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Merced College football coach Tony Lewis resigns after 19 seasons

After 19 seasons as head coach of the Merced College football team, Tony Lewis will be stepping down.

The school sent out a press release on Thursday announcing Lewis' decision.

Lewis cited a desire to spend more time with his family in the release.

Lewis' resignation marks the end of an era for a coach who has paced the Blue Devil sidelines in one capacity or another for the last 31 years.

"From his playing days, to being an assistant, to being a head coach, Tony exemplifies everything a Blue Devil stands for," MC athletic director Steve Cassady said. "That's what we'll be looking for in his replacement."

Cassady said Lewis will remain an academic counselor at the school and will continue to be the Blue Devil coach through the spring.

"Ideally you'd like to be able to fill the position quickly, but until you do it, you don't know how it's going to go," Cassady said. "With the coaching position comes a teaching position, so we're going to open up a national search.

"Tony will continue to help with the sophomores find four-year schools to move on to and the assistants that are out recruiting will continue to do that."

Whomever MC finds to replace Lewis will be hard pressed to match the coach's accomplishments.

In his 19 years as a head coach Lewis compiled a 92-114-1 record. He’s won a Northern California championship, nine conference titles, eight bowl games, a state title as an assistant and State Coach of the Year in 2005.

His 92 victories rank second in Blue Devil history behind Lewis' mentor Don Odishoo (108).