After much anticipation and speculation, the University on Thursday announced the appointment of Christopher Krich as head football coach.
Krich served as defensive coordinator for five seasons at Millikin University in Illinois and in the same position for three seasons at Lakeland College in Wisconsin.
At Lakeland, Krich helped the program to a 23-8 overall record and two Wisconsin Valley Conference titles.
“We are thrilled that Coach Chris Krich will be joining the Leopard family,” Athletic Director Julie Kline said in a press release.
She could not be reached for comment by press time.
“Coach Krich brings with him a balanced philosophy that is consistent with providing the highest level of experience for the young men in our football program,” Kline’s statement said.
“He has first-hand experience with what it takes to build a successful football program and his understanding of coaching the game of football and all that is involved with transforming a Division III football program will allow for a much quicker, smoother and effective transition as he takes over the reins here at La Verne.”
Krich will take over the team after four unsuccessful and disappointing seasons under former head coach Andrew Ankeny.
The Leopards went 4-32 under Ankeny and endured a 19-game losing streak, which was finally snapped in the last game of the 2010 season, beating Whittier, 49-23.
“A lot of us came from winning high school programs and then to come here it was different,” junior linebacker Fillip Marcelin said.
“It’s a good change,” senior receiver Cedric Ho said. “A lot of the things he said in the meeting were positive. He talked about what the team needs to have success.”
Krich met with several La Verne players prior to being hired and he was not the only one. After potential head coaches met with Kline, they met with players to discuss what they would bring to the program.
Some of the players found out like the rest of the University, through the athletics department’s website.
“I don’t really know much about him, but he sounds like he’s pretty good,” junior defensive back Ryan Baranek said. “I don’t think it can get any worse. We needed change and a new coach will put us in the right direction.”
There is a new sense of hope and optimism among some of the players, who are eager for change and the Krich era to begin.
“It’s definitely a step in the right direction,” junior quarterback Thomas Arguello said. “With the old coach people were set in their ways. We needed a change of energy and atmosphere.”
“Hell yeah, I am very excited,” Marcelin said. “I feel good about the change. Change is good, especially in this case. It wasn’t a talent issue.”
“It’s about X’s and O’s,” Ho added.
With Krich’s positive track record at Division II and III programs, the Leopards expect to leave the losing seasons behind and move to the top of the conference.
“I expect to win SCIAC,” Marcelin said. “No one should have any less expectations. We have a legit chance to win next season.”
Elsie Ramos can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.