Laslett Gone, Time for A New Game-plan

Santa Monica College Football Coach Kelly Ledwith poses for a portrait at the Corsair Field. (Josue Martinez)

Santa Monica College Football Coach Kelly Ledwith poses for a portrait
at the Corsair Field. (Josue Martinez)

As the Santa Monica College Corsairs football season continues, the Corsairs are currently mired in a four-game losing streak after winning their season opener. Throughout the team's slump, there were questions about the function of the team, the direction that they were going, and how the team would plan to recover. Among these things, came a decision in regards to the coaching staff.

Before the third game of the season against Orange Coast College on September 23, 2017, SMC relieved William "Bill" Laslett of his head coaching duties after a season and three games. Laslett was first hired by SMC 14-months prior after their previous head coach, Gifford Lindheim, departed for El Camino College. In Laslett's first season as the head coach, the football team went 1-9, the worst record in the division. The Corsairs began this season 1-2 under Laslett, with their lone win against West Los Angeles College. The Corsairs followed that with back-to-back blowout losses at home against Palomar and Mt. San Antonio respectively.

After the loss to Mt. SAC, SMC's Athletic Director, Reggie Ellis, decided to fire Laslett as the head coach of the football team. Speculation rose if this was from the team's record. When asked about what led to his decision, Ellis responded on how a lot of things that went into it. "Some of it is district personnel issues that played a part into that," said Ellis. SMC's athletic director continued on and said, "The other part was the program wasn't moving in a direction as far as not in terms of wins/losses, but it was in terms of supporting the student-athletes and developing relationships with the student-athletes."

Ellis replaced Laslett with defensive coordinator, Kelly Ledwith, who was hired by Laslett as part of coaching changes made during the spring. When asked about what it was like the moment he was promoted to interim head coach, Ledwith said, "I can see myself having some thought processes where I might be nervous, but for us it was bang-bang. We had a game on Saturday and three hours to prep for practice. We just hit the ground running, and went to work with it."

So far, Ledwith is still searching for his first win of the season as the interim head coach, as the team sits at 0-3 under his tenure. Ledwith's boss, SMC's athletic director, has already noticed improvement in the team's atmosphere. "I do know and I do see that the atmosphere in practice and during the games, it's more positive now than what it was in the past," said Ellis.

Bill Laslett leaves Santa Monica College with an overall record of 2-11 as a head coach. Meanwhile, the Corsairs will look to build for the future, and break out of their current slump ahead of their match-up against Ventura College at the Corsair Field on October 21, 2017 in Santa Monica, California.