NEW ORLEANS -- Tulane head coach Bob Toledo has resigned after yet another slow start for the Green Wave.
Athletic director Rick Dickson made the announcement Tuesday after meeting with Toledo. Dickson said he and Toledo mutually agreed the coach should resign.
Dickson said a there will be national search to replace Toledo, but that offensive line coach Mark Hutson has been named interim coach for Tulane's remaining six games. Hutson also was the interim head coach at Eastern Illinois in 2006.
Toledo, 65, a former head coach at UCLA, took over at Tulane in 2007, the Green Wave's second season back in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
Although he was 13-35 in his first four years, Toledo received a two-year extension after last season in the hope his recruiting efforts would pay off with a winning season in 2011. Tulane, however, is off to a 2-5 start that included lopsided losses to Tulsa, Duke, Army and UTEP.
"Over the last weeks and days, Bob had become a lightning rod for criticism and attacks and things we shouldn't be doing in college athletics," Dickson said at the press conference, which Toledo did not attend. "By him stepping down, that is removed."
UTEP beat Tulane 44-7 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome last Saturday, dropping Toledo to 8-27 in Conference USA play under Toledo. At the end of that game, some of the few fans remaining chanted "fire coach Toledo."
Senior wide receiver Joe Kemp said the team needs to stay unified during the transition.
"Today was a rough day with coach Toledo obviously," Kemp said. "A lot of us feel a tremendous amount of respect for him, but it's absolutely important we stay together. There's been little cracks and little dissensions in the locker room, and [Hutson] immediately addressed all that. We have to play together."
Blowout defeats were the norm in Toledo's tenure, with 23 of his 40 losses occurring by 20 points or more.
Tulane went 4-8 in 2007, his first season, despite getting a school-record 2,127 rushing yards from Matt Forte, still the seventh-highest single-season total in NCA history. Without Forte, the Green Wave never improved on that mark, going 2-10 in an injury-plagued 2008, 3-9 in 2009 and 4-8 last season.
This year, Tulane was 2-1 after beating UAB 49-10 -- by far its largest margin of victory under Toledo -- before losing its next four.
Tulane last finished above. 500 in 2002 and has had only four winning seasons since 1981. Half of those occurred in former coach Tommy Bowden's two-year stint in 1997 and 1998. The Green Wave went 7-4 in 1997 and 12-0 in 1998.
"We have already begun the process of what will be a national search," Dickson said. "Make no mistake, we have to find the right fit. We understand that."
Hutson has been Tulane's offensive line coach for all five years with Toledo. He led Eastern Illinois to a co-Ohio Valley Conference championship and an 8-5 record in his season as interim coach and also has been an assistant at Tulsa and Arkansas.
Tulane running backs coach Greg Davis Jr. will take over the play-calling duties. Toledo performed that role himself this season.
Tulane plays its homecoming game this Saturday against winless Memphis.
"We have half a season left," Hutson said. "Our goals are still intact. Our focus and our commitment are to beat Memphis."