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