It's been the great debate going around Ypsi in the past couple of years: is it time to let Ron English go?
In 2009, English was hired to be the Eagles' new head coach to replace Jeff Gynek, who went 16-42 in his five seasons at Eastern Michigan. With all of the other small improvements that have been made - with boosts in attendance, the new uniforms, and the back-to-back Michigan MAC championships, nothing can shake the fact that the past four and one-third seasons have been an overall disappointment.
52 games into the Ron English era, the Eagles have gone 11-41. This includes the fluke 6-6 season (2011) that was the best the school has seen since 1995 (when they went 6-5 under Rick Rasnick) as well as their first winless season (2009) since 1981.
The Eagles are off to an unimpressive start this year, with a 1-3 record and the lone win coming against FCS Howard University. It wasn't exactly the sexiest win either, having to come back from an 11-point deficit to win late in the ball game. Nobody necessarily expected the Eagles to beat Penn State or Rutgers on the road, but coming home to face Ball State, you'd expect the Eagles to at least put up a good fight. Instead, the Eagles fell flat on their faces, playing a horrendous game on the defensive side of the ball while losing by 31 points on Homecoming.
Even The Eastern Echo published a story last year calling Ron English an "expensive waste of tuition". Since then, we've seen five new faces enter and four leave the EMU coaching staff, notably Stan Parrish coming in to replace Ken Karcher as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Ron English remained as the head coach, but took over as the defensive coordinator, which seemed like it would be the best fit for him, as that's where the bulk of his coaching experience comes from after coordinating the defenses at Louisville and Michigan.
Now, as English's first year as the defensive coordinator, the Eagles have let up an average of 37 points per game.
In my talks with Eastern fans, they all cross their fingers in hopes to see the true freshman Brogan Roback take the field and lead this team to the promised land (Ford Field). But, as talented as the kid might be, none of those said fans have ever seen him play before and are all just hanging onto the fact that he was a 4-star recruit per Yahoo! and Scout recruiting sites (ESPN has him listed as a 3-star). Even though Tyler Benz played poorly last week, the offense isn't the main problem here.
This really puts new athletic director Heather Lyke in a tenuous position: keep English around to at least finish the season, or start accepting applications to be part of the EMU football coaching staff?