When a team is suffering through a losing streak, it seems more often than not, fans will look to blame someone. Whether it be coaches or players, or possibly the style of play, fans want answers or think they know the answers, and are not shy about letting their "wisdom" be known. A blog covering a particular team is a perfect forum to let fans vent. and while I do not post all of the fan comments, It does seem that there are a good number of experts out there armchair quarterbacking, picking apart certain aspects of Ferrum football.
Folks, it isn't that simple. There may be those who don't agree with who is coaching, or the decisions they make, and there may be those who think the wrong personnel is on the field, but there are usually a lot of factors that can contribute to a teams success or failure. When it comes to Ferrum, there are a variety of factors that influence the perceived "success".
Let's look at a few things that impact athletics at Ferrum College.
LOCATION: It is a beautiful campus, but in a less that urban area to say the least. It, to many high school students that may be interested in going there, is likely too remote, and void of may of the amenities that going to a school closer to a city would offer.
COST: The tuition is a good bit higher than State run colleges for certain. This is a huge factor in a students decision on where he or she will attend.
ACADEMIC OFFERINGS: Ferrum has made huge strides in this area, and continues to work on this. I would venture to say that they are still not on the same class academically as say a Hampden Sydney, or Christopher Newport.
RECRUITING: This was a bright spot for Ferrum this year....as far as numbers go, but recruiting cannot always be about just the numbers. The ability to attract a quality athlete is paramount, and while the D3 school will be hard pressed to attract a Heisman Trophy type candidate, every effort must be made to come as close to that as possible.
Another aspect of recruiting is the ability to recruit and keep good coaches. I do not know the salaries of the Ferrum coaching staff, in fact I have no idea what would even be a good guess, but I was able to find the 2012 salary of the head coach at CNU. Coach Kelchner salary in 2012 was $80,000.00 per year. Now if I did venture a guess as to how Harper's salary compares to that, I would say there would be quite a gap to say the least. I doubt Harper is anywhere near that level of pay, and I would also guess that there is a comparable gap in the assistant salaries. If there are schools that are willing to pay huge money at the D3 level, Ferrum will suffer through having many Ralph Isernea' quality coaches use Ferrum as a stepping stone to move to something better. We have to be able to attract AND retain good coaches to be successful.
FACILITIES- The strides Ferrum has made in this department gets the an A+ in my book. This area has been a huge priority for the college and it has paid off. There have been wonderful advancements, in the athletic facilities, and I do not think that this effort has ended. There are long range plans to have lights at W.B. Adams Stadium, as well as possibly artificial turf. My understanding is that Ferrum will be looking for specifically targeted donations if these additions will come to pass.
These are just some of the issues that Ferrum faces. There are a lot of factors that go into the success of a team. It is not always the X's and O's, or who is drawing them that determines success.