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Searching for Spoo's replacement: Eastern Illinois Coordinators out based on performance
A major reason why Roc Bellantoni and Roy Wittke were eliminated from the pool of applicants for Eastern’s head football coaching job was because of performance, Eastern athletic director Barbara Burke said Monday.
The two coordinators saw their past success go down the drain the past two seasons, as the football team combined for a 4-18 record.
Burke said the results the team produced on the field were unfortunate, especially because Bellantoni was “potentially in line for the (head coaching) job.”
“If this had happened a couple years ago, and the program continued to progress and improve, things might be different today,” Burke said.
Both coaches applied for the head coaching position, but were eliminated after they were considered in the top 15 of the candidate pool, Burke said.
“If you’re trying to go in a new direction, sometimes you need new leadership from the top down,” Burke said. “You can’t fear change. You have to respect change.”
Burke said the team results had to play a part in her decision because football is a performance-based industry.
Bellantoni’s defense gave up an average of 240 rushing yards this season and gave up 31 points per game. The defense also gave up a total of 404 yards per game. It was ranked sixth in total defense in the Ohio Valley Conference.
Wittke’s offense only averaged 23 points per game and 325 yards. The offense was ranked worst in the OVC, averaging 12 yards fewer than any other team.
Burke said the athletic department has expectations for its programs, and the football team was not living up to them.
“We need to make that commitment to make our football program at the top half of the league,” Burke said.
Bellantoni said Sunday he did not think it would be fair to judge him solely on the past two seasons’ performance. However, Burke said the right decision was made.
“No matter what decision is made, people are going to be disappointed,” Burke said. “That’s where we are today. The right person will come out at the end.”
By Alex McNamee, The Daily Eastern News