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Head coach accountable for team's performance

Last updated: 12/04/12 2:09pm


I’ve been getting a lot of feedback, both positive and negative, about the Dec. 3 column I wrote about Eastern Michigan University’s head football coach Ron English, and I’d like to clear the air on a few matters.

Some of the people who have argued in English’s defense (mainly on the team’s unofficial Facebook page) have alluded to a secondary point I made in Monday’s column: The university may allow English to keep his job, and instead fire either defensive coordinator Phil Snow or offensive coordinator Ken Karcher.

Before continuing, I first need to underscore the following information: At the time of my original column, rumors about the firings of either coordinator had not yet been confirmed or denied by EMU’s Athletic Department. They had not responded to numerous attempts by The Eastern Echo to make contact in regards to this matter. Furthermore, I would not write a story that is based entirely on unconfirmed rumors.

On Tuesday morning, the athletic department announced in an email that Karcher was no longer a member of the coaching staff; they did not specify if he was fired or left voluntarily.

Since that’s out of the way, let’s get back to the issue that I think some people may have missed. The job of a head coach, whether it be a parent who volunteers to run their child’s team or a professional coach making millions of dollars and spending every day in the public spotlight, is to manage his or her team and be accountable for what happens on the field.

While it’s true that the players are the ones who physically score the points and make the plays, the team’s successes as well as its failures ultimately rest on the coach’s shoulders. And such is the case with English.

He came to EMU prior to the 2009 season after spending 2008 as the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator for the University of Louisville Cardinals. However, he is most known locally for his two years (2006 and 2007) as the defensive coordinator at the University of Michigan.

In 2008, the Cardinals were 5-7 and English’s defense gave up 4,747 total yards (1,875 rushing yards and 2,872 yards passing). That year, the Cardinal’s opponents averaged 129.5 yards on the ground and 239.3 yards in the air every game against them.

I’ve already established English’s record as the head coach at EMU, so I really don’t think I need to rehash that.

The fact of the matter is this: English, as the head coach is accountable for the performance of not only his team, but also the coaches that work under him. An indisputable fact is that the team has lost more games than its won, and that’s been happening for a long time.

Now that Karcher is off the staff, I still feel that all eyes are going to be on English. 2013 may very well be his last year as head coach if he isn’t able to find a way to put wins on the board.

Published Dec 4, 2012

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