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Posted on Wed, Apr 6, 2011 : 1:55 p.m.

Charles Ramsey 'at peace' with Eastern Michigan's decision to fire him

By Pete Cunningham

Hours after being fired as the Eastern Michigan University basketball coach, Charles Ramsey was upbeat and positive.

“I'm really at peace. It’s not the end of the world," Ramsey said in a telephone interview with "There’s a lot of people in a lot worse shape than I am.”

“Am I disappointed? Yeah. But in my 28 years (of coaching), this is the first time I’ve been through this, so I think I’ll recover.”


Eastern head coach Charles E. Ramsey shouts from the sideline during a game in January. He was fired Wednesday morning.

Melanie Maxwell |

Ramsey, 50, said the most disappointing aspect of the firing, which the school announced Wednesday morning, was its timing. The recently-completed Final Four in Houston is a traditional place for displaced coaches to make contacts.

That would have also been a place where Ramsey could have lobbied for his assistant coaches -- Derrick McDowell, Carl Thomas and Andrew Moore -- to find work, he said. Associate athletic director for media relations Jim Streeter confirmed that assistants coaches have also been fired and will receive one month of severance pay.

“If you know you’re going to be unemployed, you have the time to take your resume, circulate it, talk to certain head coaches and advocate for my assistants for job openings," he said. "Now, with the Final Four over, it’s a little more difficult to do those things.”

Ramsey was fired after compiling a 68-118 record in six years, including a 37-62 Mid-American Conference mark. His best season was 2009-2010, when the Eagles were 17-15 (8-8). Last season, Eastern finished 9-22 overall (5-11 MAC).

“No regrets, no regrets, no regrets. As coaches and competitors, we all want to win more," Ramsey said. "But guess what? Five of the six years previous to us, the team finished in last place. We never finished in last place and played for a West Division title a couple of times. We came up short, a couple times.”

Ramsey, an Ypsilanti native and Eastern Michigan graduate, says he leaves the position proud of his "academic clean-up" of the program. With four players scheduled to graduate this year, Ramsey said -- and media relations director Greg Steiner confirmed -- all 21 of the players he brought into the program will have graduated. That number does not include players who have yet to be on campus for four seasons.

“As an alumni, I’m proud to say that I left the program (academically) in much better shape than when I came in," Ramsey said. “Whoever they decide to go with will come in under much, much smother circumstances and be able to really focus on coaching basketball early on and not have to clean it up.”

The Eagles had the MAC's lowest four-year rolling Academic Performance Rate, an NCAA measurement of academic success, before Ramsey's arrival.

Ramsey will be paid $176,416, the balance of the remaining year on his contract. That figure upset Eastern Michigan regent Jim Stapleton, who told the Detroit Free Press that letting Ramsey complete his contract would have been the fiscally responsible thing for the university to do.

Ramsey says the payout provides him the opportunity to figure out with his wife, Allison, what comes next.

"My phone has already started ringing, which is the ironic thing,” he said. “I want to coach and be a part of the influence on young people, so whatever direction that takes me, I’ll try and go. The luxury I have is that I don’t have to dive into something, but I’ve always worked, so I want to get back into it sooner than later.”

Pete Cunningham covers sports for Contact him at 734-623-2561 or



Sun, Apr 10, 2011 : 11:34 p.m.

Sorry to inform you coach but the rest of us that work in the real world are only given 2 weeks, less if we work in a right to work state. Count yourselves lucky and let it go at that. IT has been 6 long and boring years I had such high hopes when you were hired.

Rob Pollard

Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 12:15 a.m.

To amplify what chapmaja said: - EMU's Men's Swimming &amp; Diving, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, and Cross-Country are by far the best programs in the MAC. - EMU has also held its own in baseball, men's golf, and women's swimming and diving. Those aren't revenue sports, but the top programs literally produce Olympians and should continue to be a highlight of the school. Hopefully, EMU will get back to respectability in men's b-ball (where they were in the Grant Long to Earl Boykins days) and (longshot) football, but that shouldn't overshadow that this &quot;commuter&quot; school has some good athletics. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Wed, Apr 6, 2011 : 11:07 p.m.

Bill is just one more person who doesn't look beyond the two highest profile sports to see the entire athletic department. Yes football and basketball have been between terrible and not good for years and years, but here are some hhighlights of EMU athletics that people like Bill may not know of because they think all EMU athletic programs are terrible. Since 1980 EMU has NOT won the MAC Title only 4 times. In 31 years that means they have won the title 27 times. Of those 4 losses they have all be close losses. They lost by 6.5 points (720.5 to 714) in 1997. They lost by 30 points in 1999 and in 2006 they lost by 7.5 points. This year they lwere the furthest from a title since the 1970's when they were beaten by 78 points. The cross country program has been similarly good, as has the track program over the years. EMU has been very solid in the Olympic sports even if they traditionally aren't good in football and basketball.


Wed, Apr 6, 2011 : 10:33 p.m.

Bill--you do relaize that the quality of academics is a result of the athletic program, right? The shool gets MILLIONS of dollars in grants from the NCAA for sponsoring athletics teams. Also, there are plenty of great teams at EMU, but people don't care to look any further than the tips of their noses (basketball and football) when they talk about the quality of a school's athletic programs. Being an alum, I would appreciate if you took the initiative to follow (or at least check) EMU Athletics before making irresponsible statements like &quot;Let it go... .&quot;


Thu, Apr 7, 2011 : 3:10 a.m.

It would be nice if that were true, but it's not. Only a small handful of universities break even or turn a profit on athletics. U-M is one of them, but Eastern is not. This information is easily available from a number of sources, such as this one: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> I'm not anti-athletics at all, but I am pro-reality.

Wolf's Bane

Wed, Apr 6, 2011 : 7:53 p.m.

I love Eastern! I enjoyed going there for my undergraduate degree ('95)! The one thing I would add to this story and any other story that has to do with the Athletics and Eastern is that they do not go well together. Eastern is a fantastic commuter school and has a sophisticated science program, chemistry, and teaching program, but it always suffered in athletics. Always. Let it go Eastern, focus on what you're great at!!!