Under normal circumstances, the hiring of David Elson as Western’s head football coach wouldn’t warrant public celebration.
Elson is a well-regarded coach, a familiar face to the returning Hilltoppers, and the quickly-signed contract probably saved spring practice.
It was a no-brainer, right? Just the athletic department doing its job. No big deal.
But considering how the athletic department truly demonstrated no brains the last time it went off campus to fill a high-profile coaching position –?remember former women’s basketball coach Shawn Campbell? –?the landing of Elson is worthy of a hearty ovation.
Unlike the seemingly endless search that eventually unearthed the comically inept Campbell — who packed more controversy into a 25-game reign of terror than most coaches do in their entire careers — Western acted fast, identified the top available candidates and just might have done the best thing for the program.
Elson, the defensive coordinator for Western’s 2002 Division I-AA national title who briefly left the Hill for a position at I-A West Virginia, should provide a relatively seamless transition as the Hilltoppers prepare for their championship encore.
His hiring represents the athletic department’s sensitivity to the desires of Western’s players and to the legacy of the suddenly departed Jack Harbaugh, who single-handedly saved the program from elimination nearly a decade ago.
There’s no reason to think Elson will go the way of Campbell, whose only positive effect on Western athletics was paving the way for current women’s head coach Mary Taylor Cowles to claim that job.
The surprising loss of Harbaugh left Western with a messy situation.
But after a prompt and promising resolution, it looks like the athletic department may have learned its lesson from the Campbell debacle.
It looks like Elson is the best man for the job. And that’s reason enough to stand up and cheer.
This editorial represents the majority opinion of the Herald’s 10-member board of student editors.