Knowles To Leave WMU

Jim Knowles of the Western Michigan University football coaching staff has notified the University of his intention to resign his post of six seasons. Knowles served as defensive coordinator the past two seasons and spent five years working with the defensive line.

This past autumn, Knowles oversaw the No. 1 rated defense in the Mid-American Conference, as the Broncos held opponents to 330 yards per game. The Brown & Gold allowed the fewest first downs in the league (217) while also ranking second in pass defense (179.5 yards per game) and sacks (33).

The Bronco defensive unit held opponents to less than 100 yards rushing on three occasions (UCF-62, Buffalo-75, Central Michigan-82) and to under 100 yards passing three times (Indiana State-42, Ball State-45, Central Michigan-77).

Success on defense carried over to individual honors for several of Knowles' players. Defensive end Jason Babin was named MAC Defensive Player of the Year and a fourth team All-American by The Sporting News. Senior defensive end Chris Browning (first team) and senior linebacker Bryan Lape (honorable mention) received All-MAC honors.

WMU's defensive accomplishments occurred against the toughest schedule in school history. The Broncos faced three top-25 ranked teams and finished 4-8 overall — with four losses coming by four or fewer points.

Among Knowles' accomplishments at WMU was developing an effective pass rush. The Broncos recorded quarterback sacks in 33 consecutive games and compiled 207 total sacks dating to 1997 — an average of 34 per season.

"Jim did a great job overseeing our defense and we certainly appreciate the contributions he made to our program in six seasons," said WMU head coach Gary Darnell. "Jim is a quality individual and we certainly wish him the best in his future endeavor."

Once Knowles' intention to resign becomes official, a national search will begin for his replacement.

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