YPSILANTI, Mich. (AP) — Eastern Michigan’s new football coach, Chris Creighton, wants his team to have the attitude that it will play anyone, anywhere.
“We’ll play in a parking lot on glass,” he said.
Creighton’s attempts to change the culture within the Eagles’ football program led to the school announcing Thursday it will replace its artificial turf with FieldTurf that looks like concrete. The project in Ypsilanti, Michigan, is scheduled to begin in July. The school was already planning to replace the 9-year-old surface at Rynearson Stadium this year.
Boise State, which has blue turf, is among the schools that have surfaces in their football stadiums that are not a traditional shade of green.
Creighton was hired in December after leading Drake to a 44-22 record over six seasons. He also was a head coach at Wabash College and Ottawa University.
Creighton replaced Ron English, who was 11-46 in five seasons and was fired last season in part for using inappropriate language during a film session with defensive backs.
Eastern Michigan’s new coach faces a stiff challenge to win at a school that has struggled to have success, but he does not seem to have to worry about his words getting him in trouble.
“I don’t use profanity,” he said. “I cussed like a sailor until I was 16. I just stopped, but I’m not a soft coach.”
And, the Eagles do not seem to be soft.
When its football field was blanketed by several inches of snow in February, the football team went outside for workouts.
“It was a day I’ll never forget,” Creighton said. “The strength coach started ribbing guys after we stretched, saying, ‘When we played, we would be out there in the snow.’ And the guys said, ‘We’ll go out in the snow.’ That resonated with the guys and when it was decided that we were getting new turf, I said, ‘Let’s make it look like a parking lot.’ We’ll have green end zones and it will be beautiful and tough at the same time.”