December 14, 2015

(STATS) - Louisiana-Monroe has gone downstate to try to raise its football program again.

The Sun Belt Conference program has hired McNeese State's Matt Viator as its next coach and will introduce him at a campus news conference on Tuesday.

ULM's campus is located about 200 miles north of McNeese State in Lake Charles. So it's been easy for the Warhawks to follow Viator's success - a winning record in all 10 of his seasons at McNeese for a 78-33 (.703) overall mark. This year's team and his 2007 squad were undefeated in the regular season and Viator won four Southland Conference titles and made five appearances in the FCS playoffs.

Viator is the all-time leader for Southland wins (54) and he tied Bobby Keasler as the Cowboys' all-time winningest coach. He finished third in the voting for STATS FCS Coach of the Year.

McNeese athletic director Bruce Hemphill said McNeese will have an announcement regarding the Cowboys' coaching vacancy on Wednesday. Lance Guidry, an alum who is the defensive coordinator and assistant head coach, is regarded as a leading candidate.

"We have known for several days that coach Viator was being considered for the head coaching position at UL-Monroe," Hemphill said. "That fact is a compliment to both coach Viator and the success of our football program. We appreciate everything that coach Viator has done for McNeese football, the athletics department and the university over the past 17 years, the last 10 as our head coach. We wish him the very best at UL-Monroe."

At ULM, Viator will take over a program that has slipped since earning its only FBS bowl appearance (Independence) in 2012. The Warhawks were 2-11 overall and 1-7 in the Sun Belt this season, firing coach Todd Berry on Nov. 14.

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