Less than a week after a 55-16 loss to Toledo dropped the Eagles to 1-8, Eastern Michigan has fired head coach Ron English, the school announced on Friday. The news was first reported by the Detroit Free Press.
According to a statement from athletic director Heather Lyke released on Saturday, Eastern Michigan's decision to fire English came after a video emerged in which he used "wholly inappropriate language" while addressing the team. Lyke's statement was obtained by Brandon Folsom of MLive.com.
"I received a tape of a situation in which Coach English had addressed the team and used wholly inappropriate language. We hold our coaches and staff to high standards of professionalism and conduct and there is no place, particularly in a student environment, where this language is appropriate. These statement made by Coach English are absolutely unacceptable. My decision to make a change in leadership of our football program was the culmination of a lot of factors including the comprehensive review of our program, the competitive performance and this tape. Our primary interest is in the well being and success of our student-athletes and this will continue to be our priority in every decision we make and every action we take. My focus moving forward is on the quality of our student-athletes' experience as well as the search process for the next leader of our football program."
Lyke did not offer specifics into the exact language English used.
On Friday, Lyke announced English's dismissal in a less-detailed statement.
"At this time, I have decided that a change in the leadership of our football team is necessary," said Lyke. "Eastern Michigan University's commitment to our student-athletes remain of the utmost importance as we move forward with the rest of this season and in selecting the new leader of our program."
University president Susan Martin praised the program's student-athletes amid a difficult season and asked fans to continue to support the team.
"We are incredibly proud of our student-athletes and we will continue to do everything we can to support their success in the classroom and on the field," Martin added. "This has been an extraordinarily challenging year for our football student-athletes and they have continued to represent Eastern with pride and professionalism. At this time of transition, it is important that Eastern Michigan fans and alumni everywhere continue to show their support for our student-athletes. Your involvement is part of the foundation from which we will create a stronger program in the future."
The Eagles entered the weekend 0-5 in MAC play and in last place in the conference's West Division. Eastern Michigan has failed to establish any sort of success on either side of the ball, ranking 111th nationally in scoring offense (19.3 points per game) and 122nd in scoring defense (45.6 points per game).