A&M-Commerce names Clint Dolezel new football head coach
Dolezel, a former Lions quarterback 1992-93, has won championships in indoor pro football as a coach and player.
Texas A&M University-Commerce has announced the hiring of Clint Dolezel as the new football head coach for the Lions. Dolezel, a former standout quarterback for the university, went on to become a successful player and head coach in the Arena Football League.
Dolezel will be introduced in person at two events on Thursday, Dec. 8. Dolezel, Dr. Mark Rudin, and Interim Director of Athletics Eric Coleman will meet with Dallas-area media and fans at the A&M-Commerce at Dallas campus at 10 a.m. Later that afternoon, Dolezel will meet Northeast Texas media and the university community at 3 p.m. at the Sam Rayburn Student Center on the Commerce campus.
“Clint Dolezel is a great choice to lead our football program into the future,” A&M-Commerce President Dr. Mark Rudin said. “He is a strong advocate of our student-athletes, an innovator, a proven winner, and perhaps most importantly, a Lion.”
Dolezel is a Waco native and a graduate of nearby Robinson High School. After graduating from Cisco College, Dolezel was admitted to East Texas State University. Over two years as the Lions’ starting quarterback, Dolezel threw for 3,152 yards and 23 touchdowns.
“It is a dream come true, to come back and coach where I played,” said Dolezel. “I was one of the last line of players to play for East Texas State and a lot of great things have happened since then. What a beautiful place this has turned into, and I am really excited to be here. I am looking forward to digging deep, rolling our sleeves up and getting to work.”
After graduating from ETSU in 1994, Dolezel played in the Arena Football League 1995-2008 and retired as one of the league’s all-time leaders in various passing categories. Dolezel was honored as the eighth-best player in the league’s history by the AFL Silver Anniversary Committee in 2012.
Following his playing career, Dolezel began coaching and served as a head coach in the AFL and other indoor leagues 2010-2021. Dolezel accumulated a 102-43 record in regular-season play and a 12-7 postseason record, including Arena Bowl championships with the Philadelphia Soul in 2016 and 2017. Most recently, Doelzel coached the Indoor Football League’s Frisco Fighters, 2020-21.
He is 21st football head coach in school history and the third Lion alumnus to be named head coach. The last Lion player to become head coach was Will Hill Acker, who coached East Texas State Teachers College from 1929-30 and served as athletics director 1930-1949.
“We are thrilled to get an alum and a Hall of Famer to lead our football program,” said Eric Coleman, Interim Director of Athletics. “Clint Dolezel is a proven winner at every level he has played and coached. He is passionate about the institution, and he is someone who will look out for the best interest of our student-athletes as we continue our transition into Division I.”
Dolezel succeeds David Bailiff, who compiled a 23-13 record in three seasons as the Lions’ head coach. A&M-Commerce finished 5-6 this past season, which was the first for the Lions in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Series classification. A&M-Commerce’s record included a 3-3 mark in the Southland Conference. The Lions went 7-4 in 2021 for their final season in NCAA Division II. The team did not play in 2020 because of the pandemic. In Bailiff’s first season, the Lions posted an 11-3 mark in 2019.
Bailiff has previously coached at Texas State and Rice. Bailiff succeeded former Lions head coach Colby Carthel, who led A&M-Commerce to an NCAA Division II national championship in 2017. Carthel, who is now head coach at Stephen F. Austin State University, coached the Lions from 2013 to 2018.