Athletic director Robert Coleman announced this afternoon that Todd Stratton has been officially named the interim head coach for the Whittier football team effective immediately.
He replaces Kirk Jellerson, who went 2-7 last season, and will be the Poets' third coach in as many seasons. Whittier has not had a winning record since 1998. Jellerson had started the 2010-11 offseason as interim coach and was named head coach last February after B.J. Hammer was relieved of his duties in November 2010.
Whittier did not acknowledge Jellerson's departure in any way.
Stratton came to Whittier last year in the role of offensive coordinator and assistant head coach. With nearly two decades of coaching experience at institutions such as Southern Utah and UNLV, Stratton has a solid history of training top athletes, including an all-league and all-state quarterback and a squad that earned a junior college conference championship. In addition to his coaching career, Stratton also runs a football summer camp program for high school athletes, where he has helped develop a number of powerhouse Division I, II, and III players.
"All of my colleagues in athletics share my commitment first and foremost to ensuring our scholar athletes have a first class experience on the field, commensurate with the quality of experience they receive in the classroom. Each season, the academic and athletic demands placed on our players are considerable, and given those demands, I am confident that coach Todd Stratton is the right person to lead the program during this interim period. We will be opening a national search following a program audit, and look forward to hiring the candidate best suited to successfully restore our football program to its historic heights," Coleman explained.
Stratton, who becomes the 21st head coach in the program's history, will take on the head football coaching duties throughout the 2012-2013 season before a national search begins and he is currently accompanied on his staff by Ted Clarke (defensive coordinator/linebackers), Kurt Landgren (offensive line), and Jamar Ritch (defensive line).