WATERVILLE — Ed Mestieri, Colby College’s head football coach for the past eight seasons, resigned Friday.

“I felt it was time for a change, for me and the football program,” said Mestieri, who coached at Colby for 23 years. “After so many years, change, I think, is positive.”

A Springfield College graduate, Mestieri recently completed his eighth season as the Mules’ head coach. After an 0-4 start, the Mules rallied to finish 3-5.

Before his tenure as head coach, Mestieri had stints as the Mules offensive coordinator, offensive line coach and recruiting coordinator. He took over as Colby’s head coach when Tom Austin resigned after the 2003 season.

Colby athletic director Marcella Zalot said a national search for Mestieri’s replacement would begin next week. Colby assistant coach Jonathan Michaeles will run the program on an interim basis, according to Zalot.

“I have the utmost respect for Ed Mestieri,” Zalot said. “He is a wonderful football coach and a better person. It is a sad day.”

The Mules went 31-33 during Mestieri’s tenure. He went 6-2 in his first season with the Mules, then went 7-1 in 2005 and was named the Division II/III Coach of the Year by the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston.

The Mules then won six games over the next three seasons before back-to-back 4-4 seasons in 2009 and 2010.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

tlazarczyk@centralmaine.com