Keopple announces retirement at SAU; Mike McCarthy named interim head football coach

Bill Keopple announced his retirement Monday as Southern Arkansas University's head football coach. Assistant Mike McCarthy was named interim head coach.


MAGNOLIA, Ark. – Bill Keopple’s 38-year coaching career ended Monday with his retirement as head football coach at Southern Arkansas University. Assistant Mike McCarthy has been named interim head coach.

Keopple, who won back-to-back state championships at Texarkana Arkansas High prior to moving to Magnolia, leaves SAU as the school’s winningest coach. In 11 seasons he won 65 games, posting at least seven every year since 2015.

His teams appeared in four postseason games, including two appearances in the Texarkana Live United Bowl. SAU was 9-3 in 2016 and placed second in the Great American Conference. The Muleriders beat four nationally-ranked teams, and at one point had the longest winning streak (17) at home in NCAA Division II.

McCarthyMcCarthy named interim coach at SAU

Athletic Director Steve Browning congratulated Keopple, and wished him and his wife (Marsha) well Monday. Browning also announced assistant McCarthy – not the Dallas Cowboys coach – will replace Keopple as interim head coach.

McCarthy, who played collegiately at Colorado, has coached at the college level 30 years, including 22 seasons as an offensive coordinator. Prior to coming to SAU this past summer, McCarthy was the offensive coordinator at Colorado State University-Pueblo. CSU-Pueblo was 22-4 during his two seasons, and appeared in the NCAA Division II playoffs both years.

McCarthy was an assistant and recruiting coordinator at the University of Central Arkansas (2014-16). He also coached at Arkansas State University (2004-07). During his stay in Jonesboro ASU won the Sun Belt Conference, and played in the New Orleans Bowl.

Browning noted McCarthy has recruiting experience in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, Texas, California, Colorado, Oregon, and obviously Arkansas.

Southern Arkansas University’s information bureau provided information for this story.