Ellerson fired after 5 seasons

Army confirmed in a press release Sunday night that head coach Rich Ellerson has been fired after five seasons and a 20-41 record.

The firing comes one day after Ellerson’s fifth straight loss to Navy 34-7 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. Army finished the 2013 season with five straight losses and were 8-28 in Ellerson’s final three years.

In 2010, Ellerson led the Black Knights to a 7-6 record,  its first winning season since 1996 and a 16-14 win over SMU in the Armed Forces Bowl, its first postseason victory since 1985. Ellerson was given a two-year contract extension after the bowl win and had those two years remaining on his contract.

“This is a very difficult day for all of us at West Point,” Corrigan stated in a press release. “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.”

Just last week, Corrigan stepped to podium at the Army-Navy media luncheon and introduced Ellerson with a vote of confidence.

“(Ellerson) is the perfect fit at West Point not only to lead our football program but to create leaders of character for the United States of America,” Corrigan told the media and distinguished guests.

But, Corrigan said the statement Sunday, “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,” Corrigan said in press release.

Corrigan informed Ellerson of his decision Sunday evening/

Ellerson addressed his future in a postgame press conference after the Navy loss Saturday.

“That’s not my call,” Ellerson said. “Obviously, I think I can say in the body of work we have made some progress. But, I wasn’t brought in to make progress. I was brought in to win football games and beat Navy and I’ve lost to our rival five times. We haven’t had that conversation but I’m a football coach.”

Deputy Military Athletic Director Col. Joe DeAntona assumes day-to-day football operations until Army new coach is named.

Jets special teams coach Ben Kotwica, a captain of 1996 Army team which won an academy-record 10 games, and Ohio State co-offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Ed Warinner are top candidates to replace Ellerson. Warinner was an Army assistant coach from 1987-1999, serving as the offensive coordinator in 1998 and 1999.

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