CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. -- Tom Matukewicz, a veteran coach who spent the past two seasons as defensive coordinator at Toledo, was introduced Wednesday as the new head coach at Southeast Missouri State.
The 40-year-old Matukewicz replaces Tony Samuel, who was fired after coaching the Redhawks to a 31-60 record in eight seasons. He had two years remaining on a five-year contract when he was let go Nov. 26.
Matukewicz also was linebackers coach at Toledo, a Mid-American Conference team that went 7-5 in 2013. Under his guidance, Toledo's defense improved to ninth in overall defense from 12th in 2012.
Matukewicz, a native of Silver Lake, Kan., was linebackers coach at Northern Illinois before joining Toledo in 2012. He served as interim head coach when NIU beat Fresno State in the 2010 Humanitarian Bowl after head coach Jerry Kill took the top job in Minnesota.
Matukewicz also coached linebackers under Kill at Southern Illinois in Carbondale from 2001 to 2007. He was named Football Championship Subdivision assistant coach of the year in 2007.
Southeast Missouri finished the 2013 season 3-9 overall and 2-6 in the Ohio Valley Conference. The Redhawks have had winning records three times since moving to Division I from Division II in 1991.
Southeast had just one winning season under Samuel, going 9-3 in 2010 and winning the OVC championship. Samuel won the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year honor that year, named for the top coach in Division I's Football Championship Subdivision.
Matukewicz said Wednesday he was ''thrilled'' to get the Southeast Missouri job.
''I feel like I am well-prepared for this opportunity and look forward to making a difference not only in this football program, but in this region,'' he said.
Matukewicz's coaching resume also includes positions at several Kansas schools, including Emporia State and Pittsburg State, where he earned a master's degree in administration.