Ellerson: "I'm a Triple Option Guy"

Army officially introduced Rich Ellerson as its head football coach Tuesday afternoon in Randall Hall on the West Point campus. Ellerson, who was the head coach at Cal Poly for the past eight seasons, brings his triple option offense and swarming defensive philosophy to the banks of the Hudson in the hopes of turning the program into a winner once again.

And even though the last five Army coaches only averaged 2 wins in each of their first seasons, Army AD Kevin Anderson expects Ellerson to win now.

Calling him "the best of the best," Anderson said Ellerson was a "dynamic leader" and a skillful "salesperson" who shared his own sense of urgency.

"When we sat down, one of the things he presented to us was that he knew this was going to be a difficult job, but that the expectations were that we needed to win right away," said Anderson.  "I don't think there is any added pressure to Rich because from the beginning it was very clear that was what we were looking for."

Ellerson did not waste any time talking about the expectations placed on him as he used his opening statement to address the subject.

"I'll speak to expectations. Expect that this adventure is going to be difficult. It is going to be hard. And expect to win," said Ellerson, the 36th head coach in the history of the Army program.

Leaving Cal Poly for West Point was a natural decision for Ellerson considering his ties to the Academy.

"I grew up with that special connection to Army Football. At that age, watching my big brother captain the Army football team, living on Army posts, it was just the biggest thing in our life. It was the foundation of my football experience, not just my Army football experience, and obviously, football is a big part of my life," said Ellerson.

Another appealing part of the job for Ellerson was his belief that it won't be an easy one.

"It is a great challenge, and the fact that this is tough is appealing. This is going to take some creativity and some things I think I do well, but we'll find out. More than any other place in America, this is an important job. This is the United States Military Academy. We're playing football. We need to be good at this. We need to be. Everybody wants to win. We need to."

One of the first steps in that process for Army's new head coach will be to meet his current players including those at the prep school in Fort Monmouth, New Jersey.

"The first thing I have to do is recruit the football team I just inherited and get to know these guys. The next order of business is to get to the prep school and recruit those guys. While this is going on, we've got to be increasing the size of our pool as we look for that class that is going to be impacting the football team in years to follow," said Ellerson.

"With the players at the prep school, some of those jobs are done. They have been evaluated and are in the loop and are on their way. I've got to continue to recruit those guys and articulate what is going to happen during their Army football life once they get here so that they are looking forward to and are committed to that and continue with the path they are on," he added.

Although Ellerson did not make any announcements regarding the make-up of his coaching staff, he did say that he will utilize the current staff in place to help him get to know the players and to assess the talent already at West Point. Ellerson did acknowledge that he intends to have a diverse staff which will include "a number of guys" that "either coached or played at an Academy."

Regardless of who will be on his staff, chances are Ellerson will be surrounding himself with a lot of coaches with experience running, and perhaps even defending, the triple option.

"I'm a triple option guy, and our triple option looks similar to some other team that we see every once in awhile, but it is not exactly alike. We are similar to, but are still unique, even in that realm. We believe the reason that offense is successful and appropriate for an academy carries over to other phases of the game, defensively and in the kicking game, and therefore carries over into the recruiting process. It is a great fit. What we do fits well with the academy at every level.


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