL and 16 in Division I football.

He then made USD one of the most dominant teams of the decade – the Toreros finished the 2010s with the fourth-best winning percentage by an FCS team. San Diego earned at least a share of the PFL title in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2021. Behind Lindsey, USD earned two wins in the FCS Playoffs, including a 35-21 victory over Cal Poly in 2016 and a dominant 41-10 showing against Northern Arizona a year later.

Multiple scholar-athletes went on to play in the NFL after learning under Lindsey at San Diego, including Jamal Agnew, Ross Dwelley, Michael Bandy, and Reid Sinnett.

Lindsey was also the team’s defensive coordinator for the 2012 season before earning the top job. Under his direction, the USD defense finished 14th in scoring defense (19.27), 15th in rushing defense (120.0) and 19th in pass efficiency defense (114.56). Helped by the defensive effort, the Toreros won a share of the PFL title with a 7-1 conference record and finished 8-3 overall. Including his time as an assistant coach, Lindsey has helped lead USD to eight conference championships.

The stint as USD’s defensive coordinator was his second as an assistant with the Toreros. In 2008, he was the linebackers coach under then-head coach Ron Caragher and helped the 9-2 Toreros hold their opponents to just 18.9 points per game.

Prior to his time at San Diego, Lindsey was a member of many notable NFL coaching staffs as well. He has worked with seven different NFL and had two stints each with Washington and the San Diego Chargers. In his two stints with the Chargers, Lindsey was the defensive coordinator on the 2002 and 2003 teams as well as the linebackers coach on the defensive staff from 1992 to 1996. During that mid-1990s run, Lindsey helped guide the Chargers to a pair of AFC West titles (1992 and 1994), three playoff appearances (1992, 1994 and 1995) and a trip to Super Bowl XXIX after winning the AFC Championship in 1994.

Lindsey’s journey before San Diego consisted of him being an All-American player, a nearly decade-long stint as an NFL player, more than four decades as a coach all over the United States and Canada, and a trip to the Super Bowl.

A former linebacker and fullback at Western Kentucky, Lindsey was an All-American linebacker with the Hilltoppers in his senior season and helped the team go 10-0-1 and win the Tangerine Bowl as a junior in 1963. In his two years at Western Kentucky, the team was 16-3-2. He was also a two-time All-OVC pick and named to the all-time OVC Team in 1988. Lindsey was inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame in 1993 and his #44 jersey was retired by the school on September 15, 2007.

A Bowling Green (KY) High product, Lindsey was drafted in the seventh round of the 1965 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns and in the sixth redshirt round of the 1965 AFL Draft by the New York Jets. He went on to play eight seasons at linebacker for the Browns before finishing out his nine-year NFL career with the New Orleans Saints in 1973. He played in 111 career NFL games, including 71 starts.