Ron English needs to go. In four years coaching the Eastern Michigan University football team, he has managed to lead his team to a record of 10-38. Breaking down the wins by year will give you an even bigger perspective on exactly how bad this is.
In 2009, his first year as head coach, the team went 0-12. He managed to direct the team to a 2-10 record in 2010. 2011 was by far his best year as coach, as the Eagles finished 6-6. Add the recently completed 2-10 campaign this season and you get 10 wins in four years, or an average of 2.5 wins per year.
Before you jump to the conclusion that I’m jumping on English’s back for no reason, there is one thing that you need to take into account. According to USA Today, coach English is making around $375,000 this year to steer a “front line” team in a direction that is, at best, mediocre. According to information obtained from Tracey Piercecchi, a paralegal at EMU’s Office of Legal Affairs, English took home a total of $367,920 last year, which was about $72,800 more than EMU President Susan Martin earned that year.
I think Dave Goricki of The Detroit News put it best Friday in his own observations on the state of coach English’s tenure.
“Well, English has failed,” he said. “If EMU’s athletic department feels he has earned the right to keep his job for the fifth and final year of his contract, it should seriously consider dropping its program.”
While I don’t agree with the last statement regarding dropping the football program, I do think a change needs to be made in its leadership. A rumor surfaced this past week about the potential firing of offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Ken Karcher.
Another source tells me defensive coordinator Phil Snow may be sent packing in the coming days. If either coordinator is fired, I think it may merely buy English one more year to right the ship.
According to a salary database put together by USA Today, one thing is clear: With a nearly $26 million annual athletic budget, EMU has the money to go out and find a decent head coach.
I’m not saying they should go right now and drag recently resigned University of Southern California assistant Monte Kiffin kicking and screaming to Ypsilanti, but they can afford to pay somebody one or two million dollars to make something happen.
Another point Goricki made that I completely agree with is the focus doesn’t need to be on winning the Mid-American Conference. The first thing that needs to happen is for the team to win more than 2.5 games in a season.
I think we can all agree at this point, given the more proven pattern in English’s tenure, that the 2011 six-win campaign was little more than a fluke.
At the four-year mark, we are approaching the tail end of English’s initial recruiting class. Yes, players like sophomore quarterback Tyler Benz and sophomore running back Bronson Hill show the potential to grow into very solid players, but senior tight end Garrett Hoskins and the three offensive lineman that are graduating means there is the potential for major issues with the running game next year.
Maybe, this far into my column, a point has been made to stick with English for one more year. Perhaps the right move is to bring in a new offensive or defensive coordinator. The one clear fact is that a change must be made on the coaching staff of the EMU football team.
The way to get more fans in the seats is to give them something to be excited about. The best way to excite your fans is to win football games.
If EMU Athletic Director Derrick Gragg decides a new head coach is the answer, he needs to convince the Board of Regents, Martin or whoever it takes to open the school’s pocketbook and pay whatever it takes to put a winner in the driver’s seat.__