|« Savannah State Joins Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference||YSU Staff Know What’s Expected - Wins »|
Familiar Face Returning To Spoo's Staff At EIU
The familiar name is on the door, and Brian Callahan, who looks similar, just about two decades older than his Eastern Illinois football playing days, is his old polite self.
While giving his polite no comment until a contract is finalized, Callahan appears set as the Panthers’ new offensive line coach.
An honorable-mention All-Gateway Conference offensive guard for Eastern in 1991 and then restricted earnings coach the year after his playing career was completed, Callahan has now returned to coach Bob Spoo’s program after several jobs at the Football Bowl Subdivision level.
The past six years Callahan has been the offensive line coach at Akron where head coach J.D. Brookhart was fired after a 3-9 season.
Callahan has also been an assistant coach at Texas-El Paso, Northern Michigan and Pittsburgh.
Sometime after the welcome back handshake with Callahan in his new office, the sick feeling came walking out of that offensive line coach’s office.
Sadly, Eastern has the vacancy because of the death of former assistant Jeff Hoover, who died in an auto accident coming back from the Panthers’ Football Championship Subdivision first-round playoff loss at Southern Illinois.
Nothing can be said here to fix that.
On the good note, strength and conditioning coach Eric Cash was also in that auto, survived and is back at work preparing for next season.
“I can’t even begin to say what a difference he has made,” EIU defensive coordinator Roc Bellantoni said. “I know we say it every year but we’ve never had a better off-season. Coach Spoo has said it before – we thought we were working them hard before but we didn’t know what hard work was until Eric came here. I think our guys will be mentally tougher. I know they’re bigger, stronger and faster.”
Eastern’s spring practice is to begin March 29.
Regardless of the Panthers’ preparation, they won’t be playing at Chattanooga, Tenn., for a national championship in December.
That is because the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision title game has been moved to Frisco, Texas and Pizza Hut Park.
Pizza Hut Park. I’d like to think that could bring good press box food possibilities.
By Brian Nielsen, The Journal Gazette/Times-Courier