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Army fires former UH coach, player Ellerson after 5 years

  • APArmy head coach Rich Ellerson puts his hand on his head after Navy scored a touchdown during an NCAA college football game
    AP
    Army head coach Rich Ellerson puts his hand on his head after Navy scored a touchdown during an NCAA college football game

Army fired coach Rich Ellerson on Sunday after five seasons at West Point and no victories against Navy.

Army athletic director Boo Corrigan said in a statement released by the school that Ellerson was notified that he would not be retained about 24 hours after the Black Knights (3-9) finished the season with a 34-7 loss to Navy.

“Rich Ellerson has represented West Point and the Army football program extremely well since taking over as our head coach five years ago,” Corrigan said.

“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 the leadership at this time.”

The 60-year-old Ellerson, a former University of Hawaii player, graduate assistant, and defensive and special teams coach,  went 20-41 at the U.S. Military Academy and couldn’t snap the Black Knights’ losing streak against their most important rival. The Midshipmen have won 12 straight in the series, the longest streak by either side. Army seemed to be closing the gap on its most important rival when it lost in 2011 and ’12 by a total of nine points. On Saturday in the snow in Philadelphia, Navy dominated again and it was clear Ellerson was in trouble.

He came to West Point, N.Y., after eight seasons at Cal Poly and brought the triple-option offense back to Army. The Cadets went 7-6 in his second season, their first winning season since 1996, and it included Army’s first bowl victory since 1985. But the last three years, Army went 8-28.

The triple-option wasn’t the problem. Ellerson’s offense averaged more than 300 yards rushing the past three seasons, but the rest of the team never developed. He had two years left on his contract.

Corrigan said deputy athletic director Col. Joe DeAntona will assume day-to-day operations of the football program until a new coach is hired.

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