School will buy out two years of contract

KALAMAZOO, Mich. -- Football coach Gary Darnell was fired Sunday by Western Michigan.

"For the benefit of our student-athletes and fans, we simply
cannot afford another year of decline and now is the time for new
leadership to be brought in," Kathy Beauregard, the school's
Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, said in a statement.

Western Michigan is 1-9 and 0-7 in the Mid-American Conference. The Broncos are 15-30 and 11-20 in MAC games over the past four seasons.

The school said attendance at games has dropped as well.

Darnell will end the season with Western Michigan on Saturday at Marshall.

Darnell was hired in 1996 and went 8-3 in his first season. He
was 31-15 in his first four seasons at Western Michigan and 24-8 in
the MAC. He led the Broncos to West division titles and conference
championship appearances in 1999 and 2000. Darnell was chosen MAC coach of the year in 2000.

Western Michigan will buy out the remaining two years of his