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THE AX FALLS AT TOLEDO
Douglas S. Looney
December 25, 1989
Being a good and honorable football coach isn't always enough, as the firing of Toledo's Dan Simrell suggests
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December 25, 1989

The Ax Falls At Toledo

Being a good and honorable football coach isn't always enough, as the firing of Toledo's Dan Simrell suggests

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Ironically, Bohl and Horton emphasize that they are looking for a coach who puts academics first and graduates his players. Just like Dan. Forty percent of Simrell's scholarship players who enrolled at the school in 1982 and '83 graduated, which was a higher rate than the Toledo student body for the same period (31%). Bohl and Horton want somebody who follows the rules. Just like Dan. They want somebody who cares about the players. Just like Dan. They want someone who is an all-around good person. Just like Dan. If Toledo hadn't fired Simrell, they would be hiring him.

Before this season, Bohl gave Simrell the ultimate bottom line: Have a 7-4 record or be gone. Had Bowling Green not passed for an 11-yard TD with 20 seconds left to beat Toledo 27-23, the Rockets would have been 7-4, won the MAC and played in the California Bowl.

Bohl repeatedly stresses the need to increase attendance (it averaged 18,655 in '89 versus 17,509 in '88) and to get funds raised for an $18 million stadium construction project—both of which, he feels, require more wins. He also criticizes Simrell for winning in a boring fashion, not winning on the road and winning narrowly over teams Bohl thinks Toledo should beat handily. Basically, he wants 9-2 seasons, at least. Bohl continues to be critical of Simrell, saying he won't recommend him as a coach to other schools and insisting that the decision to fire Simrell "was easy, given the facts."

Back out on Indianridge Road, Simrell, in the job market and looking outside Toledo for the first time in his life, stares out into the snow and says softly, "I stand on my record." It is a solid place to stand.

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