Monday, September 30, 2013

What Appears To Be The Problem, May Not Tell All Of The Story

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 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.

Go Panthers!!


  1. There is a great deal of truth to the points made above in this post. Location is a blessing and a curse. Bringing city kids to the country probably isn’t a great success story. Cost isn’t as big of an issue as it would seem. Many of the kids in DIII programs receive plenty of financial aid; grants, loans, work share opportunities and even scholarship dollars. End of the day, Ferrum is as assessable and affordable per student as many of its peer institutions. The class offerings are more than suitable to sustain a football team. Football rosters are made up of Communications Majors, Teaching degree candidates and Computer Sciences majors . Ferrum’s programs are more than adequate for these degrees. As far as recruiting and coaching goes, that’ll be touched upon a bit later. Facilities? Ferrum is as good as or better than every other school in USAC, sans maybe CNU. NC Wesleyan and Greensboro play at high school fields! Be very proud of what you have built and what you plan to build.
    Good teams, particularly teams that win year over year, are grown organically with boys who want to be at the school FOR school. Player retention is high and MANY of the youngsters become MEN in the program and earn their degree. Talent and Character are very much two different things. Having been involved with amateur sports off all types for 20 + years and only absent pure scientific data, I’ll take kids of character over “talented” kids all day, every day. Take a hard working kid with a strong constitution and keep him for 4 or 5 years. That’s how you GROW a team that continuously feeds itself, polices itself and forms a unified bond that becomes a culture; a culture of winning and producing quality young men.
    170 kids in camp?!?! I suggested in a much earlier post this was WAY too many for a staff of 6 or 7 coaches to manage. 170 kids without the ability to manage themselves (as freshman and knuckleheads tend to be delivered to you with little or no self management skills) and you have nothing more than a 3.5 week free-for-all. BUT, the school makes a bunch of much needed revenue. In D III, a player ain’t a player until that bed is paid for and that bed ain’t paid for until the financial aid or the cash from the parents hits the till. Therein lays the problem. I would safely bet of those 170 in camp in August, no more than 100 remain TODAY and no more 80 will be around by the end of this season but THE MONEY STAYS AT THE SCHOOL. That isn’t GROWING a team with men of character, that’s GROWING a revenue stream with characters who want to be men on the team.
    It isn’t the coaches. David Harper is one of the most standup individuals one will ever meet. His assistants are as good as any other D III assistants in the conference. The problem is the players and the self fulfilling prophecy that Ferrum football has become. Fix the problem by sticking with 80-90 boys who want to become men in the program. Fund the school in some other manner besides 170 “recruits” in football camp. Shoot, in D III, they aren’t even recruits as much as players with nowhere else to go.
    Get player retention up to 75-85%. Here’s the recipe! Target to allow only the right 25 freshmen come aboard next fall. Start with 80 of the most high character kids on the team at the end of the year, hoping that 80% or 64 of them can or do comeback, plus your 25 select freshmen to focus on QUALITY. Year 2, keep 80% of the 89 players from year 1 and bring in another 25 of the right freshman and keep 80% of that 104 or 84 players. Year 3 reload another quality 25 freshman to the 84 you have and keep 85% or 92 players to start Year 4. Year 4, 25 right freshmen added to your 92 gives you 117 BUT, and this is the key thing and for the first time in a LONG time, if ever, Ferrum has a Senior Class of 18 – 22 MEN who have been around the program for a few years. That is growing a team, instilling a systemic approach and the road map to winning.

  2. Allan, you must think that we are stupid or don't know what is going on here??? I see a team that has coaches in which are outdated, and refuse to make any changes at all!! This isn't the good ole boy network like years ago because after all when you make enough backdoor deals it catches up to you!!! So you listed above YOUR reasons why ferrum can compete. Here are some real facts that will put your conclusions to shame.

    First I would like you to know that calling us armchair qb's or making conclusions and judgements about this team at least for me is not right!!! Understand I was on the staff and know a lot more than on the surface and how everything has gone down over the past 15years!!!

    Location: I don't see that being the problem. The players can hop in a car and go out and do whatever whenever.

    Cost: For years the price has risen and the coaches work with the financial aid people to get it done at least for the good ones and they make sure to get their kids back at any cost.

    Academic offerings: Well lets just say most of them are a major of sports science and only a hand full takes a chance in a major like computer information systems or something hard that requires a brain. Most of these players have a hard time just keeping a 2.0 and can't stay off of academic probation.

    Recruiting: Well homer, your dead wrong in that department. Do your homework on salaries!!! Yes CNU pays their coaches much more because they get state funding!!! So Harper doesn't get that 80k, but he does work for about 50-62K a year, while the other coaches work for about 25k a year. Also like one coach tells his recurits: " I know you can play football, I want you to come to play football for us, I want you and your family to come in for a visit and we will work out the rest."
    So if you think lying to your recruits and fatting up financial aids offers to get players to come go ahead.

    As for facilities: Thank god they did something. The gym needs more help and people like me will give money to get that done and not by the methods that norton complex was built. You go sniffing around enough homer you will find out the true reasoning of how and why that complex was built as well as why certain people are in certain positions.

    So understand something Ferrum is a dumping ground for players who kiss ass to the coaches and nothing and I mean nothing changes. Now you will see how bad things get at ferrum as they continue to lose and that support will disappear as well as the cash!!!! People like you who think that you know it all well your fucking wrong and for what I have told you is all true!!! All you have to do is to go ask them. As in dave, bob, cleve, pete, and bobby!!!! You think you know it all you don't have a clue how bad and pathetic ferrum is and now things are going to get!!! Also when Ralph was there he was know as "the fixer" Ask the coaches why they gave him that name!!!

  3. Everything you mention in this post- you could change the name from Ferrum and replace with Emory and Henry.

    It appears Emory and Henry doesn't have a problem getting and retaining quality recruits and is not rebuilding its team each year. Why is that?

    As far as the assitant coaches- you've basically got 3 groups at the D3 level:
    1- Older coaches who have made their mark elsewhere and are basically just looking for something to do- they love to coach football and money is not the number one priority.
    2- Younger hungry assistant coaches who stay 4 or 5 years and prove themselves as competent and innovative. They move on to bigger and better positions- striving to be a head coach.
    3- The inbetween-ers. The assistant coach who's content on being an assistant coach at D3 for his entire career and is out of touch with being innovative and staying on top of things.

    I would say you want a healthy mixture of the #1 and #2 group of assistant coaches. You can guess where I'm going with this when it comes to Ferrum's defense.