Army searches, most likely in vain, for a coach to revive its fallen football program

Published: December 19, 2013, 8:20 am, by David Ramsey

DAVIS AND BLANCHARD PHOTO

Army boasts a sensational football past, but we all know the most important tense is the present.

The Black Knights used to win national titles. Now, the Black Knights reside near the bottom of college football.

Rich Ellerson was fired Sunday night after lost 41 of 61 games, including only one win in 10 games against Navy and Air Force. (The lone win came last season against the Falcons.)

Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen Jr serves as the superintendent at West Point. He told The New York Times in an e-mail that he believes Army can “quickly build a winning program.”

Caslen is not one for understatement, as you soon will see:

“When America puts its sons and daughters in harm’s way, they do not expect us to just ‘do our best,’ but to win,” wrote Caslen, appointed superintendent in July. “Nothing short of victory is acceptable. That fundamental ethos is at the heart of this academy. It must be ingrained in every one of our athletic programs. Our core values are duty, honor, country. Winning makes them real.”

I grew up listening to tales of Glenn Davis and Doc Blanchard and the mighty Army teams of the 1940s. Davis might have been the greatest college halfback ever, even ahead of O.J. Simpson and Herschel Walker and Billy Sims.

But I’m skeptical winning days will ever return on a consistent basis at West Point. The academics are rigorous. The area surrounding Army is lacking in big-time recruits.

The main reason I’m skeptical.

I watched the Bobby Ross era at Army. I believed, and still believe, Ross was the ideal coach to lead the Black Knights. He had led Georgia Tech to a share of the 1990 national title. (Sorry, CU.) And he led the San Diego Chargers to the Super Bowl. He was a master coach, a superb disciplinarian.

He finished with nine wins in 34 games at West Point. He retired from Army, and coaching, in 2007.

Can Army find a better coaching candidate out there than Ross?

The answer to that question is simple:

No.