MSU fired Head Coach Rob Ash of the Cats football team on Monday, Nov. 23. Athletic director Peter Fields made the announcement last week following a defeat at the paws of MSU’s rivals, the University of Montana Grizzlies. Fields said that he made his decision to fire Ash due to the fact that the team didn’t meet performance expectations during this season. Fields said, “We’re not going to win the championship every year, but we should be in the mix every year. With the resources that we put into it, we should.”
Ash’s record over his seasons at Montana State was 70-38, and he helped the team to at least a share of league titles from 2010-2012, and again in 2014. However, his late-season performance has been subpar as of late, winning only four out of 13 games in the final month of the last three seasons.
Fields voiced that firing Ash was a difficult decision. He lauded Ash’s personality, saying that Ash is “a good person, and he’s a competitor and he’s invested in what he does and believes in what he does.”
Despite a great record overall, Ash’s Bobcats had a record of 4-14 against rivals University of Montana and Eastern Washington, which played a large role in Fields’ evaluation of the program. The Cat’s 5-6 record this past season and a stagnancy in late season play played in recent years also were a part of the decision to fire Ash.
Ash came to MSU in 2007 following drug scandals involving football players and poor academ in the mid 2000’s. He was tasked with increasing athletes’ academic performance as well as bettering the program’s image off-field after coming to MSU from Drake in 2007.