TIFFIN -- Scott Donaldson has been promoted to head coach of the Heidelberg University football team, Athletic Director Matt Palm announced today. Donaldson, the defensive coordinator for the Student Princes for the past five seasons, has been at Heidelberg since 2004.
The move comes on the heels of the resignation of Mike Hallett on Thursday, who took a position as an assistant coach at the University of Toledo.
"I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead Heidelberg football," said Donaldson, the 2012 Ohio Athletic Conference Assistant Coach of the Year. "I'm excited about the direction that we are headed."
Palm announced the promotion at a team meeting on Friday afternoon.
"Over the past decade, I have watched Coach Donaldson develop into a person of great character. Our student-athletes have a tremendous amount of respect for him," said Palm. "Hiring Scott provides us with a level of continuity that will allow Heidelberg football to keep moving forward."
Donaldson takes over a team that had 13 all-conference performers in 2015. His defense recorded 19 interceptions -- tops in the conference and 16th in the nation.
"Scott has worked tirelessly over the last 12 years for an opportunity as a head coach, and I couldn't be happier that his opportunity comes at Heidelberg, the place where he has invested so much energy," said Hallett, who played an instrumental role in bringing 'Berg football back to campus, eventually leading to the completion of Hoernemann Stadium in the fall of 2014. "I'm very pleased that quick decision allows for continuity in Heidelberg's quest for greatness."
Heidelberg President Robert H. Huntington also expressed his excitement about the promotion of Donaldson and the future of Student Prince football.
"Scott has played a vital role in the success of Heidelberg football and I am eager to watch his leadership continue to develop," said Huntington. "Scott has shown a commitment to the ideals of Division III athletics and helping our student-athletes achieve success in the classroom. I am confident that he is the right choice to be the face of our football program."
"Scott will do a great job by building on Coach Hallett's tremendous success and by adding his own leadership vision to elevate our program even further," Huntington continued. "I want to thank Mike for his nine outstanding seasons at Heidelberg. He resurrected Heidelberg football from the classroom to the field and departs with the third highest wins in program history. We wish Mike great success at the University of Toledo."
As he takes on this new challenge, Hallett expressed appreciation for his time at Heidelberg, and for the presidents, athletic directors, coaches and players who supported him.
"I'm humbled to have had the opportunity at Heidelberg for the past nine seasons. It is through the hard work of great coaches and great players that I am able to move up to the Division I level at the University of Toledo," said Hallett, whose tenure with the Rockets begins immediately under newly appointed head coach Jason Candle. "I would like to thank the presidents I have worked for -- Rob Huntington, Jim Troha and Dominic Dottavio -- for trusting in me and my vision for Berg football. Additionally, I want to thank the athletic directors -- Matt Palm, Duane Sheldon and Jerry McDonald -- for their support."
When Hallett arrived on campus in 2007, Heidelberg had lost 36 straight games. After starting with a 4-6 campaign, he piloted the Student Princes into the playoffs in 2012, his sixth season.
"Mike's blueprint for turning around our football program was quite remarkable." said Palm. "I thank Mike for the major role he played in the growth of our student-athletes on the field, which mirrored their success in the classroom and in the community."
Hallett is leaving Heidelberg football in good hands, turning over the program to Donaldson, the defensive coordinator he hand-picked and mentored.
Donaldson's tenure at Heidelberg began as a graduate assistant in 2004. After earning his master's degree in education from Heidelberg in 2006, he was hired as a full-time coach and retained by Hallett when he arrived. In 2011, Hallett named him defensive coordinator. The stout 2012 defense, led by Gagliardi Trophy finalist Craig Sykes, helped lift the Student Princes into the NCAA playoffs.
As a student-athlete, Donaldson helped SUNY-Brockport reach the NCAA playoffs three times.
"I want to thank our administration for believing in me," said Donaldson, who resides in Tiffin with his wife, Kelly, and their children, Connor and Emma. "I would also like to thank Mike Hallett, our coaching staff and the student-athletes on the team and who have played in the past. Their dedication to the school and the program have been vital to my development as a coach."
The Donaldson era officially begins on Sept. 3, 2016, when Heidelberg football hosts SUNY Cortland.