Chris Creighton led FCS-level Drake
to Pioneer League titles in 2011 and 2012. (Charlie Neibergall/AP)
This coaching carousel season has felt a bit different than most so far, with many teams having ample time to prepare for their hire. UConn, USC, FAU, Miami (OH) and Eastern Michigan all moved on from their past coaches mid-season, allowing the athletic directors to watch other coaches more closely. The Trojans (and RedHawks for that matter) made their move quickly. UConn and Eastern Michigan waited a bit, but the search is over for the Eagles. The school announced its hiring of Drake coach Chris Creighton on Wednesday evening.
The 44-year-old Creighton had been with Drake, a Pioneer League school in Iowa, since the 2008 season where he compiled a 42-22 record. Before that he had stops at Wabash College in Indiana (63-15) and Ottawa University in Kansas (32-9).
From the official Eastern Michigan release:
"During the search process, Chris' focus on positively impacting the lives of our student-athletes and building a championship program was most impressive," [director of intercollegiate athletics Heather Lyke said.] "As a proven winner and head coach, Chris' experience with creating and sustaining success will inspire our student-athletes to elevate our football program to a championship level."
Creighton replaces Ron English, who was fired Nov. 8 partly as a result of a recorded locker room rant that was released after the fact. English, a former Michigan and Louisville defensive coordinator, was 11-46 at Eastern Michigan. That EMU chose to look outside the power conferences for an established coach at the lower levels after the experience with English makes some sense.
The Eagles are low in the pecking order even in the MAC and need a guy who understands and can work within the constraints of the job. In his time at the NAIA, Division III and FCS levels, Creighton has worked with reduced budgets and unfortunate realities, and the Eagles are likely hoping his consistent success across each of the levels will translate to Eastern Michigan.