Army athletic director Boo Corrigan said Sunday night after he fired Rich Ellerson that he’s, “looking for a guy with a proven track record” as Army’s next coach.
An understanding and appreciation for the academy are qualifications high on Corrigan’s list. And, the candidate should be, “a quick study.”
“We are looking for somebody to come in here and hit the ground running,” Corrigan said. “We’re not looking for somebody to come in here and learn for three years what we are doing. We are looking for someone to inspire the players in the program. We are looking for someone with an appetite for recruiting and finding out how we maximize who we are.”
This is Corrigan’s first big hire in his first athletic director’s job, which he took on in Feb. 2011. Expect West Point superintendent Robert Caslen to be heavily involved in the interview process for the next coach. Corrigan said he and Caslen came to the conclusion of letting Ellerson go together.
The question weeks and months before Ellerson was dismissed after five years and a 20-41 record was if not Ellerson, then who? Ellerson had the Army background (father, two brothers are West Point grads), an option background, a defensive mind (he designed Arizona’s Desert Swarm defense in the 90s) and a true love for the academy and what it stood for.”
When asked if there was any thought of making a coaching change during the season, Corrigan said, “You are evaluating at all times but our stated platform on this is to wait until the end of the year and make that full evaluation. I said that last year. I said that earlier this season. I said it after each game as the questions kept coming. We’re going to sit down at the end of the season and evaluate the whole program. We were able to do that (Saturday) night (Saturday), this (Sunday) morning and (Sunday) afternoon and then met with Rich (Sunday) evening.”
Ellerson made $401,500 in 2013, according to USA Today and was the 106th highest paid of the 126 Football Bowl Subdivision coaches. When asked if West Point might invest more money into its head coach and coaching staff, Corrigan said, “I think what’s important is for our resources to be commensurate with our expectations and that’s what we need to do.”
The Times Herald-Record can confirm Jets special teams coach Ben Kotwica, who captained Army’s winningiest team in 1996, Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan, a West Point graduate and former Army assistant coach and Ohio State co-offensive coordinator/offensive line Ed Warinner, an Army assistant coach from 1987-99, as candidates for the opening.
Corrigan said Army’s next coach doesn’t necessarily have to be an West Point graduate, “I think what we are looking for is someone who has knowledge of the academies and understands what it means to be at an academy and understands the tolls of being at an academy and really understands what that is. Is that trying to eliminate people? Not necessarily. Again, we are not looking for 3, 5 or 7-year fix on this. We need someone as I said that can hit the ground running.”
Former Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe, who was an assistant coach under Fisher DeBerry at Air Force, and Georgia Southern coach Jeff Monken, who learned the triple option from Navy coach Paul Johnson, are names of potential candidates but they have not been confirmed.