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Ball State Coaching Changes, Love Returns

In the Bit-O-Good-News Department to close this Tuesday afternoon, Ball State has announced the hiring of an offensive line coach, as well as the return to the lockerroom of a very familiar face.

For the OLine coach, the position vacated by Pat Perles, the Cardinals and Stan Parrish turn to Jason Eck. From the release:

Eck spent the 2007 and 2008 seasons as the co-offensive coordinator, offensive line and tight ends coach at Winona State. He helped the team to a 10-2 overall record, the 2007 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Championship and the NCAA Division II Playoffs.

Eck tutored offensive tackle Nick Urban, who was named to the American Football Coaches Association All-America First Team in 2008. He also coached three all-conference first team selections in each of the last two seasons. Prior to his position at Winona State, Eck was an assistant coach at Idaho from 2004-06 under the tutelage of head coach Dennis Erickson.

Eck was the tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator in 2006 after coaching the offensive line in 2004 and 2005. In 2002 and 2003, he served as an offensive graduate assistant at Colorado for head coach Gary Barnett. He assisted with the offensive line and helped the team to the 2002 Big 12 North Championship.

From 1999-2001, Eck was an offensive graduate assistant coach at his alma mater for head coach Barry Alvarez.. He helped the Badgers to the 1999 Big Ten Championship and a second straight Rose Bowl title. Eck played offensive line for Wisconsin from 1995-98 and was a member of the 1998 Big Ten Championship Team, which defeated UCLA in the Rose Bowl and gave the Badgers 11 wins in a season for the first time in school history. Eck was the Athletic Board Scholar for football at Wisconsin and a Big Ten All-Academic choice in 1998. He earned a master’s from Wisconsin in 2001.

Also providing leadership next year to the next nest of Cardinals will be one Dante Love, he of electrifying performances over the last 4 years before his football career was cut short because of injury. Dante will be in a student assistant role while wrapping up coursework, and then he will be a GA for the Cardinals next spring. A full read up on the hire, including some quotes from Parrish, can be found here.

This is, of course, a tremendously good thing for not only the program, but also Dante Love. This entire situation could have ended up dozens of ways, and truthfully, this is on the good end of the spectrum. Welcome back, Eight-Six.

That Didn’t Take Long

After the mass exodus from Muncie that followed coach Brady Hoke’s departure, it was thought the staff was falling into place nicely for new head man Stan Parrish. He quietly went about building a staff that was long on talent and experience, and with the hiring of Daryl Dixon last week, it looked like the 09 staff was complete. That is until word broke out of Muncie on Thursday morning that newly hired Pat Perles was moving on after only a couple weeks on the job for a positional coaching assignment with the Kansas City Chiefs.

This says nothing about Perles personally or professionally, and outsiders shouldn’t make too much of this as an indictment of Parrish, the school, the community, or the program. The bottom line is that this is strictly a dollars and cents kind of move, as NFL position coaches make significantly more than MAC position coaches. Sad, but cash rules everything around me. Get the money. Dollar dollar bills, y’all.

Wu-Tang wisdom aside, I can still selfishly detest this move for Perles, especially given our lack of experience on the offensive line. Now the scramble begins again anew for a coach to take over the most important area of the offense for the 09 Cardinals. Clock’s ticking, Stan.

Ball State Shores Up Coaching Staff

Word has broken that Ball State has filled out its coaching staff with the hire of Daryl Dixon to coach the defensive backs. No official word yet from the BSU athletics department, but several independent sources have confirmed this hire. Ball State has that pesky policy of not announcing anything until every ounce of ink on every possible document is signed, sealed, and delivered, so it might be several days until this announcement is officially official, in the official sense of the word.

Dixon’s most recent stop was at Illinois, where he was a defensive graduate assistant. His bio from the Illini:

Former All-SEC defensive back and two-year NFL veteran Daryl Dixon joins the Illini coaching staff this season as the defensive graduate assistant. Dixon is not a newcomer to Illinois, as he served as an assistant strength and conditioning coach for football in 2006 and 2007.

While working under the direction of strength coach, Lou Hernandez, Dixon implemented both in-season and offseason workout programs. He desiged*** specialized speed workouts for many of the skill positions, while facilitating specific defensive back instruction. He also aided the defensive coaching staffs with opponent game film and scouting reports.

Prior to coming to Illinois, Dixon spent two years on the Indianapolis Colts roster in 2004 and 2005. Dixon was a three-year starter at safety for the University of Florida Gators and the team’s captain in 2003 as a senior. During that season, in which the team went to the 2004 Outback Bowl, Dixon was named second-team All-SEC. As a true-freshman in 1999, he earned Freshman All-America honors. Not only did Dixon excel on the field, but off it as well. He was a two-time Academic All-SEC honoree and won numerous leadership awards, such as the UF Alumni Association Leadership Award which selected him from the entire Florida student body.

Dixon graduated from the University of Florida in 2003 with a degree in sociology, while minoring in education

(*** Yes, that’s an actual typo in his biography. Kudos on the commitment to excellence, Illinois. – Ed.)

This hire will close the book on additions for the 2009 Coaching Staff, as head man Stan Parrish has compiled an impressive group of coaches with a wide variety of talent, experiences, and history. Dixon brings in a solid background in strength and conditioning, as well as vast knowledge of the defensive secondary, considering he was All-SEC and was a freshman All-American at the safety position.

Welcome, Coach. It isn’t 89,000 on a Gainesville afternoon, but at least you no longer have to go water skiing with your boss…

Coaching Changes Galore

Ball State has had a slew of announcements over the last several days regarding coaching changes and shifts in personnel. First and foremost is the hiring of Jay Hood for the defensive coaching staff who will focus on linebackers at BSU. Hood comes from fellow MAC member Miami where he served as the defensive coordinator and associate head coach last season in Oxford. Before the leap to the MAC, Hood kicked around at some smaller schools and junior colleges, but his rise to a MAC coordinator-ship was fairly quick.

It speaks volumes that so many of Parrish’s staff has significant experience through years of service, titles, or both. It is a staff comprised of individuals that apparently want to win and do so at BSU. A few have ties to BSU as well, so that’s always a plus.

Also announced was new strength and conditioning coach Mark Naylor. Naylor is replacing Aaron Wellman who took a similar job at San Diego State with Brady Hoke. Naylor has been in the weightroom for North Texas, the Baltimore Ravens, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and he served at BSU in a grad assistant role for the 04 and 05 seasons.

Losing Wellman, while expected by most in the know, still comes as a major blow to BSU’s football operations. In a fairly short amount of time, Wellman was able to build a strength program at BSU that was, by all accounts, extremely productive and effective. The foundation has been laid, and it is simply up to Naylor to continue building.

The good news is that the additions and shake ups to the staff are virtually done. Here’s what we’re looking at roaming the sidelines and press box for the Cardinals in 09:

Head Coach: Stan Parrish
Offensive: Eddie Faulkner (RBs as well)
Defensive: Doug Graber

Position Coaches:
Offensive Line: Pat Perles
Tight Ends: John Powers
Wide Recievers: Joey Lynch
Defensive Line: Phil Burnett
Linebackers: Jay Hood/Deion Melvin

Strength & Conditioning: Mark Naylor

I would assume that Parrish will continue to coach the QBs and Graber will most likely take an active role in coaching the secondary. All in all, a solid staff, with a nice mixture of youth, experience, and leadership. The pieces are in place for another solid year.

Ball State Adds More to Staff

Ball State released yesterday that they have promoted two coaches from within the program to fill vacancies on the staff left by the mass exodus to San Diego State on Brady Hoke’s departure. Coaches Faulkner and Powers are the new Offensive Coordinator and Recruiting Coordinator, respectively.

The link to the BSU release can be found hyah! In terms of official announcements on staff hires, here’s what we know…

Head Coach: Stan Parrish

Offensive Coordinator/Running Backs: Eddie Faulkner
Offensive Line: Pat Perles
Wide Receivers: Joey Lynch
Tight Ends/Recruiting Coordinator: John Powers

Defensive Coordinator/Assistant Head Coach: Doug Graber
Linebackers: Deion Melvin

Basically that leaves the secondary, defensive line, special teams, and strength and conditioning as posts without official word. There has been scuttlebutt and the usual internet rumor mongering about who will be staying/leaving/or changing responsibilities, but as of yet, all is quiet on the Cardinal front. And given the recent slew of bad news, no news is good news.

BSU Adds More Staffers

From Joe Hernandez, Associate AD at Ball State:

“Ball State first-year head coach Stan Parrish has announced the additions of Doug Graber, Deion Melvin and Pat Perles to the Ball State football coaching staff.

Graber, who was an assistant at Ball State on Dave McClain’s staff in 1976 and 1977, has been named assistant head coach and defensive coordinator. Melvin, who spent the last two seasons on the staff at Bowling Green, will coach the linebackers. Perles, the son of former Michigan State head coach George Perles, will coach the offensive line.

These three additions join Joey Lynch, who was named the school’s wide receivers coach last week, as the beginning of Parrish’s first coaching staff. Additional assistants will be announced as the information becomes available.”

Huzzah. We’ll have some thoughts and commentary about the 4 new additions tomorrow.

Hoke Confirms What Everyone Knew

Normally, coaches are fairly mum on the circumstances which necessitate their removal as an institution’s football leader. Sometimes it is by the University’s choice, and others, like in the case of Brady Hoke, it is the choice of the coach himself. Nearly a month after that choice was made, and Hoke has began the task of compiling a staff at San Diego State, he spoke with Doug Zaleski of the MSP last week. You can read the full article here.

What is surprising in this particular interview is that Hoke basically confirms that the assistants and their pay rate was the sticking point for his contract negotiations that eventually led to his resignation. Hoke said, “Taking care of guys who are doggone good people and work hard and do a great job of teaching life lessons to kids, that was a little bit of a sticking point. If I had an (issue), that would have been it.”

Hoke seems like a genuine guy, so I’ll take him at his word. However, I don’t think it’s a long stretch to think regardless of the offer made by BSU Hoke would have been tempted to leave. Though SDSU is a shitheap, the Mountain West Conference is markedly better on a national stage than the the MidAmerican Conference, and he would be recruiting in state that is rich beyond belief in prep talent.

Hoke did a good job at Ball State, and I’m sorry to see him leave. But he had a couple of decent years and one really good year. Let’s remember that he has a career sub-.500 record and zero conference titles. Not to mention that it’s easy to look smart when you have talent. We call that the Spurrier Effect around these parts.

One thing I do want to point out is Hoke’s closing comment in the article. Hoke said, “I can promise you I’ll always be looking on Sunday mornings or whenever so see how Ball State did. I’m proud to be a graduate of that school, proud to have been the head coach there, and I look forward to the guys there doing a tremendous job.”

Say Hello to Stan Parrish

At the very minimum, regardless of what people think of the quality of the hire, the waiting game is over. Athletic Director Tom Collins named current offensive coordinator Stan Parrish the new head coach at Ball State University yesterday, the 15th person to hold that position. Parrish, as most know, is replacing Brady Hoke, who bid Muncie adieu for San Diego State earlier this week.

[Ed. Note: Embedded video yanked because it annoyingly started on its on. You can access it here if you would like to]

All in all, a solid hire for the Cardinals and Collins, and really the only viable option. It has a good chance to retain recruits and players, and perhaps most importantly, a good number of the assistants. I’m sure some will go, but most will stay, and regardless of what happens, Stan has been around the game long enough to fill their spots with viable options.

My initial reactions seemed to be in line with everyone else’s during the Liveblog. I thought Coach Parrish seemed much more energetic and personable than I expected. He was humorous at times, cracking jokes and seeming off the cuff. He also seemed ridiculously human, realizing that his close friend had just left the program. What was overwhelmingly apparent was his focus and desire to get things back to normal as quickly as possible. His media skill needs some work (as does Nate Davis’s) but all things considered, I think Parrish passed his first test with flying colors.

Coach Parrish mentioned several times over that the deciding factor in his will-he-or-won’t-he couple of days was the players themselves. He seems genuinely connected to the team and the University, and I’m of the opinion, at least for now, that Stan Parrish is the guy to not only continue the current success, but to build on it, both physically in terms of facilities, but metaphorically in the mindset of the coaches, players, fans, and administration.

So, at the end of what could have been one of the worst weeks ever for Cardinal athletics, we’re sitting pretty good. Welcome, Coach Parrish… don’t make us hate you.

If you’d like to say a few words for Coach P, feel free to in the comments section. We’ll be chatting with him after the Bowl Game. So make him feel welcome.

BSU Press Conference Scheduled, Liveblog Ensues

Comedy and humor aside, an actual press conference will take place today at 5:30 in the Alumni Center to, according to the release, “discuss the future of the Ball State football program”.

Folks should be able to watch the presser live from BallStateSports.com, or they can follow along with the usual cast of characters here in a Liveblog! Because announcements like this deserve a Liveblog of the Livebloggiest order.

(Ed. Note: We’re still holding out hope for RV or Knute Rockne’s corpse.)

Get it on!

Tom Collins Has a Message For Us All

Scene: Muncie, IN. LA Pittenger Student Center, Cardinal Hall. Low lighting, one podium, invited members of the media seated in anticipation of the announcement. Ball State Athletic Director Tom Collins walks to the microphone and begins to speak…

Tom Collins: Welcome, everyone! Invited guests, members of the media, distinguished alumni. I’m here because of the growing concern that somehow I am not in complete control of this search for a new head coach for our Cardinals. I am. Because I’m a talented Athletic Director and in complete control. To that end, and to focus more on the search at hand and interviewing some of the thousands of people who have expressed interest in this elite opportunity, I have named a Ball State Information Minister to address all of your concerns. He will be your primary contact. Please welcome, Bob!

Ball State Bob: Hello everyone. I am pleased to be in the service of Tom Collins, and Jo Ann Gora, two exceptional leaders, two beautiful people. Two people who know how to run a search, hire a coach, and lead Ball State athletics into the future. I will now field questions…

Media: Bob, how do you respond to reports about Stan Parrish already being offered the job?

Ball State Bob: By God, I think this is rather very unlikely. This is merely a prattle. Mr. Stan Parrish is good man. But Mr. Tom Collins field hundreds of calls per hour about job of coaching the university of Ball State Cardinals. Mr. Tom Collins good man. Mr. Tom Collins is smart man.

Media: But these were reports were verified by ESPN… the WorldWide Leader in Sports!

BallStateBob: Just look carefully, I only want you to look carefully. Do not repeat the lies of liars. Do not become like them. Mr. Tom Collins is the benchmark of integrity and honor. Mr. Tom Collins got degree. He has paper to prove it! Mr. Tom Collins is good man.

Media: Uh… ok. So back to this team… Can you comment on Ball State’s preparation for the GMAC Bowl in Mobile? How does the team expect to win with all this turmoil?

BallStateBob: Tulsa will be burnt. We are going to tackle them. Mr. Tom Collins told team failure is not an option. Everything is going well in preparation for the infidels from Tulsa. Death to Tulsa. Mr. Tom Collins good man. Mr. Tom Collins smart man, good lover. Mr. Tom Collins best leader of university of Ball State ever.

Media: Uh… That’s a bit extreme on the whole burning thing.

BallStateBob: Extreme times call for extreme measures. All is well in the land of Ball State football. The coaching search is progressing nicely. Do not believe those liars and infidels from ESPN. Mr. Tom Collins had to buy four new phones for the calls he is receiving. Lane Kiffin called, and said he wasn’t good enough but wanted us to know good luck. Mr. Kiffin good man.

Media: Can you speak about the level of interest you’ve received for the head coach position other than Lane Kiffin?

BallStateBob: Mr. Tom Collins has fielded thousands of calls about the job. Pete Carrol called this morning. Vince Lombardi called as well. We cannot tell you how good this job is progressing. This is the best job in all of college football with the finest administrative support. Mr. Tom Collins gives all his staff what they need to be winners. And backrubs. Lots of backrubs.

Media: How have the current assistants responded to the lack of a new head coach or the lack of naming an interim coach?

BallStateBob: Everything is going well. This was the plan all along. There is no such thing as assistant coaches who are unhappy. All are happy and satisfied under the direction of Mr. Tom Collins and Jo Ann Gora. This is exactly the plan outlined when that traitor and infidel Brady Hoke left this team.

Media: Did you just call Brady Hoke an infidel?

BallStateBob: Brady Hoke is infidel. Mr. Tom Collins true patriot. Mr. Tom Collins smell good and have great personal hygiene. Mr. Tom Collins never show up to work late. Mr. Tom Collins almost as good as Jo Ann Gora, who is great university of Ball State president. She is a woman, though, and as such…

Tom Collins (interrupting): Ok… I think that’s enough for this morning, but I welcome you all to contact the athletic office with any questions or media requests. Bob here brings a welcome voice of truth and honesty to the department. I would also like to thank one individual who has brought extreme notoriety and press to this Cardinals team. He trumpets them on a national stage and is committed to use his audience to further our name. Ladies and gentleman…

(Large crashing sound, bricks and rubble fly across the room)

Tom Collins: God damn it, Whitlock. Can’t you just use the front door like everyone else?