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Rhea steps in for Wagner at Western Carolina

Cullowhee, NC (Sports Network) - Mark Rhea has received his second major promotion this season, albeit due to a series of unfortunate events.

Rhea was named interim head coach at Western Carolina, following Dennis Wagner's resignation on Sunday morning. Hired before the 2008 season, Wagner posted a 8-34 record in four-plus seasons at Western Carolina.

"I have accepted the resignation of Dennis Wagner as head football coach at Western Carolina University," Western Carolina interim athletic director Fred Cantler said. "Coach Wagner announced his resignation to the team and his assistants earlier today after meeting with me for a frank and thorough discussion of the future of the program. We have reached the mutual conclusion that it is in the best interests of both parties to take this step at this time."

A defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator entering the season, Rhea was named assistant head coach on Oct. 31, following the dismissal of Matt Pawlowski, who also had served as the defensive coordinator.

With one game remaining on the Catamounts' schedule, Rhea's tenure in charge could be short. A national search for the next head coach will commence immediately, and the completion of that search will be the top priority of the university´┐Żs next director of athletics.

Western Carolina (1-9) hosts Coastal Carolina on Saturday in what could be Rhea's first and last game as head coach.

11/14 10:16:22 ET