The bitterly cold weather did not stop nearly 100 people from attending Thursday’s news conference introducing new Eastern Michigan University football coach Chris Creighton in the atrium of the Convocation Center.
“Today is not about a head coach.” Creighton said. “Today is about Eastern Michigan football.”
Creighton, 44, was introduced to the media as well as the students, regents, faculty and others who had gathered for the 3 p.m. conference.
Creighton’s contract is a five-year deal, and he is to make $400,000 per season in base salary. He is also scheduled to earn $25,000 for taking part in a weekly radio show.
Before taking the job at Drake, an FCS school where the student-athletes do not receive athletic scholarships, Creighton was the coach at Wabash College in Indiana (2001-07) with a 63-15 record in seven seasons and Ottawa University in Kansas (1997-2000) where he had a 32-9 overall record.
EMU vice president and director of athletics Heather Lyke said she was drawn to Creighton by his record and based on a conversation she had with Drake University athletic director Sandy Hatfield Clubb.
Lyke also read from an e-mail sent by a current player on Drake’s football team. In the e-mail, the player praised his coach for helping to mold him and his teammates into the people they are today.
She then introduced the new coach by presenting him with a green EMU jersey with his name and the number one on the back.
“I know I’m supposed to be here,” Creighton said. “I am absolutely fired up about leading this football program.”
He then asked his players to consider something.
“I’m asking you if I can be a part of your family,” he said to his team. “I want to be a part of who you are. You guys didn’t choose me, but our family chose you. And we’re leaving the place that we love to come here and be with you.”
Creighton replaces Stan Parrish, who took over as interim coach following the firing of Ron English early last month. English was 11-46 in five seasons as Eastern’s coach.
Creighton had a simple formula for winning games.
“Winning is a byproduct of doing things right and doing them hard,” Creighton said.
He also said he knows his players want to win.
“I’ve seen it in the eyes of the guys downstairs,” Creighton added. “They want to be great.”
Creighton also laid out part of his recruiting plan.
“I’m going to go out there…and I know these people exist – winners,” Creighton said. “Guys who know who they are so deep that they don’t have to go to a finished product, to a supposed sure thing and be a cog in a wheel. There’s men out there who believe in themselves and know deep down that it might be more of a risk, but they want to go in the front end of something and build something special – not jump on something already done.”
Creighton said he was going to put together a coaching staff, which would hopefully be comprised of members of his staff at Drake.
“I would absolutely love to have folks I know come here,” he said.
Follow Al Willman on Twitter: @AlWillmanEcho