After a disappointing 34-7 loss to Navy, Army has reportedly parted ways with head coach Rich Ellerson.
Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated had the news:
BREAKING: Army parting ways with coach Rich Ellerson. http://t.co/EEJu0DbUp5— Pete Thamel (@SIPeteThamel) December 16, 2013
The news was confirmed by the Army athletics website later in the evening.
The loss marked Army’s 12th straight defeat at the hands of Navy, their biggest rival, and brought about the end of an unsuccessful tenure by Coach Ellerson.
Army Director of Athletics Boo Corrigan briefly spoke about the decision (via goarmysports.com):
"This is a very difficult day for all of us at West Point. Rich Ellerson has represented West Point and the Army football program extremely well since taking over as our head coach five years ago. He has been a tremendous role model for our cadet-athletes and great mentor for many within the athletic department.
Unfortunately, our team has not experienced the level of success on the football field that we expect, and we feel it is necessary to make a change in leadership at this time."
Ellerson came to the Black Knights after stints with Southern Utah and Cal Poly. After amassing a 60-41 record at those two schools, however, Ellerson only managed a 20-40 record with Army.
The Black Knights won seven games in the 2010 season and won the Armed Forces Bowl that year, but Army has gone 8-27 in the last three years and won only three games this season.
Ellerson knew of his possible dismissal, but he handled the unfortunate situation with class according to Mike Jensen of The Inquirer.
According to Jensen, Ellerson admitted after the loss to Navy that he hadn't done enough: “I was brought in to win football games and beat Navy. I knew the job description. It wasn’t to get close.”
Thamel reported that the vacancy has already generated substantial interest from assistant coaches across the country.
Ellerson’s successor is likely to have some ties to Army football, and Thamel mentions Ohio State co-offensive coordinator Ed Warinner, New York Jets special teams coach Ben Kotwica and Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan as a few names with West Point connections to keep an eye on.
Whoever replaces Ellerson will have his work cut out for him, as Army’s last winning season prior to Ellerson’s 2010 campaign was in 1996 under head coach Bob Sutton.