Morgan State fires football coach Fred Farrier, names defensive coordinator as interim replacement

From Sun staff and news reports

Morgan State announced Monday the firing of head football coach Fred Farrier. Associate head coach Ernest Jones will serve as the interim coach for the 2018 season.

“After having an in-depth opportunity to fully assess all aspects of our football program for the past year, we have decided to go in a new direction” athletic director Edward Scott said in a release. “We thank Coach Farrier for his contributions and service to Morgan State University and our football team. We are confident that Coach Jones and the remaining coaches on staff are committed to serving the scholar-athletes in our football program throughout this period of transition.”

Jones, who also served as the team’s defensive coordinator, will assume the interim role while a search is conducted for a permanent replacement.

Farrier became the 14th head coach in program history in December 2016. He arrived in 2014 as offensive coordinator, and in February 2016 replaced then-head coach Lee Hull, who left to become an assistant with the Indianapolis Colts.

As interim coach the following season, Farrier guided the Bears to a 3-8 overall record and a 3-5 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference mark. In April 2016, the NCAA banned Morgan State from postseason play for subpar academic progress. That December, 15 Bears were named to the MEAC All-Academic Team.

This year, Farrier’s first full season after having the interim tag removed, Morgan State went 1-10, finishing last in the MEAC.

Before joining the Bears in 2016, Jones was the head coach at ASA Miami, a two-year college. He worked briefly as the running backs coach for Connecticut in 2014 after a three-year stint as Notre Dame’s director of player development and engagement.

Jones resigned at UConn after igniting a controversy with his comments on religion in the huddle. In January 2014, he told the Hartford Courant that “we’re going to make sure [players] understand that Jesus Christ should be in the center of our huddle, that that’s something that is important.”

Then-UConn head coach Bob Diaco said Jones’ resignation a month after his comments was “entirely family and personally related.” Asked by the Courant whether the resignation had anything to do with Jones’ comments on religion, UConn president Susan Herbst said it did not, according to a university spokesperson.

During 2010-11, Jones was associate head coach of the University of Buffalo. He also coached the Bulls cornerbacks and served as recruiting coordinator.

Jones’ other head coaching experience came at Alcorn State in 2008. He was fired Dec. 11, 2009 — exactly a year after being hired as Braves coach — after finishing the season 2-10. He appealed the firing to a university grievance committee, which held a hearing on his employment status. He remained head coach through that process before university officials announced his termination in late January.

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