Spotlight: Eastern Michigan Head Coach Ron English

Story posted September 6, 2013 in Sports, CommRadio by Maddie Brightman

Every Penn State Football fan remembers the nearly undefeated season of 2005. That year, the Nittany Lions went on to finish the season 11-1 and beat Florida State in the Orange Bowl. Penn State’s first and only loss came during a thrilling game against the University of Michigan. The Wolverines defeated Penn State 27-25 on the final play of the game and wide receiver Derrick Williams suffered a season ending injury. This weekend, the Nittany Lions will take on a familiar face from that painful loss back in 2005.

Eastern Michigan University head coach Ron English will visit Beaver Stadium once again, but this time with a new team and new position. English coached as the Michigan defensive secondary from 2003-2005. In 2006, English accepted a coaching position with the Chicago Bears, however head coach Lloyd Carr persuaded him to stay with the University of Michigan after former defensive coordinator Jim Hermann accepted a job with the New York Jets. English’s defense at the University of Michigan allowed the fewest rushing yards per game in the nation, showed great success against run heavy teams in the Big Ten, and featured strong safeties.

Ron English has served on the coaching staff at a variety of colleges including, University of Louisville, San Diego State University, Mt. San Antonio College, Arizona State University, and Northern Arizona University. English also played football at the University of California Berkeley and graduated in 1990 with a degree in communications.

English accepted the head coaching position at Eastern Michigan University in December of 2008 and at the time was one of six African American head coaches in the FBS. In English’s first season as head coach the Eagles compiled a 0-12 record and were ranked the second worst team in the FBS by ESPN. In 2010, Eastern Michigan went on to win two games and lose all four non-conference games. During 2011, English coached the Eagles to their best season in 17 years. The Eagles finished the season 6-6 and had the most wins in school history since 1995. The 2012 schedule included difficult opponents and Eastern Michigan ended the season with a 2-10 record.

Last Saturday, Eastern Michigan defeated the Howard University Bison 34-24 in an exciting come from behind win. Midway through the third quarter, the Eagles trailed the Bison 24-3, but finished the game scoring 21 unanswered points and turning an eleven-point deficit into a ten point win. When questioned about the defense’s poor performance, English explained he has a young team that is still learning. “With this being our first time together as a defense, you know, there were three or four snaps where we really struggled getting lined up with what they were doing.” This Saturday, Eastern Michigan will take on the Nittany Lions for the third time in history and Ron English will look for another exciting win in Happy Valley.

Maddie Brightman is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email