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San Diego's Lindsey learning and teaching


(STATS) - The oldest head coach in the FCS says he's still learning - even when he's the one who's teaching.

Dale Lindsey was nearly 70 when San Diego named him its 13th head coach in December 2012. He had never held that title on the pro or college level when athletic director Ky Snyder went from relying on the Toreros' defensive coordinator during the search process to realizing the most experienced coach on the staff also was its best candidate.

Lindsey, now 74, has rewarded the decision with a 36-10 record over four seasons, including three straight Pioneer Football League titles and an FCS playoff win over Cal Poly last November - the first in league history.

"You learn on the job if you get to stay on it long enough. I have," Lindsey said. "I always thought I knew what to do if I was going to be a head coach. And as soon as I got it, I realized I didn't even have the questions. I knew damn well then I didn't have the answers. So I've learned on the job like everybody else. I think that's why a lot of guys do better their second time than their first time.

Lindsey had the luxury of taking over a team that wasn't exactly rebuilding. The Toreros were 66-24 in the eight years before he stepped into the head job.

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"I've just been lucky that this was a well-established program from (coaches) Jim Harbaugh and Ron Caraghy," Lindsey said. "So far, we have managed to continue the good luck that we've had here. It wasn't like this program was on the bottom of everything and we had to build it up, it was already there. I will say this: It's hard to keep it up there.

"... What I had to do was learn how to be a head coach. I'm still learning. When I quit learning anything about football, then it's time for me to get out of the game."

Lindsey played nine seasons in the NFL, mostly with the Cleveland Browns, and his coaching career has spanned four decades. He's been a part of 10 different organizations in the NFL, CFL, USFL and World Football League with additional collegiate stops at SMU and New Mexico State. In 1984 and '85, he was the New Jersey Generals' defensive coordinator for owner Donald Trump.

When Lindsey was bypassed for a Division I head coaching job in early 1990s, he resigned himself to the thought he would remain an assistant coach for the remainder of his career.

No doubt, he's found the job at San Diego to have been worth the wait.

His Toreros, favored to win another PFL title, will kick off the season by hosting Western New Mexico on Saturday.