Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era
Colby resigns at MU
To coach defensive linemen at Illinois Colby resigns at MU BY JOEL SCHREINER, Sports Correspondent
When the Millersville University football team takes the field next fall, it will do so with its fourth new head coach in 13 seasons.
Greg Colby resigned Friday after five years at the helm of the Marauders. Starting Monday, he will take over as the defensive line coach at the University of Illinois, his alma mater.
Millersville defensive coordinator Ron Rankin has been named interim coach.
"It's not something I was looking to do," Colby said Friday evening. "It happened so fast. It was too good of an opportunity to turn down."
Colby was approached about the opening last week by a current member of the Illini coaching staff, interviewed there Tuesday and was offered the gig late Thursday night.
A 1975 graduate of Illinois, Colby returned and served as an assistant coach from 1988-1995. He came to Millersville in 2008 for his first collegiate head coaching job after spending six seasons as the defensive coordinator at Northwestern.
"It's tough to leave here," he said of Millersville. "You kind of feel like you are leaving unfinished business here."
In his five seasons at MU, the Marauders went 11-44 overall and were just 6-29 in the PSAC East.
"It was frustrating not being able to turn things around," said Colby. "It's been frustrating and at the same time it's been an eye-opener for me. I've learned maybe I am better as a position coach and maybe I wasn't the right guy for the job."
Colby was the third coach hired in hopes of righting the Marauder ship since the late Gene Carpenter retired following the 2000 season, the last winning season in MU history.
Colby took over for Joe Trainer, who lasted just three seasons, going 13-20. Prior to Trainer, Kevin Kiesel posted a 15-27 mark in four seasons.
Since the turn of the century, Millersville is 39-91 overall and 23-53 in the PSAC East, while posting no more than three conference wins in any of the 12 seasons.
"The University stands firmly behind our football program, and we will work quickly to conduct a national search for a new head coach," said Vice President of Student Affairs, Dr. Aminta Hawkins-Breaux in a press release. "While we're sad to see Coach Colby go, we know our student athletes will be in good hands with Coach Rankin."
Rankin, a member of the Marauder staff for 14 years, served as the defensive coordinator the past two seasons and has also coached the defensive line, offensive line and special teams.
Colby, like Trainer and Kiesel before him, could only do so much with the hand he was dealt. While some PSAC schools are utilizing the maximum 36 football scholarships, Colby said he had seven to work with and tried to come up with different ways of distributing them to get the most bang for the buck.
"The program is getting better, slowly, from a financial standpoint," said Colby, who credited alumni and the Carpenter Foundation for helping make that happen. "If the money situation improves, at least maybe they can be more competitive."
If it doesn't, the new head coach could face the same dilemma Colby dealt with each week, trying to keep his undermanned squad motivated, despite what he called "the odds stacked against them."
"I know the program will get turned around," he said. "There's enough good people working to make it happen."
Colby, however, will no longer be one of them.