Eastern is a Division I athletic program in name and only in name.
And it will remain in the limbo between Division I and Division II until it reaches some form of stability across its coaching staff among all sports.
As long as head coaches continue to drop like flies — the way they have the last three months —Eastern won’t even come close to reaching its potential as a Division I university.
No discredit to the coaches who have left Eastern over the last three months in Lee Buchannan (women’s basketball), Summer Perala (women’s soccer) and Kim Schuette (softball). Those coaches had to make decisions which would better theirs and their families’ lives.
But the same can’t be said for the Eastern athletic department, unfortunately. It is near impossible to commit to, attend or root for a university that is constantly rotating new coaches in and out.
Schuette lead Panther softball to a marquee program among the Ohio Valley Conference over an eight-year span. She won the OVC Coach of the Year in 2011 and 2013, as well as two OVC Championships in the last three years of her tenure.
Schuette left to pursue bigger opportunities when she accepted the head coaching position at Purdue — a member of the Big Ten Conference.
Eight years is a respectable time to spend as a head coach at one university. Perala’s four-year stint is also acceptable, though her resignation still has her jobless.
But Buchanan, who left after one season at the helm, still has me flabbergasted. After all, with the hire of new head coach Debbie Black on May 16, there will be three women’s basketball coaches in as many years.
People can only hope that demon will be put to bed for several years to come — while maintaining its familiar success.
With all three scenarios into a three-month frame, that is unacceptable. Three coaches gone within three months — two resigning four days apart from each other.
It is extremely unappealing to anyone interested in coming to Eastern or simply rooting for it.
The Eastern athletic department is essentially screaming out that it lacks one of the most important words in sports: stability.
Maybe every other program should take notes from the football program, seeing as Bob Spoo was head coach for 25 years. But then again, that is an FCS school. Maybe the entire university should move down to Division II.
Or maybe coach Tom Akers and the track and field teams should just continue to carry Eastern athletics like they have for the past 18 years.
Anthony Catezone can be reach at 581-2812 or [email protected]