KEARNEY, Neb. — An assistant coach at the University of Nebraska-Kearney is leaving to become the head coach of a former conference foe.

Lincoln University announced Wednesday night that Moses Harper will be the next head coach for the Blue Tigers. Harper spent 2023 as the wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator under first-year UNK head coach Ryan Held. Lincoln is exiting the MIAA and will join the Great Lakes Valley Conference starting in the fall.

“Lincoln University football hit a home run with the hiring of Moses Harper as its new head coach,” Held said in a statement. “He will do a great job and I can’t wait to see the success he will have. The Blue Tigers are in great hands!”

Harper has more than a decade of college coaching the Midwest on his resume. Before UNK, he was the tight ends coach and director of football operations at MIAA-member Missouri Western. He worked as offensive line coach at GLVC-member William Jewel from 2019-21. Harper also had stops at Fort Scott (Kan.) C.C. and Coahoma (Miss.) C.C.

“I am honored and humbled to be named the head football coach at Lincoln University,” Harper said. "I'd like to thank Dr. Wilson and Lincoln University President John Moseley for the opportunity to lead the Blue Tiger football program. We have a great opportunity to build something and start a tradition that can last a lifetime. This program will be built on three things: Discipline, Accountability, and Toughness, or "DAT." That's our standard and what we stand for, on and off the field. 

Lincoln went 0-11 in 2023 and last won a game in 2019. The university is in Jefferson City, Missouri and is a Historically Black College and University. Harper replaces Jermaine Gales, who stepped down in December after two seasons as head coach of the Blue Tigers.

Harper's exit marks the first change to Held's assistant coaching staff at UNK.