Georgia Southern fired coach Chad Lunsford following a 1-3 start to the season, it was announced on Sunday.
Lunsford, who took over midway through the 2017 season, guided Georgia Southern to 10 wins in 2018 and three consecutive bowl appearances entering this fall. The Eagles won their opening game against FCS Gardner-Webb before falling to Florida Atlantic, Arkansas and Louisiana.
Cornerbacks coach Kevin Whitley will serve as Georgia Southern's interim head coach. The former Eagles All-American and Canadian Football League player is in his third season on staff.
Lunsford, 44, was a Georgia Southern assistant from 2013 until replacing Tyson Summers for the second half of the 2017 season. Despite Lunsford's 27-18 record entering the season, industry sources anticipated a potential change at Georgia Southern, since athletic director Jared Benko did not hire Lunsford.
Last week, Lunsford was asked about his job status and he said he wasn't "defined by football."
"I am a man of faith. I feel that my steps are ordered, and I feel that God has a plan for me. God has a plan for my family." Lunsford said. "So why worry about things that you can't control? I control how we practice. I control the different things that we do at practice. We control the depth chart. We control who plays. I have to focus on the things that I do have control over."
He continued: "I'm not going to let it bring me down. I'm going to do the best I can do. I'm going to believe in my guys. I'm going to believe in my coaches, and we're going to go to work, and we're going to go to work every day. We're going to do the best we can do, and if it's meant to be, then it's meant to be. That's how I look at it. I'm not defined by football. I love football. I love to win. I love to compete. I don't want to lose. I probably hate to lose more than I love to win. But it's not going to define my life."