YSU makes Wolford’s firing official

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Youngstown State University Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Ron Strollo announced on Tuesday that Head Football Coach Eric Wolford will not return for the 2015 season.

The Penguins ended the 2014 campaign with a 7-5 overall mark and a 4-4 record in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. Wolford ends his five-season YSU tenure with an overall record of 31-26 while posting a mark of 18-22 in conference games.

“I would like to thank Coach Wolford for the passion and energy he brought to the head football coaching position at YSU,” Strollo said in a news release. “He never wavered in trying to build a program that our community could be proud of and was committed to do it the right way.”

Wolford said he was appreciative of the chance to bring his family back to his hometown and coach the Penguins. He grew up in Brookfield and is a 1989 graduate of Ursuline High School.

“I was very proud to serve as the head football coach at Youngstown State the past five years,” Wolford said. “I understand what the expectations are here at YSU, and I spent every moment in my tenure working to get the program back on solid ground. I’d like to thank our student-athletes who made a commitment to come to YSU as well as the community and the university for its support. I wish the best for our football student-athletes going forward and hope they continue to build on what we started here.”

Under his direction, the Penguins defeated top-ranked North Dakota State in Fargo late in the 2011 campaign, opened the 2012 season with a win over Pittsburgh at Heinz Field and were 8-1 in 2013 and 7-2 in 2014 at the outset of those seasons.

Strollo said the structure is in place for YSU to achieve success in the near future. In the past five years, YSU has added an indoor football facility (the WATTS), enhanced the coaching staff’s offices and meeting spaces, added state-of-the-art conditioning and rehabilitation equipment to the Athletic Training Room, increased the size of the Stambaugh Stadium weight room and most recently created a dining hall to improve the nutrition of the student-athletes of all athletic teams.

A national search will begin immediately and could take up to a month.

Several potential candidates that have been mentioned in multiple national reports include former YSU Assistant Coach Brian Wright (currently Florida Atlantic Associate Head Coach & Offensive Coordinator), and Luke Fickell (Current Ohio State Defensive Coordinator & Linebackers Coach).

Wolford’s Milestones
2011 – Penguins defeated a top-ranked team during the regular season for the first time in school history. The Penguins defeated No. 1 North Dakota State, 27-24, on Nov. 12 in the Fargodome.

2012 – YSU earned the school’s first-ever win over a BCS program when they defeated Big East member Pitt Panthers, 31-17, at Heinz Field.

2013 – The Penguins started Missouri Valley Football Conference play 5-0 for the first time in school history.

Eric Wolford’s Overall Record
2010 – 3 Wins, 8 Losses
2011 – 6 Wins, 5 Losses
2012 – 7 Wins, 4 Losses
2013 – 8 Wins, 4 Losses
2014 – 7 Wins, 5 Losses

Wolford was the sixth head coach for YSU.

Previous coaches include:
Dwight “Dike” Beede – 1938-1972
Rey Dempsey – 1973-1974
Bill Narduzzi – 1975-1985
Jim Tressel – 1986-2000
Jon Heacock – 2001-2009

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