[Masthead] Overcast ~ 55°F  
High: 60°F ~ Low: 50°F
Monday, May 2, 2016

Eilers resigns as MHS grid coach

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

After two years on the job and less than two months after being given a contract extension, Marshall head football coach Jay Eilers has resigned.

Eilers turned in his letter of resignation Friday afternoon, according to MHS athletic director Caleb Crawford.

Eilers said the surprise decision was due to "another opportunity that wasn't planned for to go back to the collegiate level and coach football there." He accepted the position of offensive line coach at Angelo State University, an NCAA Division II program in San Angelo, Texas, a job similar to the one he left at Missouri Western State to take over the Owls.

Eilers leaves with "regret for not doing a better job" in Marshall.

"I was excited to be here," he said. "I just wish I could have done a better job of getting young people to participate in the program and have a better record."

The Owls posted their fourth straight 3-7 record in 2010, Eilers' first season, but were 0-10 last year -- the first winless season for the 94-year-old program since going 0-7 in 1943.

Eilers believes the experience at Marshall "will make me a better coach."

The Marshall School Board added to Eilers' duties by naming him an assistant track and field coach three days before he stepped down.

Crawford said "we'll try to get somebody suitable in here as soon as we can," and expects to have a candidate for the Board's approval at its next regular meeting June 26.

In the meantime, Eilers' staff will pick up some of the slack for the summer program until a new head coach is hired, Crawford said.

Eilers was Marshall's third head coach since the retirement of Missouri Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame member Cecil Naylor after the 1995 season -- following Roger Bell (1995-99) and Paul Thomas (2000-09).

Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. If you feel that a comment is offensive, please Login or Create an account first, and then you will be able to flag a comment as objectionable. Please also note that those who post comments on marshallnews.com may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.

I don't think you would be censored for stating who, in your opinion was the last great football player in Marshall, nor who was in your opinion, the last great coach. it would be to me, interesting stuff.

I believe that the quality of the players is what brings success. Barry Switzer, love him, or hate him was a great coach. He said, "It never changes. Football is a game of repetition, mental and physical. You may try to articulate it a little different, but it's the same thing: Get better players, make fewer mistakes, and drill the fundamentals into your players' heads. The rest of it is a joke. Teams aren't winning because of what they had for breakfast or what some coach said in the locker room."

-- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Sat, Jun 9, 2012, at 2:14 PM

You're moving the proverbial goalposts OK Reader..

Marshall's had some good football teams since the good ole' days but legitimate D-1 prospects, no.

Not having a D-1 prospect doesn't mean you can't have a good team in a given year.

I would give you my opinon on who the last one was or might be but apparently mentioning names here is not tolerated.

-- Posted by Reader101 on Sat, Jun 9, 2012, at 3:04 AM

Reader101 as I stated, I haven't followed the Owls football program for many years. Are you telling me that there have been no good teams in Marshall since the Quint days? Are you inferring that in all those years since then, there have been no good teams with no superior athletes?

If that is the case there may be something wrong, some aberration, that hasn't been addressed in this thread.

Is there someone else who has followed the program that can cite good years, and good athletes who were potential Division One candidates? It is sad, and hard to believe that there are not ever any D-1 athletes in the conference, not even at Helias, not Hannibal? I guess football has truly shriveled in Central Missouri.

-- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Wed, Jun 6, 2012, at 1:21 AM

Heinzler, Quint, et al..?

I believe that's a lot longer than the every 10-15 years you mentioned.

That's a different era..different sports culture than what kids experience or want to experience now.

That type of culture hasn't been nurtured in Marshall for many moons and it takes that to get the numbers in the program to manufacture such athletes.

Any coaching hire will take at least 5-7 years to get the foundation built..Unfortunately the short attention span culture of the new era isn't patient enough for that.

-- Posted by Reader101 on Tue, Jun 5, 2012, at 11:05 PM

...and reader101 when one considers the coaching carousel in which Marshall has been involved in recent years, that is what really evokes thoughts of a lottery; a lot of buying, and scratching, but no winner. ;)

-- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Tue, Jun 5, 2012, at 9:56 AM

J. Kalthoff, D. Abney, J. Tobin, Mason, Heinzler, Quint, for starters, and I haven't even followed the Owls for years. They were D-1 talents; not all were successful at D-1, injuries, and other things caught them, but they were D-1 talents in high school, and drew the attention of D-1 programs. Note that the Owls were very successful during the tenures of those players.

Watch what happens when you get one like that, especially when surrounded by a few other above average players, Quint & Co. come to mind, you know what happened then.

Cecil, God rest his soul, wouldn't have had the reputation he has without them.

Do you remember a few years ago when Northwest (Houstonia/Hughesville) had one big guy that went to M.U.? They were on the map! Have you heard anything about them since? Where is the Coach that led them to their success?

-- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Tue, Jun 5, 2012, at 1:24 AM

To Oklahoma Reader..

When's the last time Marshall had a bonafide D-1 football talent? Or any team in the current NCMC for that matter?

If you're waiting for one kid to lead the way you might as well play the lottery..your chances are better.

It takes a grassroots effort to build a program not the whims of genetics and pixie dust.

-- Posted by Reader101 on Tue, Jun 5, 2012, at 12:55 AM

We need a coach.

Any takers?

-- Posted by Tigers/Owls4Life96 on Sat, Jun 2, 2012, at 8:45 PM

That's twice my post has been deleted and still no one gives an explanation..

I'm considering the source.

-- Posted by Reader101 on Sat, Jun 2, 2012, at 1:18 PM
Response by Eric Crump/Editor:
The comment lobbies for a specific individual to be hired to a coaching job. I have no idea whether that person is interested in the job or whether your public lobbying will help or hurt the person's chances to obtain the position or whether the person approves of being named in this way. In the past, such lobbying has led to debate over a person's qualifications that was clearly unfair to the individual and inappropriate for a public venue.

Also, re-posting a comment that has been deleted without revising it is rarely a successful tactic.

Lost in this discussion is the importance of having that standout skill player, usually a running back/defensive back, with D-1 ability. They come along about once in every ten to fifteen years. I am talking about the sort of kid that is unstoppable, that can put a team on his back, and carry it to a number of victories despite a lack of team strength, and numbers.

The next one that pops up will be the pied piper that brings kids back to a program, the one that inspires team mates and gives them the hope that they have a chance in any game.

That would turn a moribund program around, sooner (love that word) than getting a good coach. Sometimes we forget, or fail to recognize that it is all about the kids, sometimes in ways we hadn't considered. ;)

-- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Thu, May 31, 2012, at 2:18 PM

I agree, Interested Too. Many other sports and activities are booming with success. As time goes on, it seems apparent that life at the high school does not revolve around football. How about the community support students in all extracurricular endeavors?

-- Posted by JClover on Wed, May 30, 2012, at 7:42 PM

mu I believe the deadline applies to transfers, meaning from one building to another. Coaching is an "extra duty" and would not be subject to that deadline if the applicant were only adding the coaching postition and not both the teaching and coaching. It is also applicable only to positions open before that deadline. If it opens after then I believe transfers are still allowed.

This is however a moot point since I doubt many within the district would apply for the job seeing how coaches have been treated by the community.

Gate, I believe the reason for not allowing administrators to coach would be very obvious. If a parent, player, or community member has a problem with a coach, to whom would they file a complaint if the coach is also an administrator?

-- Posted by inthemiddle on Wed, May 30, 2012, at 4:49 PM

This hire needs to be a Marshall person who is willing to stick it and simply be happy coaching Marshall football. Like a Varner with the basketball team or a Verts with the baseball tean. When did Marshall High School athletics turn into the Chiefs or Royals? Just have coaches that are enthusastic about their sport and this town and who will not quit on either. Then the players will come and play and the players will decide how succesful Marshall High School is. I say look local, find someone at the high school willing to take the ball and run with it, or someone from here and bring them home.

-- Posted by oldschool17 on Wed, May 30, 2012, at 3:27 PM

A football coach ONLY, is not a good option when the school district is moaning about the lack of funds and we have had turnover in quite a few positions lately.

Clearly, there is something amiss in Marshall's Public Schools; nothing criminal or jaded, but somehow energy and committment seem on the wane.

If the kids don't want to play football, then let's encourage them in some other venue. FFA is growing by leaps and bounds and the baseball team is successful. Marshall tennis is always top notch. Maybe we just are not a football community. If the kids aren't playing in middle school and other organized programs, the head coach will find that the kids who decide to play later have a steeper learning curve.

Anyway, I wish the program the best, but let's not treat it differently than any other program at the high school level. See where the students' interests lie and move the programs in that direction.

-- Posted by Interested Too on Wed, May 30, 2012, at 1:54 PM

Talking about bad rules or policy. I recall reading there is a March 15 deadline on transfers in the district. That only prevents in-house qualified candidates from taking this job.

-- Posted by mu-grad on Tue, May 29, 2012, at 7:57 PM

That has my vote.

-- Posted by Tigers/Owls4Life96 on Tue, May 29, 2012, at 7:23 PM

Why don't they just look at some of the administrators. They would make awesome coaches and the kids already respect them. Some of the best coaches are administrators and for some reason Marshall has a rule stating they can't coach. If I am not mistaken this is also an unwritten rule. Let them at least have the option of coaching if they want.

-- Posted by gate9971 on Tue, May 29, 2012, at 6:29 PM

I'm all for teacher/coaches. It's best when the coach knows the student-athletes on and off the field.

Marshall's pay for head coaches has been well below the average for many years.

-- Posted by raysfan on Tue, May 29, 2012, at 5:10 PM

After some quick searching. Head Football Coach salary for Marshall and schools they compete against. Marshall $4768

Nixa $7069

Bolivar $5562

-- Posted by mu-grad on Tue, May 29, 2012, at 4:48 PM

Tiger, in the perfect world your suggestion would be ideal, but this is not the perfect world; we can't afford a full-time coach without teaching duties. Anyone hired would have to be part time, whether with the school district or another local employer, which still would not enable a person to give the attention you want, to a program.

If you hired a full time coach for football, what about baseball, soccer, tennis, volleyball, etc.? The economics and logistics are not practical in rural Marshall. If hot water is considered a luxury (heard that from an anti-bond issue person), then a full time coach without teaching responsibilities is out of the question.

-- Posted by inthemiddle on Tue, May 29, 2012, at 4:19 PM

You can always find "someone" to coach. But getting a quality person is a bit more difficult. Plus check out the pay for coaches. Not as luxurious as you might think.

-- Posted by mu-grad on Tue, May 29, 2012, at 4:07 PM

I'd be interested to know what those issues were from hiring elsewhere. Advertise, and hire the best candidate, no matter their employment status in the school district.

Not only does combining the jobs hurt the athletes, but it also hurts them as students as well. The way it is set up the district is forced to plug in coaches into teaching positions that they may not be good at, and the other way around as well.

Find the best football coach that you can, one committed to growing a program despite his credentials of being able to teach"___________ (insert subject here)".

I think you would be surprised. Heck, I am sure you can find someone to do it for the already approved stipend that is going to be paid anyways.

-- Posted by Tigers/Owls4Life96 on Tue, May 29, 2012, at 2:52 PM

The Pied Piper would be an excellent choice, however we would not want him to lead our children out of town as the fable suggests, but to lead others to it. Increase the numbers. I like it.

-- Posted by Tigers/Owls4Life96 on Tue, May 29, 2012, at 2:46 PM

A list of potential candidates in descending order:

1. The Pied Piper

2. The ghost of Cecil Naylor

3. Wayne O'Neal

4. The most successful class one coach in central Missouri

5. The second most successful class one coach in central Missouri

6. The tri-coach approach; one African American, one Hispanic, and one White

Probably this time around it will be a matter of just settling for the candidate with the best credentials who applies, which may not be that strong a candidate. Another year, or two like recent ones, and potentially good coaches may consider the job a coaching grave yard.

-- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Tue, May 29, 2012, at 2:34 PM

Full time coach? District can't afford to pay someone thousands of dollars to do nothing except coach. Not many public schools in Missouri can afford that. In some of the sports they have hired people who were employed elsewhere as coaches. If I remember correctly there were some issues with that.

-- Posted by inthemiddle on Tue, May 29, 2012, at 12:39 PM

This is a shame for MHS but I bet it was frustrating for a coach to try to win ballgames with so few students committed to giving a fair accounting of themselves. If you don't have numbers, then you can't win games and I am not talking about points on the board. What a travesty it is when kids only want to "hang out" and not participate in anything that will take up their time. Are the kids just too lazy today or is it just that they don't care about themselves?

What happened to school pride and accomplishment? I congratulate those students who gave their time and effort even if they weren't succesful. At least they tried!!!

-- Posted by Tontonnii on Tue, May 29, 2012, at 11:59 AM

I would love to see the district move away from attaching coaching jobs to teaching jobs. Maybe that would help finding someone completely committed to their sport, and allow them time to spend building the program.

As for the departure, it sucks. Eilers was extremely passionate and wanted it more than anyone I know, that could have also been his demise too, as kids dont seem to be as committed these days, with so many other interests that they have. Sports in a 3A school isn't built in one sport athletes. We need as many athletes as possible to come out and play a part. Hopefully numbers can improve, maybe change can help with that. Who knows?

-- Posted by Tigers/Owls4Life96 on Tue, May 29, 2012, at 11:43 AM

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: