Army fires coach Rich Ellerson

Updated: December 16, 2013, 5:50 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Army has fired Rich Ellerson after five seasons, the school confirmed Sunday.

Ellerson was 20-41 at Army, including 0-5 against Navy.

The firing comes one day after Army lost 34-7 to Navy, the Black Knights' 12th straight loss in the lopsided series.

[+] EnlargeRich Ellerson
AP Photo/Matt RourkeRich Ellerson's 34-7 loss to Navy on Saturday turned out to be his last game on Army's sideline.

"I love that football team,'" Ellerson said after the game. "I want desperately for them to have a better feeling today. That's what is killing me."

Army finished 3-9 this season.

"Obviously, in the body of work, we've made some progress," Ellerson said Saturday. "But I wasn't brought in to make progress. I was brought in to win some football games and beat Navy. I've lost to our rival five times."

The Midshipmen haven't lost to Army since 2001 and lead the series 58-49-7. Navy's 12-game run is the longest in the history of the rivalry that began in 1890.

"I thought we closed the gap the last two years, but that gap opened back up," Ellerson said.

In 2010, Ellerson led Army to its first bowl win since 1985 by beating SMU in the Armed Forces Bowl. But the last three years, Army went 8-28.

The triple-option wasn't the problem. Ellerson's offense averaged more than 300 yards rushing the past three seasons, but the rest of the team never developed. He had two years left on his contract.

"Rich Ellerson has represented West Point and the Army football program extremely well since taking over as our head coach five years ago," Army athletic director Boo Corrigan said in a statement. "Unfortunately, our team has not experienced the level of success on the football field that we expect, and we feel it is necessary to make a change in the leadership at this time."

Corrigan said deputy athletic director Col. Joe DeAntona will assume day-to-day operations of the football program until a new coach is hired.

Ellerson, 60, came to Army after eight seasons in charge of Cal Poly, where he went 56-34 with two NCAA playoff appearances.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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