Ellison Fired by WOU, Eckenroad steps up as Replacement

WOU has fired their recently hired head coach, Barry Ellison. They have also announced the hiring of former Oregon Duck midfielder Justin Eckenroad to replace him.

File this under the category, “Yeah, that sounds about right.”  The Western Oregon Wolves have announced the firing of never-set-foot-in-Oregon Barry Ellison.

For Western Oregon, this is the second coach to leave the program (if you count Ellison as having joined in the first place) in the course of 8 months.  Fortunately, Justin Eckenroad has stepped up to fill the void, also announced today by the team.  Eckenroad, a 2011 graduate of the University of Oregon, was a strong midfielder for them as well, and any player coming out of Joe Kerwin’s system is certainly an asset to any program.

Here is the full release and announcement of Eckenroad’s hiring:

January 4, 2012 (Monmouth, OR) – Effective immediately, Barry Ellison has stepped down as the head coach for Western Oregon University Men’s Lacrosse. After a disappointing preseason campaign in which Coach Ellison was unable to make the move out west for several noted reasons, Coach Ellison has called it quits.

Chris Curtis, the team’s Director of Public Relations, commented that, “While this is certainly not an ideal situation for any team to lose a coach this late in the season, hopefully some good can still come from it if other MCLA teams can learn from our mistakes in waiting too long for a coach to make good on his promise. The young men in charge of this team have showed tremendous poise in this situation that resulted in empty promises by Mr. Ellison. It is times like these that we are thankful for all the supportive family, fans and alumni our program has.”

Justin Cox, the team’s President, said that, “We were very excited for the 2012 season with great expectations and our new head coach; unfortunately it just didn’t pan out that way. But through everything, we are still excited to begin our winter practices and also very excited to announce our new head coach Justin Eckenroad.”

Justin Eckenroad recently finished up his playing career at the University of Oregon. As a freshman and sophomore for the Ducks, Coach Eckenroad served as an assistant coach at his high school alma mater, Churchill High School, in Eugene, OR. We are excited to bring in a high calibur guy like Justin so late in the game. We hope to learn some of the things that made our D1 counterparts in Eugene such a great program through Coach Eckenroad.

Coach Eckenroad steps in immediately as the Head Coach for the Wolves and the team is happy to announce that Ethan Kamholtz will stay on the team staff as Defensive Coordinator after leading a vastly improved defense this fall.

WOU has an exciting 2012 schedule on tap with two out of conference trips taking on four teams who finished in top 20 last year on top of Western Oregon’s pursuit for a fifth consecutive PNCLL title.

As for Ellison?  It’s unknown what his plans are, but his commitment to Western Oregon was roughly in the same class as a Kim Kardashian engagement. Ellison hails from the Southeast, had once coached at Oklahoma State, and has an odd affinity for Coach John Calipari.  After being hired last summer, it is unclear if he ever even met any Western Oregon players, alumni, or staff in person.

If you don’t recall, or haven’t yet ventured to the new LAS forums, the most notable element of Barry Ellison’s tenure as Western Oregon head coach were his quizzical forum rants under the oh-so-ambigous user name “Attack3.”  When someone questioned his commitment to the team in October, he began unleashing unpunctuated word blocks.  At the time, I believed the nonsensical posts were something an anti-WOU fan was throwing on the forums to troll for some fun.  In my attempts to unmask the fraud, Ellison dug the hole deeper proving that it in fact was not a hoax and an MCLA coach was using the forums to talk smack.

It appeared that Ellison attempted to remove his posts by deleting his account, but the LAS forums don’t delete them if you delete the account.  So luckily, the interactions are preserved for our reading pleasure.  And if you doubted that the quotes from Attack3 were in fact Barry Ellison, a simple Googling produces various blog ramblings of his that also lack punctuation, direction, or paragraph returns.  We’ll save our comments section for his nuggets of wisdom.

Best of luck to Eckenroad and the Wolves in 2012!


    1. both provide good opportunities… OCC did win it all last year and has been pumping out some pretty good players as of late. plus they have those sweet baby blues… Herk has some great history though.

  1. Seems like your attacking quite a bit in this post….. Kind of messed up if you ask me. Haha

  2. Being a part of the lacrosse community in the mid Willamette Valley, I sincerely wish WOU the best and am confident they will continue to be a strong program.

  3. “waiting too long for a coach to make good on his promise.”
    “empty promises by Mr. Ellison.”

    This seems like less of a release, and more like a letter that they really hope Ellison reads. A release is not the place to “make comments.”

    1. Jayson, I’m sorry if you feel my comments on a situation you know nothing about made you feel like you were reading a breakup letter and not a press release. I was asked for a quote and that is what I had to say (at least that is the Rated G version). Again I’m very proud of the guys on the team who had to make a lot of tough decisions.

  4. “Coach Ellison has called it quits” or “Ellison Fired by WOU”.  Huge difference.

    1. WHAT?! this is concerning. When he applied for the position at my school (before he applied/accepted with WOU), he stated on his resume that he was the Men’s Head Coach (Offensive Coordinator) at OSU.  something seems fishy here…

        1. So Will is this better or worse than hiring a homeless man as a coach because in my mind at least the homeless man was real and contributed to the team.

    2. MCLA.us shows that he coached at OSU for the 2009 and 2010. something is going on here.

  5. Man, I never thought I would hear the name “Barry Ellison” again but, OK I will let you all know about my dealings with “this person” as it pertains to my program. Its been a few years but below are the particulars.

    In Fall 2009 I founded the current incarnation of the lax program at Southern Connecticut. When we began looking for a head coach, the primary candidate at the time was, you guessed it, Barry Ellison. We had spoken for several hours on the phone, he answered his questions well enough, sent his resume to myself and our club sports coordinator. He claimed to have played for Florida but had not given any references to that end. Among his references was the former Captain/President at OSU Justin (I forget his last name) and A coach at a high school program in Virginia. Everything was going well until we did our background check and called his references. The coach at the program in Virginia had stated that he had never even heard of the guy. That blew my mind. 

    I then called Justin. As you all see, Barry Ellison is listed as the head coach for OSU on laxpower some years ago. I trusted that information when talking to our school, but still, we contacted the references anyway, because the prospect of a guy moving to CT to coach a brand new club team that wasn’t even in a league for 4 grand a year with no other job attached seemed to be fishy to me and our club sports coordinator. Thank god I did. Justin proceeded to tell me the story of Barry Ellison. Barry promised to move out of Atlanta, to Stillwater, and coach the team at OSU. Flights were booked, times were arranged. Justin himself went to the airport to escort Coach Ellison, and he never showed up. After lots of phone tag, Barry kept saying he would come, giving dates and the like. 

    Surprise; Ellison never showed. Not once. OSU played without a coach the seasons Ellison is listed as their head coach. I was told injured players would man the sideline to appear they had a coach. I contacted other players on their team to confirm this information, and they said that he never showed up, made many commitments and promises in which he never fulfilled. I called him to ask what this was all about, and Barry proceeded to attack Justin and the other OSU players who had verified that story, calling them terrible lacrosse players, attacking their character, and wondering why these people would say all these bad things about him that were just untrue. His demeanor on the telephone that day was the 2nd most unprofessional thing I have ever heard from a lacrosse coach in my life.

    Given the drama involved, we decided that he was just not worth the effort and we went in another direction. I just found this article today (haven’t been in the loop much since the closing of the collegelax forums) so I had no idea about the WOU coaching situation; I wish I had known because I might have been able to save you guys some trouble with him.

    This is hardly the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd time he has done this. I don’t know what is going on in this guys head, but I can’t imagine he will ever see a coaching position in his future (I don’t even know if he has actually ever coached the game.) 

      1. Believe it or not, there is more, the following is an email conversation between myself and the coach at ISU. Justin and I spoke with him concerning Mr Ellison. This was the last time I had seen his name until today.

        From: Brendan Gross [redacted]

        Sent: Sunday, September 12, 2010 9:54 PM

        To: redacted

        Subject: Barry Ellison

        I was told by, Oklahoma States former lacrosse President Justin
        Kennedy. I wanted to know what you did about him. He has contacted us
        about wanting to coach our lacrosse team. Justin told us about him and I
        wanted to know if you knew any more information
        about him.

        Thank you,

        Brendan Gross
        Iowa State University

        My response:

        From: William Wezenter

        Sent: Sunday, September 12, 2010 10:25 PM

        To: Brendan Gross

        Subject: RE: Barry Ellison

        Well, from what I understood, his references did not check
        out. Justin told me of his experience with him. Why you would continue
        to list this person as a reference, I do not know. Keeping that in mind,
        still, I did a phone interview with him
        and perhaps I have an east coast bias but, he seemed to only know the
        most basic of offensive systems. He wrote an “article” for a e-magazine
        on the 1-3-2 but, the stuff in it is stuff I teach to my 8th graders I
        coach. He claims to have played for Florida
        but, I could not confirm or deny that, I did not have appropriate
        references to tie him to that, which seemed odd because I would list my
        college coach as a reference for a coaching job. It also seemed silly
        that he would move from Atlanta to Connecticut for
        a 2500 dollar a year stipend. When I mentioned the accusations about
        never showing up to the places he claims to have coached, he just played
        dumb. After playing dumb, he proceeded to bash Kennedy. Frankly even if
        he had coached OSU, which I doubt, the childish
        behavior and unprofessional-ism he showed, I wouldn’t hire the guy. I
        thought to myself; If he is bashing the president of the program he
        supposedly coached, and the president is telling the truth, how will
        this guy speak of me when I’m butting heads with
        him (if he ever shows up?) At the very least if I ever have a
        disagreement about a situation, I don’t go gossiping about it to another
        president I may potentially have to work with. I sent him a very nice
        letter saying that we regretted to inform him that
        he was not selected over other candidates. The guy from my experience is a
        waste of time. If there is anything else I can do for you, do let me
        know.From: Brendan Gross [redacted]

        Sent: Sunday, September 12, 2010 10:41 PM

        To: William Wezenter

        Subject: Re: Barry Ellison


        Thank you very much for the Input. Your input has helped us come up with
        a decision, we were very suspicious of him in the first place of him
        wanting to come to Iowa from Georgia to coach a club team in the
        midwest. I have the resume around here somewhere, if I locate it I can show it to you privately if you wish, Chris, to see how it compares to what he gave you guys.

          1. At this point I hope my quote in the article above stands true that other teams can learn from Western’s mistakes (ie don’t hire or even talk with Coach Ellison). I’m also glad that WOU’s fate wasn’t that of Oklahoma State and being stranded for a season without a coach.

          2. I wonder if him doing this to at least 4 MCLA organizations across the country is grounds in any way for the MCLA to take a stake in this and ban him as a coach in our organization. He is a repeat offender, and is obviously hurting lacrosse programs at our level. We were lucky enough to avoid that, and you guys were lucky enough to not be without a head coach coming into the season, but Oklahoma State got screwed by all of this. 

  6. where are the other 23 comments? several contributed to the context of this fine piece of journalism.

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