Tape of a situation involving ex-coach Ron English using "wholly
inappropriate language" with his team was another factor behind Eastern
Michigan's decision to make a coaching change one day before the Eagles
were set to play rival Western Michigan, the university said in a
"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," athletic director Heather Lyke said, adding that English's
comments are "absolutely unacceptable."
English expressed regret in an interview with The Associated Press.
"As a man who has coached 21 years, obviously, on this occasion and
particular meeting, I lost my poise, got upset and used language that
was inappropriate, particularly as it pertains to homosexual slurs. I
regret that," English told the AP in a telephone interview on Saturday.
"I apologize to the university for putting it in this position and
tarnishing its reputation. I look forward to continuing a career that
has been marked by molding men of integrity, passion, and intensity for
The tape contributed to the school's decision to fire
English nine games into his fifth season with the program. English, the
former defensive coordinator at Michigan, was 11-46 overall and 7-30 in
Mid-American Conference play. EMU finished 2-10 in three of English's
four seasons, though the Eagles went 6-6 in 2011, netting English the
MAC Coach of the Year Award.
"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," Lyke said.
"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."
In announcing the school's decision Friday, Lyke said "a change in the leadership of our football team is necessary."
coordinator Stan Parrish, the former coach at Kansas State and Ball
State, will serve as EMU's interim coach for the remainder of this
season. Lyke said a national search for permanent successor is underway.
The Detroit News posted an audio clip Saturday with the offending language. The News writes that in addition to profanity, "it also sounds like English used a derogatory word for gay."