Author's Note: This is the first in a five-part series detailing coaches who deserve Coach of the Year Award consideration for the jobs they have done this season in turning around once-dismal programs.
The Eastern Michigan Eagles have been one of the worst football programs in the nation for quite some time.
They have had only one winning season in the last 20 years, a 6-5 finish in 1995 when the team was led by future NFL QB Charlie Batch. In those 20 seasons, the Eagles had an overall record of 65-164-1.
This season is a different story, as Eastern Michigan currently sits at 6-4 and needs only one more win in order to become bowl-eligible (the Eagles need seven wins to become bowl-eligible this season because they played two FCS teams).
With two MAC games remaining, getting that one win is a very real possibility.
The Eastern Michigan Eagles' success this season can be attributed to one man: Head Coach Ron English.
While several of the Eagles' key players may be upperclassmen, it is important to remember that they had done very little in previous years, making this season's success quite surprising. So, Coach English deserves a ton of credit for getting the most out of these players.
QB Alex Gillett is enjoying a stellar season.
He has thrown for over 1,250 yards with 13 touchdowns and rushed for 654 yards and three touchdowns. This is an enormous improvement over his previous two seasons as the starter; during those seasons he was statistically one of the worst starting quarterbacks in the country.
When a player experiences such an enormous growth in his level of play, the driving force behind it is almost always a great coach who is pushing his player to become great.
It isn't just Gillett that English is getting the most out of: Eastern Michigan currently ranks 14th in the country in rushing yards per game, quite an impressive feat for a team that has had to face Michigan's and Penn State's defenses.
Before the season, Coach English went skydiving with the U.S. Army's Golden Knights in order to garner attention for both the Golden Knights and the EMU football team. It looks like his daring move has worked in firing up his team as well.
Turning around a program that has losing ingrained in it is a nearly impossible task.
Coach Ron English has done the nearly impossible this season, and for that he deserves consideration for Coach of the Year.