Rumor has it…
Over the last month, most rumors about the new EMU football offensive coordinator have included one of two names: Stan Parrish and Erik Campbell. Each makes sense in a certain way, but each also presents some problems.
The more familiar name for most EMU fans is Stan Parrish. After playing defensive back at Heidelberg College in the 1960s, Parrish began his coaching career in 1969 at Wyndham High School, near Akron, Ohio. Notable stops on his 43-year coaching career include Marshall (in 1984 he coached them to their first winning season in more than two decades), Kansas State (from 1986 to 1988, they went 2-30-1), Michigan (1996-2001, including the 1997 national championship season; offensive coordinator his last two years), Tampa Bay (quarterbacks coach during their 2002 Super Bowl championship season), and Ball State (successful as Brady Hoke’s offensive coordinator, but unsuccessful as head coach). Parrish was most recently spotted in 2011 working as a volunteer quarterbacks coach for Siena Heights. (Yes, the same Siena Heights.)
Why Parrish makes sense
There’s the Lloyd Carr-Michigan connection. I’m tired of it, and I think EMU would be better off without it, but it’s a fact. Parrish did coach for Carr. He’s got six years of experience as an offensive coordinator, 13 years as a head coach, a college football national championship, and a Super Bowl championship on his resume. It would be a big step up from quarterbacks coach at Siena Heights to offensive coordinator at EMU.
Why Parrish doesn’t make sense
He’s 66. After being fired from Ball State — his second failure as a head coach — he was working as a volunteer quarterbacks coach at Siena Heights, which specifically carried no recruiting duties. Parrish might not have any desire to return to Division I coaching, and after a more than 40-year coaching career, he might consider himself retired. Would Parrish really want to return to the craziness of a full-time Division I coaching job, with the long hours and travel that entails?
Erik Campbell is probably less familiar to Ypsilantians. Campbell played at Michigan for Bo Schembechler in the mid-1980s. His freshman year he played safety, as sophomore he moved to wide receiver (also returning punts), and for his junior and senior years he returned to the secondary. Campbell began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Michigan in 1988 before moving on as a running backs coach at Navy, Ball State, and then Syracuse. In 1995 he returned to Michigan, where he coached wide receivers and punt returners, and served as assistant head coach from 2003 through 2007, when incoming head coach Rich Rodriguez fired all the assistants. Campbell was quickly hired as wide receivers coach at Iowa. A year ago, after Ken O’Keefe was fired as Iowa’s offensive coordinator after 12 seasons, amidst complaints about his predictable play-calling (see, it happens elsewhere too!), Campbell was rumored to be under consideration for the job, but instead they hired the very-experienced Greg Davis,1 and he remained Iowa’s wide receivers coach until a few days ago.
Why Campbell makes sense
Campbell is 46, and he wants to move up in the coaching ranks. He was in the mix for the job a year ago at Iowa, but was passed over in favor of the vastly more experienced Greg Davis. If he’s going to become an offensive coordinator any time soon, he may need to go to a smaller program. Also, not only is he a Michigan man who has the Lloyd Carr connection, he was actually on staff in Ann Arbor at the same time as Ron English.
Why Campbell doesn’t make sense
Money. In 2012, his salary as Iowa’s wide receivers coach was just over $250,000. Ken Karcher made about half that ($120,000 in 2010), and Phil Snow — by far the highest-paid MAC assistant coach — makes about $212,000. Campbell would certainly have to take a pay cut to come to EMU, probably a significant one. Given that he has no prior OC experience, I can’t imagine that EMU would offer more than $120,000, and he’d probably be closer to $100,000. Would he take that kind of pay cut, particularly given…
Pressure. 2013 is the fifth year of Ron English’s five-year contract at EMU. The university has invested heavily in the football program over the last few years, both in terms of money (e.g., The Bubble) and political capital. If the team doesn’t produce wins in 2013, Ron English will be gone, and all his assistants with him. Would Campbell be willing to take a 50%+ pay cut for a possible one-and-done situation?
We’ll know soon
Word has reached us that the football team has been called in for a team meeting this Sunday evening. Rumors had previously suggested that the new offensive coordinator was selected a few weeks ago and would be introduced shortly after the first of the year. I can put one and one together just as well as the next guy. In all likelihood, the new offensive coordinator will be introduced to the team this Sunday night, and announced publicly later Sunday night or some time Monday.
Personally, I find both of these men somewhat less than thrilling. Although the name would be new, and the play-calling might be somewhat improved, either one would probably represent a continuation of the same uninspiring style of offense we’ve seen the last four years, the style of offense for which Lloyd Carr’s later Michigan teams were rightly criticized. This is an offense that got Carr pushed out at Michigan, and Ron English seems determined to follow the same path at EMU.
- Greg Davis was an unsuccessful head coach at Tulane for four years, followed by two decades as offensive coordinator, first at Arkansas, then Georgia, then North Carolina, and then a dozen years at Texas. [↩]