WVC football: W.Va. State fires Monroe as coach
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The West Virginia State University football program is in search of a new coach.
Earl Monroe, who had spent seven of his last 17 years on the football program as the head coach, was fired on Sunday morning - roughly 16 hours after his team finished its fourth consecutive losing season (2-9) with a 62-0 defeat to the University of Charleston.
West Virginia State Athletic Director Sean Loyd said the program needed to move in a different direction.
"We certainly appreciate everything Coach Monroe has done and the service he has provided and all of the young men he has had an influence on.
"We just needed to go in a different direction."
Monroe, who was hired to replace Carl Lee as head coach in 2006, was West Virginia State's 11th coach since 1960, and only one of three who has had a winning season.
In his first season, State was 5-6, but followed that with back-to-back 7-3 campaigns.
However, the program has since fallen on hard times, winning just six games in the last three years, including an 0-10 season in 2010.
"I haven't had time to digest it," said Monroe, who served as defensive coordinator for 10 years (1996-05) before replacing Lee. "The president wanted to go in another direction. I'm not bitter. I still think State got the right guy for the president's position. He'll get the university moving in the direction it needs to.
"Our kids deserve as much as they can get and as much as everybody else has. If that's the end result, then that's OK."
The new president, Dr. Brian Hemphill, is in his first year as head of the university.
Monroe acknowledges that there were rumors that the football program was going to receive more scholarship money - it is at 13 of the 36 allowed at the Division II level.
"The biggest disappointment is that it looks like we're going to get additional resources and facilities," he said.
This season, the Yellow Jackets opened with a 34-31 victory over Johnson C. Smith before losing three straight games. A win over Seton Hill - State's first at Greensburg, Pa. - was followed by six straight losses culminating in Monroe's firing.
Loyd said the school will conduct a national search for a new coach and all they're interested in is filling the position with the best possible candidate.
"Our search starts now," Loyd said. "We really don't have a timetable in terms of a date, but we obviously want to get it done as quickly, yet as thoroughly, as we can.
"Obviously, we won't be paying someone half a million dollars, but we want to find the best possible candidate and best fit for the school. You evaluate the candidates and you see what fits your situation best."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at email@example.com or 304-348-4837.