CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Earl Monroe's seven-year stint as coach of the West Virginia State football team came to an end Sunday morning, less than 24 hours after the Yellow Jackets concluded a 2-9 season with a 62-0 loss to rival Charleston.
Monroe said he met with members of the State administration earlier in the day and was informed of their decision to let him go.
"I was told after the game Saturday that I needed to meet the AD in the office Sunday morning," said Monroe. "And they gave me my papers. From what I understand, it wasn't [Saturday's game]. The decision had been made previously."
Indeed, State athletic director Sean Loyd said the school is constantly evaluating its sports programs and the decision to fire Monroe wasn't based on the football team's performance against UC.
"You have to look at ways to improve and tweak things," said Loyd. "It wasn't a knee-jerk type of reaction. We felt the need to move in a different direction."
After meeting with administrators, Monroe had a brief opportunity to meet with his players.
"It was unbelievable, as could be expected," Monroe said of breaking the news to the players. "They were tore up, as was the staff. I didn't really have time to talk to them, so they've been texting me wanting to talk to me. I've been getting texts all day, guys wanting to say goodbye. I'll be around. Hopefully I can talk to them all."
Monroe had been associated with the school since 1987, when the former Miami (Fla.) Hurricane joined the program as a volunteer assistant. He became defensive coordinator in 1996 and, when Carl Lee resigned as head coach on Feb. 3, 2006, Monroe took over on an interim basis, overseeing spring practice and recruiting. Weeks later, on May 18, State removed the interim tag and handed the reins of the program to Monroe.
Success came quickly for Monroe as the Jackets won five games in his first season at the helm. A pair of 7-3 seasons followed in 2007 and 2008 - State had not enjoyed a winning season since 1992.
Fortunes quickly turned after the 2008 season, though. The Jackets were 3-7 in 2009 and have won only three games combined in the three seasons since, including an 0-10 mark in 2010. From 2009 through the recently completely season, State compiled a 4-28 mark in the West Virginia Conference.
Monroe points to a lack of scholarships and aging facilities as one reason for the program's sudden decline.