An assistant coach also left. But that was hardly all. In June, WSU assistant coach Ted Stanley tragically lost his wife Jocelyn to complications from child birth.
Weber State quarterback Mike Hoke said the events brought the team closer together.
"I don't think the off the field stuff had anything to do with how we performed on the field," he said. "Everyone is still unsure why we're performing this way. The players we have, this is unacceptable."
When coach Ron McBride retired following last season's 5-3 conference mark, expectations for 2012 were high, at least on the outside looking in. But on closer inspection, there were cracks, including losses on defense and an inexperienced, undersized offensive line.
Weber State quarterbacks have been sacked 36 times, which is tied for the third-most sacks allowed by any team in the country, an average of 3.6 sacks a game.
"It's definitely a learning experience," WSU back C.J. Tuckett said. "It takes all 11 guys. It doesn't matter how many good players you have or what stats you have, when all 11 guys don't do their job you can't win."
For Sears, who also acts as defensive coordinator, his first experience as a head coach has been unforgettable, and not for the losing. His team has continued to practice hard.
"You'd like to have a few more W's," he said. "[But] I don't want to confuse effort with results.
"There's been no cashing it in."
Weber State at Idaho State
P At Holt Arena (Pocatello, Idaho)
Kickoff • Saturday, 4 p.m.
TV • None
Radio • 106.9 FM
Records • WSU 1-9, 1-6 Big Sky; ISU 1-9, 0-7
Series record • WSU leads 37-14
Last meeting • WSU 39, ISU 12 (Oct. 15, 2011)
About the Wildcats • Quarterback Mike Hoke ranks seventh in the Big Sky in total offense with an average of 218.9 yards per game and is ninth in passing at 195.7 yards per game. He has also been sacked 36 times. … Junior linebacker Anthony Morales leads the Big Sky in tackles and ranks fifth in the nation with an average of 12 tackles a game.
About the Bengals • ISU has lost eight straight games, its lone victory a 38-5 win over NAIA school Black Hills State on Sept. 8. … Senior quarterback Kevin Yost ranks fourth in the country in total offense, averaging 333.4 yards per game. … ISU allows 60.7 points a game in conference play.