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Mark Farley is getting the opportunity to coach the UNI football team through the 2026 season.

Farley has signed a contract extension that allows the winningest coach in program and Missouri Valley Football Conference history to lead the Panthers another five seasons.

The agreements was announced Monday morning by David Harris, UNI's Director of Athletics.

"For two decades, coach Farley has led this team to unprecedented heights, built a consistent winner on the field and helped mold leaders in our community," Harris said in a press release. "We are grateful for his leadership and look forward to working with him to meet the lofty expectations for our football program. However, during this time of financial challenges, we are equally grateful for his willingness to restructure his contract to put our department in a more sustainable position as we deal with the fiscal impact of the pandemic."

Farley is the current FCS leader in playoff victories. He has coached UNI to seven MVFC titles and 12 FCS playoff appearances. The 2005 team advanced to the FCS title game. He has also led two teams to the FCS semifinals and five teams to the FCS Quarterfinals. He was named the 2007 Eddie Robinson Award Winner and this spring he became the only coach in MVFC history to win 100 Valley games.

"Our family is extremely fortunate to call UNI and Cedar Falls home," Farley said. "I want to thank David Harris and President Nook for trusting me to continue to lead our football program. We have an excellent group of coaches and student-athletes who are committed to competing at the highest level and we are so appreciative of the fans and donors who generously support us. I have dedicated most of my career to UNI Football and felt it was important to help our athletic department during these challenging financial times. I am looking forward to the years ahead as we continue to elevate our football program."

Six Panthers have been drafted during Farley's NFL tenure and three more UNI student-athletes could hear their names called in this week. Spencer Brown and Elerson Smith are graded as mid-round NFL Draft picks, while former UNI tight end Briley Moore could go in the late rounds.

Along with Farley's contract renewal, the Panthers have made significant investments in football facilities. Construction on the Van G. Miller Family Charitable Foundation Meeting Room will begin in May. The Doug and Ann Goschke Outdoor Practice Facility - In Memory of Junean Goschke will begin construction mid-summer. Both projects are expected to be completed in the fall of 2021. Combined with current fundraising efforts for transformative renovations to the dome, the future looks bright for Panther football.

"We have made exciting headway improving our football facilities and in our planning to bring the UNI-Dome into the 21st century," Harris said. "We are working hard and coach Farley has made significant contributions to our fundraising efforts. It is just another example of his leadership on and off the field."

Farley was an All-American and the Conference Defensive Player of the Year as a linebacker for the Panthers in 1985. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at UNI before becoming the linebacker coach in 1989. In 1997, he joined Terry Allen's staff at Kansas for four seasons before returning to take the head coaching job at UNI in 2001.

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