In his penultimate display of gross incompetence for the 2013 season, Rich Ellerson led the Army team to a stunning almost-comeback against Hawai’i, and in so doing granted a winless program its first victory. For the second time this year.

Enough already. Enough. Stop the insanity.

Every year at West Point, the same scene unfolds. New cadets stand side by side, in the wilting heat or dripping rain, fists clenched, veins bulging, voices strained, belting out the most beloved of West Point’s hallowed MacArthurian quotes: “There is no substitute for victory!”

That ethos is beaten into every cadet (whether they like it or not). It is upheld as the first and last word on the aim and purpose of all the academy’s efforts. It is lauded as the defining goal of combat. It is the immutable truth for which graduates and soldiers have sacrificed life and limb for over 200 years.

That ethos has to mean something. Every day. That includes Army football.

Like clockwork, the apologists come out. They’ll piss and moan that college football is different now. Service academies can’t compete in this day and age. They’ll say West Point should throw in the towel. Drop to Division I-AA. Or Division II. Or nix the program altogether.

STOP. Enough with the excuses. Save them for your political careers. College football is different now? Grab some semaphore flags and send Navy the message. They’ve been too busy averaging EIGHT WINS A SEASON OVER THE LAST DECADE to notice. How’s Navy doing this year? You guessed it, sports fans! They’re two weeks away from their 8th win. Coincidentally, that will also be their 12th victory in a row over Army–a fact which should make this sad attempt to pad Nike’s bottom line all the more effective at coaxing bilious vomit from Army fans’ stomachs.

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Like the last 11 years of Army-Navy, it’s a one-way conversation.

In the last decade, Navy beat Notre Dame, took Ohio State to the 4th quarter, and posted more wins in a season than Army does in three. Next year, they’ll join the AAC (the remains of the Big East). They’ll win there, too. Air Force has posted two 9-win seasons as Mountain West members. Army handpicks their schedule and gets dragged around by their nostrils for four quarters by Stony Brook. STONY. BROOK.

It’s not “the war.” Toss that excuse atop the heap o’ bullshit feel-good reasons that Army’s losing ways have gone unmended. As I’ve said before, half of Navy’s team joins the Marine Corps. The “war” as it relates to football is nothing more than one more way for Army fans to sleep at night in the face of gross football incompetence, and to avoid the discomfort inherent in demanding better.

It’s not the talent. The only difference between Army and Navy is that the latter know how they look in pretty white shoes. Swap the jerseys and you coudn’t tell them apart, unless Navy’s boys kept their fancy footwear.

It’s the culture. An attitude of winning starts at the top. Army has a culture of acceptance and excuses where losing seasons are concerned.

Stop hiring graybeards. Paul Johnson was 44 when he started at Navy. Ken Niamatalolo was 43. Troy Calhoun was 40. Rich Ellerson was 56 when Army hired him. Bobby Ross was 68. If a guy remembers where he was when Kennedy was shot, he should be thinking about assisted living facilities, not practice facilities.

Stop accepting “almost.” A good effort against Temple isn’t worth a damn thing. If pats on the back won games, Army would be damming the Hudson with crystal footballs. Last I checked, the PCBs and sludge still flow unabated from Albany to the Verrazano Narrows.

Stop being cheapskates. Rich Ellerson will make $401,000 this year. That’s 103rd out of 119 reported FBS salries. Navy’s coach averages $1.6 million. For those of you who abhor higher math, that’s FOUR TIMES THE AMOUNT Ellerson gets paid. Troy Calhoun makes almost a million dollars. If you care about something, you invest in it. There’s a reason you don’t go to a dentist who charges $5 and works out of an old Wonder Bread truck. If you care, you put your money where your mouth is.

Fire Rich Ellerson. Fire him yesterday. Fire him so hard his dog collects unemployment. He’s a hack. In 17 years of coaching, he has never once posted even a 10-win season. Not in Division II. Not in the FCS. Certainly not now. Other than a willingness to accept a really awful contract, what did anyone see in this guy?

He’s wasting the efforts of young, eager Americans who are so willing to play their hearts out on a big stage that they’ll endure the copious, creative, and unending miseries of cadet life. They could be neck-deep in coeds and kegs at some FCS school, but they’re not. They’re smart. They’re capable. They’re relentless workers. They’re West Pointers. Ellerson is turning West Point’s Shinola into shit, year after year, unabated.

Invest in winning. Pay a real salary. Service Academies are a coaching nightmare, and West Point is a nightmare that would make a man wet the bed. It’s cold. It’s gray. It’s a brutal lifestyle for players and staff. Why the hell would they ask someone to do it for peanuts? Hire a young, hungry coach. I’d bet my handsome smile that there’s a Niamatalolo understudy or two who’s thinking he’d like to take the Army team and kick his boss’s ass once or twice. Offer him some real money (like you recognize the challenge and expect great returns), and maybe Army-Navy won’t make Scrooges out of every heart in gray, year upon year upon year.

Football is harder now. It’s faster and bigger and smarter. So what? There’s a difference between hard and impossible. Don’t tell me Air Force is better at doing hard stuff than anybody. West Point loves harder. Two hundred years of tradition is proof of that. Patton may not have known how to find the library, but he got one thing right: America loves a winner and will not tolerate a loser.

West Point says there is no substitute for victory. Show the world you mean it.

About The Author

Outrageously handsome. Infinitely practical. Stunningly insightful. An Ozymandian tour de force of college football punditry. Makes Jesse Palmer's tie look fat.

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66 Responses

  1. Dave Beard

    Great post.

    My two cents:
    Penny 1: Regardless of whom is coaching, I believe there is a culture at West Point that accepts a losing football team. It appears to be determined that it is either too hard (insert your pick from long list of excuses for the inability to be competitive with Navy or AF and/or FBS teams) or not important (i.e. winning football games does not meaningfully contribute to making better officers or a better Army). So long as the USMA culture is one that tolerates losing, the team will never be a winner. I don’t know if the accountability needs to come from above the Academy, i.e. from the Chief of Staff, or internally, i.e. from the Superintendent. I think the difference between Army and AF over the the last 30 years and between Army and Navy the last 10 years has been a difference in culture. AF for a long time and Navy more recently have both made an institutional commitment to having a winning football team. Army has not done this. Until USMA changes its culture and insists on a winning football team, the Army Team will continue to embarrass itself, former players, the Academy, and the Army.

    Penny 2: Army FB really has not been consistently good ever in the modern era, even in the supposed “good” years in the 80′s and 90′s. Look at the Jim Young years. Sure, they played in 3 bowl games. But each year they went to bowls they played four (4) 1-AA teams. And Jim Young barely broke .500 as a coach overall. Look at the Bob Sutton years. Outside of the 1996 season, Bob only managed two winning seasons: 1990 and 1993, both 6-5 records. And in those three winning years, we had two 1-AA non-scholarship teams included in the “W” column. And Bob had a losing overall record over 9 years. That being said, I think Jim Young had good support from the administration when he came on board and I know LTG Christman was very supportive of Bob and the team. Problem is that once LTG Christman left, the support and commitment left with him; there was no enduring institutional change.

    Closing: Perhaps if the institution commits to winning and hires a coach with the following charter:
    1. Beat Navy the first season or you are fired.
    2. Win the CiC within your first two years or you are fired.
    3. Maintain cumulative winning record against AF and Navy after 1 year grace period or you are fired.
    4. Achieve a winning record each year after a 2 year grace period or you are fired
    Is that a tall order? Yes. Should we accept anything less? No. Anything less is losing.

    David Beard
    USMA ’98
    Army Football
    Offensive Tackle

    Reply
    • Priorities

      Yeah, I would surely hope that the Supe and Chief of Staff have something better to do than “hold the football team accountable”. It’s a sport, nothing more. I appreciate the guys on the team, and they bust their balls every day, but I don’t think any extra attention needs to be paid to the team. At all. West Point bends over backwards for this team, and pays almost no attention to just about any other team, even the ones that have 12 year winning records over Navy.

      As for the perception that the corps/football team thinks that losing is ok, not true at all. The players and the corps are upset, disappointed, and tired of losing.

      Mission Statement of USMA:”The United States Military Academy’s mission is to educate, train and inspire the Corps of Cadets so that each graduate is a commissioned leader of character committed to the values of Duty, Honor, Country and prepared for a career of professional excellence and service to the nation as an officer in the United States Army.”

      Doesn’t say anything about football. Training officers, that is what the academy is for, not training NFL players or anything sports related. I’ll concede that sports do build mental toughness, athleticism, and overall fitness, but not enough to make it an academy priority to win football games.

      Current USMA Cadet, 2014

      Reply
      • WP80

        Show me anywhere that the Supe of Chief if Staff are committed to winning. Anything. Anyone? There are some great teams at WP and some great units in the Army, but how many are the result of the leadership of either Senior Officer? Look at the daily “Stand-To” email that comes to every Army leader each morning and tell me the Chief’s priority is winning anything except a prize for holding more Diversity Month events than the other services and doubling the family readiness sign-ups. I have yet to see one that talks about warrior spirit or leadership. It isn’t just WP that has lost its way, its the Army adrift.

      • USMA Parent and Grad

        Cadet,

        The simple mission statement for the Army that I have grown up with as a cadet, as an active duty Army Officer (Airborne, Infantry, Special Ops, Ranger) with multiple tours in combat, and now as a retired Army officer is “to win our nation’s wars.” In the units I served in, I have always found this mindset present with the Soldiers I have served with. Granted combat arms has a different mindset than is found in other types of units in the Army. That said, when I did a little searching, I found limited support in the way of policy that provides a mandate for the Army to win, but rather to accomplish the mission. One could argue that the Army’s mission is to win, but our doctrine is completely ambiguous and watered down. Sadly, you won’t find winning in Title 10 or in the Army’s mission statement in FM 1.

        I then re-read MacArthur’s entire “Duty, Honor, Country” speech and I suggest that you do the same (see http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/douglasmacarthurthayeraward.html).

        Some highlights from that speech that seem to have been lost by our current senior leadership:

        “And through all this welter of change and development, your mission remains fixed, determined, inviolable: it is to win our wars.

        Everything else in your professional career is but corollary to this vital dedication. All other public purposes, all other public projects, all other public needs, great or small, will find others for their accomplishment. But you are the ones who are trained to fight. Yours is the profession of arms, the will to win, the sure knowledge that in war there is no substitute for victory; that if you lose, the nation will be destroyed; that the very obsession of your public service must be: Duty, Honor, Country.”

        Experienced Army leaders know that there is no substitute for victory. Not winning in our profession means that Soldiers perish unnecessarilly and the mission is not accomplished. Plato said, “Only the dead have seen the end of war.” Knowing this and from his personal experience, MacArthur said, “there is no substitute for victory.” Successful Army leaders figure out that winning on the battlefield is paramount to all we do. Winning doesn’t mean throwing out the rule books or Army values. It means motivating and empowering the team to consistently perform at the highest level… it means reflecting on what went right and wrong and taking action to improve the team for the next battle…it means competing and winning…it means giving more than you thought possible…it means inspiring your subordinates and peers to sacrifice everything for the team’s victory…it means believing in the mission and the team…it means trusting that the entire team can count on each other to achieve victory… it means performing consistently even when hope becomes forlorn.

        But what does all this have to do with football and athletics? As the USMA Superintendent immediately following WWI and prior to WWII and the Korean War, MacArthur also figured out that “Upon the fields of friendly strife are sewn the seeds that upon other fields on other days will bear the fruits of victory.” MacAuthor was extremely intelligent and Ivy league schools like Harvard soley emphasized academics, MacArthure put emphasis on the whole man concept with a special emphasis on athletics. USMA graduates’ leadership during both wars (and ever since) certainly benefitted from MacArthur’s emphasis on both athletics and victory.

        For everyone’s benefit, the Army’ leadership needs to change its mindset that losing is acceptable for Army football. It’s one thing to lose a game. But losing has obviously become acceptable, when Army football has made a habit of losing two out of every three games it has played over the past three decades. This needs to change.

        USMA Parent and ’83 Grad

      • Army Dad

        Sorry Priorities, you do not have your head screwed on straight. The service academies are special institutions, but unlike the Ivy League schools that decided a long time ago to focus strictly on academics, other schools like Notre Dame, Stanford, Duke, Northwestern, etc. show that you can compete successfully on the field and in the classroom. These schools are exceptional and there is no reason Army cannot be counted among them.

        It does no good for West Point to line up against other universities and get its head bashed in week after week (on television no less), not because the other schools are that much better than West Point, but because Army’s coaches are terrible and completely unimaginative. For goodness sake, can someone please inform Coach Ellerson that it’s OK to throw a pass once in a while?

        Question Priorities: does it make you as a Cadet proud to get embarrassed by Stony Brook or Ball State when you know that USMA athletes are better than the scores would indicate? Do you like being forced to attend football games only to have some second tier school come in and bash your classmates’ heads in? Really? Can you explain the lesson you should learn from that?

        Sorry, but playing intercollegiate sports, especially football, requires serious commitment. It’s not “just another sport.” Bottom line: if West Point no longer wants to compete successfully against its collegiate peers then stop playing football or drop down to II-A. West Point does a disservice to the institution, the Cadets, and Army fans everywhere by allowing Rich Ellerson to coach this team. Army can do much better. Shame on the administration for allowing West Point to fall so low.

    • Chas

      David,
      I think you hit the nail on the head !
      I was a season ticket holder (16 years) through the LTG Christman years and dropped out shortly thereafter.
      I do not care to watch a program without a demonstrable commitment to victory.
      Best,
      Chas
      USMA ’75

      Reply
  2. Beat Navy!

    How about letting players get drafted and if they make am NFL team – LET THEM PLAY! Don’t ignore it and then call him back to OBC over the summer! It will happen a few times – but we will win – and did David Robinson a huge negative impact on Navy!? Heck no – he was free advertising – and still is! Get smart – get the players – and oh, yeah – PAY your COACH! Let’s win!

    Reply
    • Tim

      Bravo, this idolization of football and sports culture is exactly what’s wrong here. IT IS A MILITARY ACADEMY!! NOT A DAMN TEMPLE OF FOOTBALL!! People need to stop letting the nostalgia and memories of the bygone era of all American badass athletes who played for Army fog their eyes and realize that there is MUCH more to life than this damn sport and this damn rivalry. Navy and Air Force have sold their souls to win, by showing ridiculous favoritism to their football players and giving them a greased slide through the hell that is the 4 year undergraduate experience there. They are treated like Gods. Army football players are not; they are exhausted and work their asses off. Why else do you think they fumble so much? Football is a secondary priority at USMA as it should be.

      USMA Graduate, Class of 2011

      Reply
      • Fumblerooski

        Indeed. Show me some evidence of “sold souls.” That’s the same crap thinking as blaming “the war.” Anything to believe that Army isn’t losing because of incompetence and poor leadership. That’s the fearless Army way…pretend the other guys couldn’t be doing it fairly.

    • Butch

      Totally agree…. if a grad can get drafted into the NFL…………LET THEM GO !! A few years ago an Army Tight End got drafted by the Detroit Lions….. and you know what the brass said?? …… Yep…. NO! What does that do to recruiting? Yep….. down the tubes.

      Reply
    • Kevin Mason

      You’re right! It is much bigger than a game. It has PR, recruiting, name recognition, and funding implications. As officers our duty is to win! We are also responsible for morale and esprit d’corps. So how is our morale after losing12 years in a row?

      Reply
  3. Hayden Johnson

    I am hoping that USMA kept Jeff Monkin’s number. Army interviewed him the year they hired Coach Ellerson. He took his triple option experience instead back to Ga Southern where he coached w/ Paul Johnson (also joined him at Hawaii and GT) prior to their move to Navy. Jeff tood 5-6 Ga So team to 3 consecutive Semi-Finals appearances (last 2 losing close games to Nat Champs) and built a 34-14 record overall including a victory last month over Florida. He knows the system, recruited at Navy for 6 yrs in time of war and his brother inlaw is former Infantry officer. He currently makes ~$450k. Great fit if we could get him.

    Reply
  4. USMA2009

    Here’s my take. Disband the team. Permanently. And the thought of openly allowing and even encouraging Army footballers to go from the Academy to the NFL is downright egregious. Did you come to the Academy to play football and maybe even go into the NFL or become an officer in the Army? The answer is obvious for both what it should be (the latter) and reality (the former). I had a Beast roommate that confessed during the first week of CBT that all he wanted to do was play football, branch ADA, and then get out immediately at 5. Complete and utter waste of a slot to attend, and it’s no secret that that isn’t an isolated incident.

    Regarding winning, I for one am hoping Navy wins every A/N game until at least 2050. But I’ll find out from facebook or elsewhere regardless of the outcome because I’ll never waste the time watching them play, much less sit through another game in person.

    Class of 2009.

    Reply
    • Go Army!!

      Whoever left the comment under the name of USMA 2009 is obviously a disgruntled slugo. If you’re going to talk smack, put ya name on it.

      Rob Christie
      Class of 2009
      Go Army Football!!

      Reply
      • Lee Gibson

        Yeah Rob tell ‘em. Nothing has changed in years. This article is right on. These posts about getting rid of football are ludicrous. Both Class of 2009 and Class of 2014 above are two prime examples of not only why we are bad in football but also in other sports like say….basketball. I hate to break it to anyone but a National Championship in Rifle? An average season in the Patriot League? You show me where our sports programs consistently outperform the other two academies and where across the board we win in sports more than we lose. It’s not there. It’s not that we aren’t very good in football it’s that we are really very good consistently in anything.

        Ok, here’s the ultimate proof. If there were one competitive activity that every die hard cadet would likely agree that we should be the best in I would argue it’s the Sandhurst Competition. We have something like 40 teams to compete one for each company and one regimental and one brigade I believe. Yet we’ve won it once in 20 years. Once. B-3 won it all in 2011. Hell even the Canadian teams have won it 4 times since 1994! We couldn’t beat Canada? We aren’t even very good at basic soldier tasks and remember we compete at West Point every year so it’s not like we don’t have a home field advantage. Point is we don’t even win at an all around Military Stakes. This is exactly what Dave Beard is talking about above. Culture. We don’t embrace winning across the board.

        Hey I get it. If I had to go up and watch the catastrophe every Saturday that Army Football has become I too would be disgruntled. Those cadets could be doing a lot of other things with that valuable free time instead of watching us fall apart in the 1st quarter or fumble the ball all over the place or just get dominated by some team like Stony Brook. And since there’s now over a decade of losing teams with no real reason to get excited about a great season why would you want to advocate for football? Pretty simple, because the vast majority of folks at West Point don’t know what a really good football team looks like and more importantly how it feels to be a great at the most visible part of any college or institution. There is no TV contract for Intramural Flickerball but there should probably be one for Plebe Boxing. I digress. The Cadets and the TACs and the P’s for the most part have no idea what a winning program feels like. We’ve been losing for the last 15 years so unless you are a Senior Major or LTC you probably haven’t seen any really good football for a long time!

        Quick story, in 1994 we were 4-7 and you couldn’t buy a friend within the Corps. Rightfully so. We weren’t a very good football team. We didn’t compete very well and what was on the field wasn’t great football. In 1995 we had a much improved year and while we only went 5-5-1 we competed in every game and surprised a few folks. We lost 4 in a row early to Duke, Washington, Rice (tied), and Notre Dame by a total of 11 points, 8 to Washington but we ran out of time going for the touchdown on the 1 yard line. All 4 teams went on to bowls. We beat Boston College 49-7 at BC. We were a damn good team that just couldn’t catch a break. But in 1996 it came together. We went 9-0 before losing to a Donovan Mcnabb led Syracuse team. Came back and beat Navy to be 10-1 and gave Auburn everything they wanted in the Independence Bowl. Just so we are straight Auburn went undefeated from 1993- 1994 and won the SEC west in 1997. They were a great team with tons of athletes. We won the CIC and beat AF and Navy. So what’s my point? Well I will tell you that you couldn’t beat your friends off with a stick. We were certainly better respected by the Corps and our classmates because we represented USMA well. We weren’t perfect by any measure but we didn’t embarrass the institution.

        You know some people just don’t get it. You want to quote the mission and persecute football players fine. But the mission also doesn’t mention anything about Rhodes Scholars or Full Dress Parades or Plebe Swimming (Combat Water Survival) or making plebes call minutes but that’s all part of the culture and things we are proud of. The fact is we don’t all have to be the best scholar, or the best football player, or the best leader, but we do need to be excellent a something and competent in the others. West Point is defined by excellence yet when we aren’t we make excuses as some posters here have done. I guess they don’t teach “No Excuse Sir” anymore.

        Lee Gibson
        USMA ’97
        Fullback
        Army Football

        By the way. Dave Beard was a bad man on the football field!

      • Mark

        Hey, Lee,…check out the Baseball team….they’ve owned Navy the last 13 years….and what’d we do? Fire the coach…..smh!!!

    • Joe

      Bag of Douches, please kindly turn in your class ring and diploma back to WB-9. Anyone who wishes we lose to Navy and should cancel the football program doesn’t deserve to be a “grad” anymore. And no, I didn’t play football. 4 years of drill and intramurals. Beat ‘Em

      Reply
    • USMA1999

      USMA2009, you are a disgrace to your alma mater.. Throw your class ring away and dont ever claim to be associated with West Point ever again. You were a waste of a commission

      Class of 1999

      Reply
    • WP80

      It isn’t about the team, its about winning and inculcating the will to win. Maybe your sewing group on facebook can explain it to you.

      Reply
      • Lee Gibson

        Awesome! The measure of success in athletics is wins and losses. We’d never accept it if only about 30% of cadets passed their plebe english class now would we. Do they teach sewing now at USMA? Must be a club sport. Hmmm.

    • Ken

      It is people like you who are making Administrative decisions with the football team that have it in its current predicament. THAT is the first major problem with Army football. Having graduates that wish that its cadets lose a competitive game with another academy for the next 37 years is an embarrassment. Even moreso from somebody who can barely remember the first Persian Gulf invasion.

      Class of 1995.

      Reply
    • Beat Navy 2000!

      @USMA2009 – what is wrong with you? You really want Army to lose the next 37 years? You enjoy losing? Isn’t beating Navy about the fortitude to desire victory and supporting your teammates? When I was an infantry officer, both were important. Do you just hate your Alma Mater and all the people and values it represents that much? I don’t know what the hell happened to you up there, but before trashing the football team or its individual players, take a look inward and figure out why your attitude is so poor. If you truly believe what you wrote, I don’t think I’d want to serve with you anywhere.

      For the record, I write this as an intramural and drill guy, and a real poor IOCT performer too – not a former football player. I’m a 2000 grad and a former infantry officer who now serves our nation and government in a different capacity. However, I love all our Army teams and am not happy at all with our football program. It’s not our players – it’s our leadership: ADs, senior coaching staff, and Supes who preach accountability to all of us but fail to apply it to their own charges. A winning Army football team is important not just to grads but to the Army as a whole (I could write a lot more on this, but this post is long enough). For that reason, we should make an effort to hire Ben Kotwica or Jeff Monken this offseason.

      USMA2009, you’re taking an example of an individual in CBT telling you he planned to do 5 and leave and indicting the whole team and every member for it. Are some coming in (and leaving) with that mindset? Sure (and not just football players and athletes, but “regular” cadets too). However, it’s hard for a guy in CBT to truly know what he will do in 9 years or even further down the line – a lot go into the Army intent on doing 5, but love it (the reverse is also true). Even if your roommate never lived up to the ethos, values, and spirit of the place, what does that prove? Every organization I’ve been in has folks running around that fall short of certain values. Does that mean the ethos, values, or the spirit is wrong? There are tons of football players and other USMA athletes out in the Army doing great things and a bunch running around my agency. Your example is narrow and weak. Your lack of desire to Beat Navy is sickening. I’m glad you’ll be checking scores on Facebook (why? Thought you didn’t care), because I don’t want to see you floating around the game or at my tailgate.

      Beat Navy!

      Reply
  5. Palidog

    Beard is completely wrong. I, for one, do not mind losing year after year after year. It builds character among the players, the alumni and the non-alumni fans like me, who pay money to see this. Plus RE is the right guy for me. He does this for the love of the game, not money and he is pretty consistent. Actually he is very consistent.

    The WP brass? Geez, they are geniuses. They obviously realize that winning at college football has nothing to do with creating winners on the battlefield where things really matter.

    Finally, it is also clear that WP does not want to compete head to head with Navy or AFA for the best talent on or off the field. Let these other two schools be perceived as winners; WP is fine being perceived by the entire country as the laughingstock of college football.

    On Brave Old Army Team!

    Reply
  6. USMA Parent and Grad

    Great observations. Losing is not a core value for the Army and we shouldn’t be sending the message to future Army officers that it is acceptable to lose. It’s also the wrong message to send to the American public. Had no idea that the Army football coach’s salary was peanuts compared to the coachs on the other teams he plays against. When you look at all the infinitely more difficult decisions the Army has made over the years, I am amazed that it can’t figure out how to allow top football players to go pro. Why is it that Navy and Air Force posted winning records over the past two decades, but Army can’t? If Army footbal is important enough to make cadets sacrifice their very limited free time by attending all home games, then the USMA leadership needs to figure out how to set the conditions for a winning football program. If the USMA leadership can’t figure that out, they should make Army football a Div II program.

    Reply
  7. Joe Army

    The only way to beat Navy is to take something away. Hire Navy OC Ivin Jasper. Hes young, knows all about coaching at a service academy, and it would change a dynamic at Navy. Im sure he would get a couple of Navy coaches to come with him. Now is not the time to wait. Make a play for him now!

    Reply
  8. Fire Ellerson

    Cadet,

    You sound disgruntled because the football team gets privileges not afforded the average cadet (e.g. drill authos, etc) without seeming to give anything back to the Corps (e.g. wins and a team of which the Corps can be proud). I would be disgruntled too in your shoes. As a grad of the last class to have beaten Navy three out of four years and have a cumulative winning record over those four years, I’d bet that you’d have a different outlook if the team was actually winning.

    I get the impression from your comment that you look at setting the football team up for success against the other Service Academies and FBS opponents as being somehow mutually exclusive from serving the needs of the Corps and the Academy’s mission. The two can go hand in hand and everyone is better for it but that mindset seems to have been lost over the last decade plus.

    BC, USMA 99

    Reply
  9. Tobin Crowder

    In my opinion here are the top 5 reasons why Army football is currently an embarrassment. #1 LTG Christman (Superintendent in 1998) deciding to have Army join Conference USA. #2 LTG Christman hiring Rick Greenspan(Greenspan had no major college A.D. experience besides Illinois St. before this job, and has since been run out of two major colleges, Indiana and Rice) to replace the retiring COL Vanderbush. #3 Rick Greenspan hiring Todd Berry (Berry and Greenspan held the same positions together at Illinois St.). #4 Greenspan hires Bobby Ross (Ross was a good man and good coach but hiring him at 67 year of age?). #5 Stan Brock is hired to replace Bobby Ross with zero head coaching experience. I will gladly expand on any of these and I have a million other data points all related to these top 5……..Talent is not the reason and Rick Greenspan firing Bob Sutton on the street after 1999 Army/Navy game was a total disgrace and embarrassment for our great Academy. We have made a series of terrible mistakes and I place clear blame on LTG Christman, LTG Lennox, Rick Greenspan, Todd Berry, Stan Brock, Kevin Anderson and ultimately the current situation that we are in with Coach Ellerson. At the end of the day Ellerson has won 33% of his games, Brock 25%, Ross 26% and Berry 12.5%……Jim Young won 55% of his games and Bob Sutton was 38-39-1 before Christman made the decision to join Conf. USA which was a complete disaster. Many people said this and were against this but ultimately they made this decision and since 1998 West Point Football has been a complete disaster. Academy football teams in the modern era (West Point, Navy, Air Force) are capable of winning 60% of their games and should aspire to win 50% every year. We are living with the decision that occurred in the late 90′s and now 15 years later we need some significant leadership from both the Supe, the A.D. and many others to “right” this ship and set us in a new direction. My opinion is to hire Jeff Monken the current head coach at Georgia Southern who comes from the Paul Johnson/Ken Niumatalolo coaching family tree. Remember Bob Sutton who is currently the KC Chief Def. Coord and very well respected coach in the NFL was only 40 when hired in 1991 to replace Jim Young. We need new young blood to jump start our program and it should come from a coaching family tree that knows the inner workings of Academy football. People fail to realize that we are no different than Navy and Air Force and we used to have a culture of winning (from an Academy perspective). We used to week in and week out compete with all of the big boys of college football. People view Air Force and Navy as different…..let me give you the blunt truth….Academy football team at all three institutions are capable of winning 60% and should strive for 50%…Here is the data…..Jim Young 55%, Bob Sutton 49% before Conf USA, Niumatalolo 61%, Paul Johnson 60.8% Troy Calhoun 55% and the Gold standard that everyone viewed as the father of modern day Academy football success…..Fisher DeBerry in his 20 years won 60%. TC, USMA 1992

    Reply
    • John Kramer - 1980

      I moved to the Hudson Valley in 1997 and immediately bought season tickets to Army football. My wife, daughters and I loved going to the games, and we had great seats in the 2nd row of the upper deck directly above the Corps. We had no sooner occupied our seats for the first game of the ’98 season when the downhill slide started in earnest. WP joined Conf USA, which only made it worse. And now they have moved the Corp to the other side of the friggin stadium. WHAT THE HELL!!! We finally had to give up our season tickets in ’09 for reasons beyond our control, but I will not waste the money on going to another Army game until the Academy shows a strong commitment to winning. We only beat Navy 1 of 4 years I was at WP (1977…what a great game!), but we won the CIC trophy that year and felt like giants on the Plain. I HATED losing to Navy when I was a cadet, and I HATE losing to Navy even now.

      Regarding the (please God let it happen!) new coach, I hear that Ed Orderon, the ex-interim-coach at USC is now available. Ed took over as the interim coach after Pat Hayden fired Lane Kiffin on the street (okay, it was at the airport, not on the street, but still pretty low-class) after a blow-out loss to ASU. When Hayden hired Steve Sarkisian a few days ago, Hayden offered to make Ed the highest paid Asst Coach in the nation. Ed told Pat to kiss his ass. Good for Ed! Maybe Army could use some of that moxie!!

      Reply
      • Mark

        Youre right….Orgeron even sounds like General MacArthur when he speaks….go git’em…

  10. Bob Briant

    I have been attending Army Football games since 1998 and have seen much (except for wins) years. To keep it short…Ellerson has his challenges, the limitation on the type and size of O & D linemen to the rigorous schedule of the cadets is a challenge. The type of offense he runs is perfect for the Academy. With that said, just about every game an incredible amount of coaching incompetence is on display. Defensively, the coaching would be rated as an average high school team. The individual position technique and situational method makes no sense! The time it takes them to make changes and adjustments to what the other team is doing is mind-numbing. It takes them too long, if ever, to recognize how to take advantage of the other teams offense and defense. I can go on with mush more. As for winning…..just look at the West Point Baseball team. Year in and year out..perennial winners…and why…its the coaching! Enough said.

    Army football and baseball fan

    Reply
  11. John Doe

    It is worth pointing out that the football program does bring in LARGE amounts of money to the academy whether the team wins or loses. So many people go to those games year after year and spend a lot on tickets and USMA paraphernalia that it’s hard to ignore the football teams contribution to the academy.

    However, (coming from the opinion of an enlisted a combat vet) when you graduate and become a Platoon Leader, few soldiers in that platoon are going to care either way if played football at USMA let alone whether you had a winning or losing record. For that matter they wont even give a hoot about what you majored in. What they WILL care about is if you learned enough about combat, and enough about leadership, facilitate worthwhile training while in garrison and to bring them home alive from combat environments. They will also care if you learned enough about the Army and about people to get their pay issues fixed and to be understanding enough to know that many enlisted soldiers barely make enough to support their families (some poor personal choices on your soldiers part but that is what you will have to deal with).

    That being said, if you really care that much about whether USMA can beat USNA or have a winning record, or you went there with football at the front of your mind and the Army at the back you need to sort out your priorities.
    You know what y’all could do? Get rid of D1 athletics, get rid of those goofy cadet uniforms (that you cant even use when you get into the Army, what a waste) and increase the focus on the Army aspect of the academy. Take all the money that is being spent on D1 level athletic facilities and programs and use it to train until you drop. The WHOLE POINT of that place is to develop officers who will be competent and motivated to serve in the Army. Doing this might not bring top tier athletes to the academy but it would go a long way towards ensuring that the people who are there care more about the Army than they do about football.

    Just my opinion, I hope I fairly addressed both sides of the issue.

    Reply
    • Lee Gibson

      If they care about learning how to train and fight they should love a competitive football team. No other sport requires the brutal physicality, preparation, coordination, teamwork, small unit culture, and intense competitive nature where wins and losses are the ultimate measure like football does. Name one other team sport that is as strategically complicated, physically violent, team oriented, and leader dependent than football?

      The history is littered with great leaders that played football and many who played Army Football. The lessons learned on the field are the same today as they were 100 years ago. The talent is better, the money is way more, and the schemes may be different but the intangibles it takes to succeed are the same. We could lay out tons of guys who played and won and excelled in the Army. If you’ve never seen 100 years of Army Football you should. And if you never spent much time in the Army Sports Hall of Fame then you should. GEN Eisenhower, GEN Bradley, and GEN Van Fleet all played football and were all in the class of 1915. Schwarzkopf played football as a plebe and contribute some of his tactics in Desert Storm to football. Pete Dawkins made 1 star general faster than anyone in the modern Army. Bill Carpenter was both a great end (All American) and a great Leader and made general. Guys like Andrew Rodrigues, and Mike Mcelrath, and countless other recent grads have excelled as leaders. I played with a guy named Hans Pung who was the First Captain. LTG Caslen played ball. So did LTG Hagenback. GEN Odierno is a proponent and fan. We could go on and on but don’t act as if Army Football hasn’t significantly impacted the leadership of the Army for well over 100 years and we’ve been well represented in every major conflict.

      What’s also true is that football players also leave the military at a higher rate than their peers. Too often because they find the politics and the bureaucracy too over the top and focused on individual achievement vs. the greater good of the team.

      What do I miss about football? My teammates. What do I miss about the Army? My soldiers. You fight and win on the field as 11 guys. As a 2LT PL you fight and win with 20-30 guys. Team work matters. Culture and Leadership matter. Executing different goals and roles to achieve a common objective matters. Preparation and conditioning matter. Physical and Mental Toughness Matter. There are many similarities and football provides a great crucible for our cadets to learn in.

      We can get rid of Football and all athletics. We can get rid of the uniforms and traditions. We can get rid of the whole educational system. We can get rid of all the centers of excellence and the parades and the band and uniform factory and all the athletic facilities. We can turn West Point into a state park full of beautiful views and monuments and fill our Office Ranks with ROTC, OCS, and Direct Commission. They all produce some great officers and leaders. In fact it might even work better because they could have a shorter commitment and it would cost less to produce and you could chase women and party in between training sessions or classes. But we don’t want to because the history of America starts at West Point. Because our most coveted values and beliefs about the military and leadership are housed and kept there. Because West Point represents not only the Office Corps, but the Army, and quite frankly the nation. It is not a place of just military training. It is not a place of just Top Tier Academics. It is not a place of just unmatched history and tradition. It is not place of just D1 Competitive Athletics. It is all of that and it represents way more than just the Army and more than just what might be best for one individual cadet. It represents the best of America in our history, our young people, our leadership development and philosophies, our athletics, our culture and traditions. So there in lies the argument that if we are going to do something at West Point that we then need to be excellent because America doesn’t embrace anything less.

      Reply
      • John Doe

        Mr. Gibson,
        You bring up some very valid points, many of which are hard to refute. The question I have though is of those top historic officers, how many would still have been great had they not played football at the academy? I would think that all of them would because they were amazing men with many talents. The way you stated your point (unless I failed reading comprehension class) makes it seem as if playing football lead to their success and I would say maybe it did but thes men would have been successful regardless of the sport they played because they were highly driven intelligent indivduals.

        I would also like to make the point that just because we have been doing something for 100 years doesnt mean it works as well today. Military training gets updated to meet the current conflicts (although, I will admit many of these changes come very slowly) just because it is tradition does not mean it’s still a good idea. Also, I will TOTALLY agree that football is highly physical, leadership, teamamwork and strategy depandant. Can not military training exercises provide the same level of physical rigors, leadership, teamwork and strategy but centered around Army and combat competiencies?

        I would also like to ask your opinion on another point that you made. West Point does indeed represent the nation; doesn’t it follow that we should put almost as much emphasis on international competitions like Sandhurst, where militaries from around the globe judge and our military and country based on our performance in that competition?

        Also, while I would agree that West Point houses our most coveted values and Ideals of military leadership are there not cadets who graduate from that place who have violated the coveted ideas? Not having graduated from there I can not speak authoritatively on the subject but I would bet there are. Wasn’t that Trent Steelman guy one of the people who had a lot of infractions but was kept in seemingll to play a sport (again I cant speak from a position of fact not having know the guy or graduated from the academy)?

        Those are just a few questions I had and in no way are meant to sound like arguing for the sake of arguing.

      • Lee Gibson

        John Doe

        I’ll answer your questions with the following:
        1. Many of the Officers strongly correlate football to there success and it’s importance to their development. Not the only reason by far but a major influence without question. Every cadet is a culmination of experiences. I’m only arguing that football adds significant value to that experience. As do other sports in other ways and as do rigorous academics, disciplined, structured, and regimented lifestyle, the honor code, and other cadet experiences.

        2. Yes other Military training could provide similar experiences and in some ways does help other cadets. I think we should place just as much emphasis on winning a tiddly winks competition as we do a football game. I think we should win Sandhurst every year. But we don’t.

        3. I can’t speak for Trent Steelman as I have no first hand knowledge. I do know that many graduates whether they were football players or not have violated some of our values. Some intently others not intently. Gen Patreus could be debated for his actions. Nate Sassaman the great Army Quarterback found himself in some pretty hot water early on in the GWOT. The cheating scandals of the ’50s and ’70s were detrimental to the PR of West Point and it’s relationship with the American Public. In the end though I would argue far more men and women exemplify the values we uphold in both the public and private sector every day. They aren’t always in the spot light for doing right. Also many that may do wrong aren’t in the spotlight to generate any attention either like a General Officer or a high profile athlete. West Point is a cross section of America and runs across many of the same problems as the general population. We are not immune to human failings or weaknesses in the moral fabric. We work to strengthen men and women and develop them but we are far from perfect.

      • Kurt Westerman

        I can name several sports with similar characteristics. In fact, I would say they are better in many respects, as size is much less of an influence than talent – rugby, lacrosse, and hockey are just a few. While soccer is not as physical, the players are more fit. In fact there are very few sports other than football where a 300 pound man who cannot sprint 100 meters can excel.

        Like it or not, size is the primary reason that Army and the other service academies have trouble competing. I am not trying to make an excuse for poor play. A good coach can make us much much better than we are today. But we will never be the powerhouse that we were in the 40s and 50s because the game has changed. Back then it was played by regular sized men. Now it is a game of giants. We are outweighed on both sides of the line by as much as 50 pounds per man. We can overcome some of this with fitness and conditioning. But eventually it wears us down. That is why we are a much better first half team than second half team.

        We can and should be much better. We should be able to compete with average teams and win 7 or 8 games. But we are never going to be at a level with Alabama, Oklahoma, or Ohio State.

        I find it interesting that everyone who has talked about coaches, mentions offense oriented guys. Our Achilles heel is defense. We gave up 31 points a game this year. The number would be much higher if it weren’t for two no-names, Morgan State and Louisiana Tech, on our schedule. Our offense is good. Yes, it needs to get somewhat better – fewer fumbles and better play selection, but it has been relatively productive. Our defense keeps putting us in the position to have to come from behind, and that is not good for an option team. We have to find a way to compete defensively when giving up 50 pounds a man on the line. Yet no one seems to be talking about this aspect of our game.

      • Lee Gibson

        Yes I agree those are great sports and they also contribute significantly to Cadet Development. No doubt. I would split hairs and say football is the most violent of any you listed and fairly more complex but that’s neither here nor there. Bottom line team sports are critical to development. And guess what? I expect them to have a level of excellence as well. Our Rugby team traditionally does really well and won a national title a few years back if I remember. However Hockey has had two winning seasons in the last ten. Not excellent. In fact the latest years have been pretty awful Basketball is a great sport too but I’ll save my breath because we know how bad that has been for 4 decades.

        Football is a game of size but we aren’t even close in size to Navy or Air Force so come on. Here’s the ultimate reality of our football program. Everyone says “oh we don’t want to be a factory” or “a path to the NFL” or “we can’t compete”. Our Sagarin Strength of Schedule this year is 114. That’s damn near last in terms of all FBS teams. Of our three wins not one of those teams (Morgan State, LA Tech, or EMU) have defeated an FBS team with a winning record. In fact we lost to Hawaii, Air Force, Temple, all of whom lost more than 10 games. If you take out Stanford we’ve not even played a tough team this year. Ball State is pretty good but they too haven’t played anyone and they cleaned our clocks.

        Our problem isn’t size or scheduling. We aren’t even close to becoming a factory or pumping out guys into the NFL. Hell I’d like to see us try because I don’t think we could make every concession on earth and do it. Honestly. If you completely dropped the requirements you couldn’t do it. We play the worst of the worst and yet we aren’t even competitive with them. Not because of some hidden reason. But because we don’t have the right attitude and culture. Navy wins. AF has a long history of winning. And when we play both we don’t just get beat we often get beat bad and we clearly get beat consistently.

        Make no mistake this argument center’s on football because it’s high profile and it generates revenue and attention to the Academy. No one is bitching about guys getting shots to play pro baseball or guys going to the NHL to play hockey. And certainly no one bitches about a Rhodes Scholar going off to Oxford for two years while his classmates go to Afghanistan. Football is a target because it’s high profile and quite honestly because it stinks. If they could sell 80,000 tickets to the all academy men’s gymnastics meet we’d be having the same conversation about that because they aren’t very good either.

  12. WP80

    We need to decide whether we are going to win or just not do it at all. Football is not a core mission for WP but winning is. The Army leadership lets this go on year after year doing nothing but make the usual bureaucratic excuses then expect us to believe them when they say “this is the year.” This is a failure for the Army’s leadership as well as the Academy leadership. We should never allow this kind of performance in a line unit, why would we accept it at WP? Somewhere in that top-heavy bureaucracy there is a general who gets it (right?).

    Reply
    • John Doe

      There is an old axiom that says you learn more by losing than by winning but considering that we have been losing for twelve years, I am not sure we are learning anything.

      Reply
  13. Matthew Greene

    Ladies and Gentlemen,
    What 2 word come right after the Alma Mater…BEAT NAVY!
    It isn’t compete with Navy, it isn’t try your hardest.
    BLUF: He hasn’t done the job, his win pct is 20% which in DPE gets you a high 0, time to try again.
    There is no substitute to victory. We live by it and we should make sure we enforce it.

    Reply
  14. John DeWitt, USMA '84

    Where the hell is the no face mask, no turf, no running out the clock, very few pads smash mouth, grind it out football of old? This is where we live heart and soul and the only coach that will win is the one that lives there too and makes his players say, “Yes sir! Can I have another!” I am so God Dam Tired!! of seeing Navy (F***ing NAVY!) win that it makes me want to puke! There is no excuse and no difference between the programs except a culture of winning and wanting it more. Instead of giving the “Fatboys” as we use to call them extra rations, special tables and “there, theres” make them lean and hungry. Separate them and make life hard. Basic training times 2. Why does Sprint Football win all the time and the TEAM lose! The little guys, are tougher, want it more, expect to win and reveal in being unknown and underappreciated. Maybe that is the answer. Whatever it is, you have hit it on the head, fire the coach, spend the money, stop making excuse and set an attitude and culture of winning from the Supe on down. And for Christ Sakes BEAT NAVY!

    Reply
    • Carl von Clausewitz

      Sprint Football wins because of LTC Mark West…..hands down. I expect to lose to Navy in swimming (and we have….a lot!). I don’t expect to lose to them in Wrestling like we have….nor Football…..and sure as hell not in Rifle. How’s the baseball team done the past 13 years? Oh, that’s right….phenomenal.

      Reply
  15. Player parent

    Talk to any player under Ellerson off the record and you will hear the reasons Army has lost on his watch. I will not share their stories here. They are hurtful and personal. Leadership needs to interview them directly. This time the problem isn’t USMA culture, it is a coaching fiasco. A disgrace to watch. A nightmare for many players. A diservice to every single man on the football squad. Notice I didn’t say “team.” There currently is no team created by Ellerson or his staff. Don’t get me wrong, the player are brothers and feel each other’s pain. They are a tight group dealing with an impossible situation. They know what is wrong here and would probably love the opportunity to express it but they won’t. That’s not who they are. They have more character in their little finger than most other human beings have. The Corp has no idea what these poor guys have gone through over the years. Sadly, the leadership doesn’t know either. The players have my sincerest respect. I wish them a win against Navy on Dec. 14 but make damn sure Ellerson doesn’t get the credit.

    Reply
    • Tim

      Ive heard similar stories. I heard how ole Buster Hagenbeck told them he would be ashamed to take them into battle. It disgusts me…

      -2011 Grad

      Reply
      • USMA 2000

        Maybe things are much worse at USMA than I thought. Maybe senior leaders are much of leaders at all. If what Tim, “2011 Grad” writes is true, what does that say? If the Supe and others (following the poor command climate set) decide they will destroy rather than unify a team, especially one that’s down, what kind of piss poor leadership is at play? Hell, it’s a wonder we win 3 games a year if senior folks are doing their best to destroy them. I can only hope this isn’t true, but I don’t doubt it.

        Probably another second order effect of the Army deciding to promote the “articulate scholars” over our warriors (not that there’s anything wrong with being articulate or smart – but senior leadership should be warriors first).

  16. Player parent

    Correcting typos to satisfy those that apparently have NEVER made them.
    “the players are brothers” and “The Corps has….”

    Reply
  17. player parent

    Did Hagenbeck hire RE? Sounds like they are one in the same. That would explain a lot. Thank you “Tim” for validating my post.

    Reply
    • Tim

      yep. if you ask me, they should stop making it mandatory for cadets to go to games….that is something that should be earned….you cant force fans to be fans….you have to earn it by being the scrappy, hard working underdog team that Army is famous for being….they are the sons of slum and gravy for crying out loud! they should work their asses off with a competent coach who teaches them to make plays like Navy just did in that last embarrassing two point conversion where they passed to a guy who was wide open. THAT is how you win the cadets over….NOT by forcing us to spend our valuable time going to game after humiliating game, forced to stand the whole time and forced to be motivated….true Team inspiring motivation comes from willing participants who have FIRST been inspired BY THE TEAM! the change needs to start in the Players themselves which can be awoken by a coach who has the fire and the know how to win!……I get my heart wrapped up in finally beating Navy every damn year and every year its the same….fumbles and fear. Thats not the brave old army team. My dad ’68 and brother ’95 told me about….

      -Tim class of 2011

      Reply
  18. George C. Marshall

    “I want an officer for a secret and dangerous mission. I want a West Point Football Player.” GEN George C. Marshall, Chief of Staff US Army

    Reply
  19. Mike Edwards

    The post by “4thgenerationathletegrad” was heartbreaking to read. Primarily because I have heard the exact same thing from my nephew.
    To quote him: “As long as I am an officer in the United States Army, I will NEVER allow a member of my staff that exhibits any characteristic that reminds me of Ellerson to remain so.”

    Reply
  20. George Custer

    I think offensive coordinator Ian Shields should take over. Hes young, triple-option guy, actually has the respect of the players. He knows how to motivate them and get them ready to play. Really limited by RE over the years in terms of opening up the playbook (like throwing a pass downfield). Would love to see him coach.

    Reply
  21. F.I.D.O. Grads know what it is.

    12 straight! I refuse to be humiliated again by watching the ineptness that is Army football. We need to hire a coach who can recruit better athletes. The Homer Smith teams of the 70′s could beat today’s team! Get Ellison and his staff out of there! Signed, Embarrassed ex F-1 Grey Hog.

    Reply
  22. Mark Coon

    What’s ironic is that I have never seen a discussion this lengthy amongst West Point grads on the Army’s embarrassing win loss record in wars post 1945. Maybe that should be the focus…fostering an attitude at the Academy of winning America’s wars, and demanding the immediate firing of our leaders when they don’t get the job done. Yet our bloated Department of Defense is filled to the brim with career officers who have several deployments in the war on terror, with no victories to show for. How ridiculous that we are harder on Ellerson for not beating Navy in a football game. “Enough already. Enough. Stop the insanity.”

    Reply
    • Ferdie Rodriguez

      I don’t think it’s ironic at all. This is a sports blog not a blog about the state of today’s Army and the other military branches. I suspect if many of the people who posted here are like me, they have opined on those more weighty matters in letters to members of Congress, DOD officials, other elected officials, news organizations, and opinion blogs. West Point officials have certainly heard from many of us on not only the state of Army sports, but on things like maintaining a high quality curriculum, the state of the barracks, etc. and while West Point officials don’t seem to listen very well, maybe this time they finally heard us as Ellerson is history. The more general point I see in many of these blog posts is this: West Point holds itself to the highest standards in all areas, and if that is the case, then sports (especially football) should be one of them as well. That doesn’t mean Army should expect to be in a BCS bowl every year. It simply means Army shouldn’t be continually embarrassed on the field or on the court. If West Point can’t (or won’t) adhere to those high standards in these areas then it should consider eliminating them. However, that decision would come with a high price. I really don’t think supporters of West Point want the Academy to go there. The bottom line is that if Navy and Air Force can adhere to high standards and compete well in intercollegiate athletics at the D1 level, Army needs to understand why it apparently can’t.

      Reply
  23. Navy '84

    Wow. As a Navy ’84 grad I see a lot of concerned and serious posts about improving your team, but this vein of defeatism and football bashing is surprising. It’s the kind of talk I would expect from somewhere like Brown University, but not WP. ’04 Grad….there are many qualities which can consititute a successful leader and one of the best is uniquely exhibited in football. It is the only sport in which the majority of participants are not expected to touch the ball, score the points, or get the individual glory. Most guys are expected to simply sacrafice their body so a teammate can get the glory. It is all about being selfless for the better good of the team. Because of this, it embodies one of the best attributes of leadership and military service. It is not the only litmus for measuring cadets or midshipmen, but it’s a good one.
    I remember our game in 1981. We entered the game as 21 point favorites and you tied us 3-3. It was about 5 degrees and you played your asses off. You were outmanned, outgunned, and outstanding. I hated it…..but I could respect the effort, respect the team, respect the cadets.
    It’s hard to respect someone with their chin on their chest. I hope the majority of posters prevail and Army football becomes a contender again…. Go Navy! Beat Army!

    Reply
  24. Fumblerooski

    Boo Corrigan has yet to impress upon me, or anyone else who isn’t severely brain-damaged, exactly why he’s an athletic director ANYWHERE, let alone an evironment like USMA.

    Reply

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