The Meridian Star
On his 13th stop in 25 years, Ken Karcher hopes to have finally found a home in Decatur, the newly named East Central Community College football coach said in a press conference Friday afternoon.
ECCC President Billy Stewart formally introduced Karcher to the media at Thrash Auditorium on the ECCC campus, calling the new head coach a “perfect fit” for the program.
“Following a tedious search, screening and interview process for the position of head football coach, I am very excited today to announce we have made our choice for the man that will lead our football program,” Stewart said. “I am convinced, as are members of our search committee, that we have found the right fit for our program and for our players. Today we will begin a new era.”
Karcher takes over the ECCC program, succeeding Brian Anderson who served as head coach for the past four years. A graduate of Tulane University and a former NFL quarterback with the Denver Broncos, Karcher comes to the Warriors with 22 years of coaching experience including his most recent stint as offensive coordinator at Eastern Michigan University, where he coached the past four seasons.
“It is a very exciting time here,” Karcher said. “The thing I was most impressed with in the interviewing process was Dr. Stewart, as well as Chris Harris, the athletic director, in terms of what they would like to see done here. It’s going to take some time, we realize that, but the leadership has me certainly excited.”
Since starting his career at North Texas State University as a quarterbacks and wide receivers coach, Karcher has made multiple coaching stops, including serving six seasons as head coach at Liberty University where he compiled an overall 21-46 record with two second-place finishes in the Big South Conference. Other notable coaching stops include serving as offensive coordinator for the World League’s Rhein Fire in Dusseldorf, Germany, where he helped lead the Fire a World Bowl appearance in 1997. Karcher was also the quarterbacks coach at Toledo in 2008 when the Rockets upset the University of Michigan.
Karcher recently accepted a head coaching job at King’s Academy in Knoxville, Tenn., on Jan. 15. However, the coach announced in a press release on Wednesday he would not be joining the school for the upcoming season. Karcher said the opportunity ECCC presents, as well as the chance to be nearby his family was something enticing to him.
“We have always loved the South,” Karcher said. “My wife and I met in New Orleans while I was at Tulane. With our girls being up in Mississippi State and our son being over in Birmingham, Ala., we were hoping to find a place within striking distance of them.”
Karcher comes to the Warriors less than two weeks before National Signing Day on Feb. 6. While the head coach recognizes the task at hand, Karcher will look to remain selective in the recruiting process.
“I think the biggest mistake we could make is to panic,” Karcher said. “We recognize where we are, that can’t change. We are going to take our time, and we are going to try and get as many of the right people who need to be in this program. We are going to go to bat with those guys and continue to build this as we move forward.”
A former backup quarterback for the Broncos, Karcher features a pro-style offense scheme and said he looks to create an equal balance between his running and passing game. Karcher spoke with ECCC players briefly before the press conference, where he told the team he is searching for the best players to fill each position.
Karcher takes over a Warrior team that finished the 2012 season with a 3-6 record. The new head coach will look to not only create a winning environment at East Central but also set a goal to bring a championship to the program by 2020.
“The first thing I want help the players realize is where their value is,” Karcher said. “I want them to have pride in being a Warrior. That could be as simple as seeing trash on the ground and picking it up. This is their home, and if we can create pride in the program we will have a chance.
“I’d be foolish to say, next year we are going to win a state championship and move on to win a national championship. That may sound good for a press conference, but I realize where we are. I don’t know how long the process will take. We will work each day to build a building block upon the goal of winning a championship by the year of 2020.”