COLUMN: English lost his team's respect, then his job.
Ron English proved me right.
That was going to be my lead for the column I had planned on writing, after the Eastern Michigan University football coach was fired Friday. I was going to applaud his firing, though curiously timed, because I thought it should have been done a year ago.
That was before I learned about the recording of him berating his players in a team meeting.
Then, I listened to it.
Initially, I was caught off guard by the tirade. I know coaches yell at their players, and I know it happens more times than it doesn’t, but this was different. This was a coach who had just completely and totally lost the respect of his team in just over three minutes.
I know that, because it’s the same coach who completely and totally lost my respect, too.
“That’s why I have no respect for the players that went here, I have no [expletive] respect for you [expletive],” English said in the recording. “I have no respect for you little quittin’-[expletive] [expletive]. That’s why you got your [expletive] kicked, quitter. That’s what I call y’all, all little [expletive]. Mother [expletive], I don’t need to respect you, I don’t give a [expletive] about you, [expletive]. There, it’s true. I don’t [expletive] care about complainers, cause you mother [expletive] are quitters. Gotta get out mother [expletive]. I don’t give a [expletive] about you, [expletive].”
If the Eagles had been losing close games week in and week out, I’d pay a little more attention to this argument, but they weren’t.
They were getting humiliated on the field, and then by their coach.
“I’ve never been in a place where you’ve coached the same [expletive] for months,” he said.
The not so proud owner of an 11-46 record in his time as Eastern’s coach seems to have forgotten he brought these guys in over the course of five years.
_Al Willman can be heard every week on the Eastern Echo Sports Podcast with Sports Editor Eugene Evans. The podcast can be found on "SoundCloud":https://soundcloud.com/esquare05-1 or by searching for the podcast on iTunes._
“There’s a lack of focus now,” English said. “There’s a lack of pride, is what that is. But more importantly, self-respect. That’s what it really is – you have no respect for yourselves.”
In the course of three minutes, English scapegoated his players, and now I wonder if he scapegoated Ken Karcher and Phil Snow before they lost their jobs at the end of the 2012 season.
In my column after the team’s 51-20 homecoming loss to Ball State University, I brought up English’s comment to AnnArbor.com at Mid-American Conference Media Day in July.
“I think that you’re almost immune, as a coach, to (the uncertainty) part of it,” he said about the pressures of being the coach.
I think that immunity wore off a couple of weeks ago, as evidenced by Lyke’s statement, issued through the EMU Athletic Department on Saturday.
“We hold our coaches and staff to high standards of professionalism and conduct and there is no place, particularly in a student environment, where this language is appropriate,” she stated. “The statements made by Coach English are absolutely unacceptable.”
I guess he really did earn that F- we gave him last season.
By the way, in Stan Parrish’s first game as interim coach, the Eagles defeated Western Michigan University, 35-32 in overtime.
Follow Al Willman on Twitter: @AlWillmanEcho
Al can be heard every week on the Eastern Echo Sports Podcast with Sports Editor Eugene Evans. The podcast can be found on SoundCloud or by searching for the podcast on iTunes.