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Colgate's Dick Biddle retiring after 18 seasons

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HAMILTON, N.Y. (AP)

Dick Biddle, the winningest head football coach in Colgate history, retired Monday after 18 stellar seasons and seven Patriot League titles.

''My wife and I carefully considered this decision,'' Biddle said. ''Our love for Colgate and Hamilton is unparalleled, but 18 years as head coach is a long time at any one place. Sometimes a change is good for everybody.

The 6-year-old Biddle is the winningest coach in Patriot League history. He compiled a 137-73 (.652) overall record and won three of every four conference games he coached, finishing 81-27 (.750) against league competition. The next-closest Patriot League coach is Lafayette's Frank Tavani, who has 76 overall victories and 45 in conference play.

''I've had a great run here and accomplished many of my coaching goals,'' Biddle said. ''There are other things I want to do in my life, and this is the perfect opportunity for my wife and me to begin a new chapter.''

Associate head coach Dan Hunt will take over for Biddle, effective July 1.

In 2012, Biddle was named Patriot League coach of the year for the fifth time while guiding the Raiders to their seventh Patriot League title and seventh appearance in the NCAA playoffs.

Biddle achieved the best winning percentage of any Colgate coach with seven or more years at the helm of the Raiders. He also is the first Colgate coach to record nine straight seasons (1997-2005) with seven or more victories.

''My career was supported by great coaches, players and administrators who stood behind our commitment to succeed,'' Biddle said. ''We won seven championships, but three or four other times we were second and had a chance to win the championship, like this past year.''

Biddle's best season was 2003, when he led the Raiders to the national championship game. They won their first 15 games, including three in the NCAA playoffs, before losing to Delaware, and Biddle was named the American Football Coaches Association Division I-AA national coach of the year.

''For a non-scholarship program with the highest academic standards to compete for a national championship speaks volumes about what that team was made of,'' Biddle said. ''That's something Colgate football and I will never forget.''

The Parkersburg, W.Va., native starred in college at Duke and was a two-time All-ACC linebacker. He received All-America third-team honors his senior year and played in the Blue-Gray and Hula Bowl all-star games. Biddle later was elected to Duke's All-Century Team.

Prior to taking over the Raiders, Biddle coached at Virginia Tech, Minnesota and Navy, along with two stints as a Colgate assistant. He began his coaching career at Allegheny in 1973.

Biddle's duties at Colgate officially run through the end of the current academic year, but Hunt assumes all responsibilities for recruiting, spring practice and preparations for next season.

Hunt, 44, has been at Colgate since Biddle took over in 1996. Biddle took a squad that went 0-11 the previous season to a 6-5 overall record in 1996, followed by a perfect 6-0 Patriot League season in 1997.

Hunt, a graduate of Springfield College, just completed his fourth season as associate head coach and seventh as offensive coordinator. He has been the quarterbacks coach since 1999. In 2012, the Raiders finished third nationally in scoring offense, fourth in total offense and fifth in rushing offense.

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