I’m writing more about this topic in Monday’s paper, but it’s already quite evident Cal Poly head football coach Rich Ellerson’s emotional postgame comments after the fourth-quarter letdown against North Dakota State tonight raised eyebrows everywhere from SLO to Fargo.
“I let (my players) down,” Ellerson said minutes after the 31-28 loss. “That’s on me. They should fire me.”The game’s only a few hours old and Ellerson’s “fire me” comment has already been published on Web sites by The Tribune, Lompoc Record and The Forum in Fargo, N.D., where the North Dakota State Bison took a step closer to the Great West Football Conference crown and remained unbeaten after overcoming a 19-point deficit in the fourth quarter.
Ellerson apparently echoed similar comments during a postgame interview with ESPN 1280 AM, which I’m sure added to the disbelief of Cal Poly fans as they drove home after another Homecoming collapse.
While the comments were surprising, it was evident Ellerson was trying the shoulder the load of the loss and did not want the debacle being blamed on his assistants, an interception in the red zone, a blown assignment in the secondary or a missed field goal early in the game.
Because I’m a beat reporter, and not a columnist, I try to refrain from injecting my opinion on these types of topics (which has been the challenge of trying to publish and interesting blog), but I will reiterate what I wrote in my game story for Sunday’s paper.
It’s doubtful Ellerson would find himself on the hot seat any time soon after leading Cal Poly (6-4, 2-2) to its fifth straight winning season -- not to mention the fact that he’s under contract through at least the 2013 season.
This is Cal Poly football we’re talking about, not New York Yankees baseball.
After enduring three straight 3-8 seasons, Cal Poly fans and message board honks should keep in mind that the Mustangs have enjoyed winning campaigns in six of Ellerson’s seven seasons. The Mustangs went to the playoffs in 2005 for the first time and were one win – make that one quarter – away from a possible playoff bid the next two seasons. Two bad quarters against the Dakotas shouldn’t override 47 wins in the Mustangs’ other 76 games under Ellerson.
Flipping through the Mustangs media guide, Cal Poly hasn’t strung together five straight winning seasons since Joe Harper put together 13 straight dating from 1968-80.
Ellerson also has a .603 winning percentage in his seven seasons. Only three of Cal Poly’s 15 head football coaches have done better – Howie O’Daniels (.621), Roy Hughes (.662), Joe Harper (.685).
What are your thoughts on Ellerson's "fire me" comment?
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