EMU’s English says he wasn’t attacking single moms
Eastern Michigan’s football team has always had a hard time
creating buzz because its program gets lost in the shadow of
college football’s winningest program in Ann Arbor.
Eagles coach Ron English unwittingly pulled it off this summer
at the Mid-American Conference’s media day, saying he wanted
recruits with a father in their background because they didn’t need
to learn how to be taught by a man.
”I regret that some people thought I was attacking single
moms,” English said Wednesday in his office that looks over
Rynearson Stadium. ”I was raised by my grandmother. My father
wasn’t really a part of my life until I was a teenager. So, I have
all the respect in the world for women raising kids on their
”I received some great e-mails from women, telling me they
didn’t know how rational people couldn’t understand what I was
saying and encouraging me to stick by my guns.”
English insisted that recruiting players from only two-parent
households is unrealistic as he tries to build a program that went
winless last season in his debut as a head coach.
”Who could do that and survive? That’s not realistic,” he
said. ”Look at the landscape in America, where there might be more
single-parent homes than traditional ones with a mom and a
The Eagles open the season Saturday night at home against
While English would rather just talk football with the reporters
who have followed up with him about his attention-grabbing
comments, he’s glad people want to talk to him at all.
”I’m not sure the attention is bad because no one in this
program committed a catastrophic crime,” he said. ”I’m sure
there’s a faction of people on campus who think I did a lot of
damage to Eastern Michigan, but I don’t think people who know me
believe I’ve done that.”
English’s boss is clearly on his side.
Athletic director Derrick Gragg was the one who made English
aware he was being criticized for his comments.
”I’m very supportive of him and the way he’s tried to explain
himself,” Gragg said. ”The positive we can take from it is people
are getting a chance to see who he really is, how he was raised and
what he stands for as he leads our football program at Eastern