Morgan State announced Monday afternoon that Donald Hill-Eley will not return as the football program’s head coach.
Hill-Eley, who went 59-76 in 12 years leading the Bears, was informed of the university’s decision around noon.
“I appreciate the opportunity that Morgan has provided my family and the opportunity to help educate and raise men,” Hill-Eley, 44, said. “I’m just fortunate enough that I was able to return the program better than what they gave me. It’s time for a new chapter.”
Last November, Hill-Eley accidentally received an email outlining the administration’s plan to find his replacement. After remaining in limbo for two months, the university agreed to honor the final year of his contract.
Hill-Eley, whose team defeated Delaware State, 31-26, Saturday to finish the season 5-7, said he knew the end was near.
“I talked to the athletic director [Floyd Kerr on Sunday] and he informed me that his recommendation is that I wouldn’t be back to coach,” Hill-Eley said. “From what he told me, it was accepted by the vice president and the president.”
Hill-Eley had been scheduled to meet with university president David Wilson on Dec. 11 to discuss his future, but the administration elected to accelerate the process of finding a replacement.
“We are grateful for Donald Hill-Eley’s 12 years of commitment to this university,” Kerr said in a statement distributed by the university. “I join hundreds of former athletes, graduates, coaches and Bears fans in thanking Coach Hill-Eley for his service to Morgan.”
The school said an acting head coach will be named in a few weeks but that there is no timetable for the formation of a university-wide search committee and the hiring of a permanent coach.
This fall, the Bears lost their first five games, but they won three of their last four and went 5-3 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, marking their first winning season in the conference since 2004. Hill-Eley had a 44-49 record in the MEAC.
Hill-Eley, who said he thought he deserved another chance, also said he feels the school has not provided the program the resources to be successful.
“You’ve got a 10th-place budget out of 11 teams and you finish third,” he said. “The thing about is, I’m not the one that grants the chances or the opportunities. It’s up to the administration.”
Hill-Eley said he will still have a presence on campus.
“I have some I’s to dot and T’s to cross,” he said. “I’ve got to finish up my doctorate [in higher education administration], and that should be finished by the summer. So I’ll continue to do that and just find a place that’s looking for a coach to educate and develop men out of their student-athletes. I’m sure there’s somebody or some program out there that fits my pedigree and I’ll end up somewhere and I’ll end up doing the same thing I’ve been blessed to do.”Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun