Falwell fires football coach, two administrators

Updated: November 19, 2005, 1:31 PM ET
Associated Press

LYNCHBURG, Va. -- The Rev. Jerry Falwell cleaned house at Liberty University's athletic department, firing the football coach and two top administrators while another resigned.

"For the past year we have been very unhappy with the direction of football here," Falwell said Friday in a phone interview with The Associated Press. "We have good men ... but we just have different philosophies of getting to where we want to go. ... We want to go I-A."

"We're winning in everything except in football," he added. "So we've taken a clean sweep."

Coach Ken Karcher's dismissal came two days before the Flames' final game at Norfolk State. Karcher, who is 21-45 in six years at Liberty and 1-9 this season, was given the news before practice Thursday. He declined comment.

Karcher was in the first year of a four-year contract. He signed an extension in December despite three losing seasons in his first five years.

Athletic director Thom Park resigned and two associate athletics directors were fired.

"We're not even playing par I-AA football here, so obviously we have to start over, and that's what we're doing," said Falwell, chancellor of the school he founded.

The school's athletic program lost $7.4 million in 2004, the biggest drain by any department on Liberty's overall budget.

Falwell said he already has talked to three head coaching candidates and plans to have the positions filled within two weeks.

"I'm 72," he told The News & Advance of Lynchburg. "I don't have much time to get the football program in the Top 20."

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press