New EMU Head Coach Looks To Winning Season
By Lana Sache
All that you need to know about the Eastern Michigan University football program is that it has never had a head coach who has had more wins than losses during his overall tenure in Ypsilanti, Mich.
Eastern Michigan has also never hired a head coach who had previous head coaching experience dating back to Jim Harkema, who was hired in 1983 and brought EMU its only Mid-American Conference championship in 1987. The 2014 season will bring light to another new head coach at Eastern Michigan with winning credentials in Chris Creighton.
Creighton comes to Michigan from Drake University, where he earned six conferences titles and went 42-22 over his six seasons there. With the highest winning percentage in Drake history at 66.7 percent, Creighton's statistics are what Eagles fans have only ever dreamed of in recent memory. Prior to coaching Drake, Creighton served on staff at Ottawa University, giving Creighton 17 straight winning seasons to date.
Eastern Michigan has not had a single winning season in years.
Joining Creighton for the Eagles is an entirely new coaching staff with one goal in mind: “Proven winners.”
It seems like they found both in Creighton and his new set of assistant coaches.
Eagles athletics director Heather Lyke made note of their goals to win right away.
"During the search process," Lyke said, "Chris' focus on positively impacting the lives of our student-athletes and building a championship program was most impressive. As a proven winner and head coach, Chris' experience with creating and sustaining success will inspire our student-athletes to elevate our football program to a championship level."
In the months since Creighton's hiring, he has noted the winning staff that he has selected.
"(New assistant) coach Keen is a fantastic fit on our coaching staff and for our football program," said Creighton. "He is a proven winner and leader. He has experience coordinating special teams and is an excellent offensive mind. He will make us better both on and off the field.
"Coach Stubblefield was one of the greatest wide receivers to play college football," he added. "He is now an experienced coach and has a passion for making players better on and off the field. He is going to be a main factor in taking our program to the next level."
The Eagles also have a new director of sports performance in Ron McKeefery. With performance, come wins, Creighton pointed out.
"I had the honor of coaching Ron in his senior year of college and watched him lead a team from 1-8 to 9-1," Creighton said. "He was special then and he is special now. He is an expert at his craft, but what separates him from so many are his intangibles.
All of this optimism about winning this season at EMU may set up the Eagles for embarrassment if they do not turn things around. The talk has already begun around Detroit. If the kids in Ypsilanti are being honest though, any talk about winning expectations is better than the ugly truth that Eastern Michigan has become accustomed to. After all, anything is better than another losing season.