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  Tom Matukewicz, popularly known as “Coach Tuke,” was introduced as Southeast’s 13th head coach on Dec. 18, 2013.

 A tireless worker, Matukewicz brings energy and passion unlike any other. His commitment to excellence and  no-nonsense approach is already changing the landscape of Redhawk Football. 

“It’s about a process. It’s about doing ordinary things with unordinary discipline,” said Matukewicz. “We’re going to put a team out there that you’re proud of. We’re going to play hard. If you come watch us play, you are going to leave proud.”

Matukewicz is used to transforming programs into winners and he did just that as an assistant at Northern Illinois (2008-2011) and Southern Illinois (2001-07).

While at NIU, Matukewicz helped lead the Huskies to the Mid-American Conference West title in 2010 and an outright MAC Championship in 2011. Matukewicz was the linebackers coach in 2011 after serving as defensive run-game coordinator for three seasons under then-head coach Jerry Kill.

Matukewicz reached the pinnacle of his NIU stint when he was interim head coach for the Huskies’ trip to the 2010 Humanitarian Bowl after Kill accepted the Minnesota job at the end of the season. He led NIU to a commanding 40-17 victory over Fresno State in that game.

Matukewicz was responsible for coordinating the Huskies’ run defense during his first three seasons at NIU. In 2010, the Huskies ranked 24th nationally and third in the MAC in rushing defense, allowing 126.5 yards per game. NIU also had the MAC’s No. 1 total defense in 2008 and 2009.

In his first year in DeKalb, Matukewicz was part of a staff that turned NIU into the No. 1 scoring and total defense in the MAC, and one of the top 20 units in the country. The Huskies boasted the second-most improved scoring defense in the nation in 2008. That year, NIU allowed only 18 points per game, down from 30.8 the previous season. The Huskies ranked 17th nationally in total defense and was fifth in the country in pass defense.

Before that, Matukewicz spent seven seasons at SIU.  As linebackers coach and run-game coordinator, he had a big  hand in three Missouri Valley Football Conference championships (2003, 2004, 2005) and five NCAA Football Championship Subdivision playoff berths (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007).  

Matukewicz was named the 2007 FCS Assistant Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association after helping turn the Salukis into one of the top rushing defenses in the nation. SIU held its opponents to a rushing average below 135 yards per game every year from 2002-07. The Salukis had three of the top-10 rushing defenses in program history during that time.

Matukewicz’s 2004 linebacker corps formed the heart of a defense which gave up just 101.7 rushing yards per game, led the nation in scoring defense and
allowed 13.2 points per contest.

“We are so fortunate to hire Tom Matukewicz as our head football coach,” said Southeast Director of Athletics Mark Alnutt. “Tom has been very successful in his coaching career and was very instrumental in transforming Southern Illinois and Northern Illinois into perennial winners.”

Matukewicz made one more stop at the University of Toledo prior to accepting his first head coaching job at Southeast.

At Toledo, Matukewicz was defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for the 2012 and 2013 seasons.

In 2012, Matukewicz helped guide a defense that ranked among the top 25 in the nation in fourth-down conversion (9th), red-zone defense (10th), interceptions (18th) and turnovers forced (25th). The Rockets went 9-4 and earned a trip to the 2012 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.

Matukewicz’s defense also featured the nation’s leading tackler in linebacker Dan Molls. Molls had 166 tackles, earned First-Team All-MAC honors and became Toledo’s first Academic All-American in eight years.

A native of Silver Lake, Kan., Matukewicz completed his undergraduate work at Fort Hays State. He received his bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1997 and then earned his master’s degree in administration at Pittsburg State.

Matukewicz coached at Fort Hays State (1996-97), Pittsburg State (1997-99), Coffeyville Community College (1999-2000) and Emporia State (2000-01) prior to his NCAA Division I football tenure.