Posted February 10, 2016
After three seasons with the UW-River Falls men’s football team, Defensive Coordinator Matthew Ebner is leaving the team to return to his alma mater, UW-Eau Claire.
Ebner came to UWRF in 2013 after playing for UWEC from 2005-2008, and then coaching three seasons as an assistant offensive line coach as well as the defensive line coach, according to uwrfsports.com. Ebner could not be reached for comment.
Ebner brought a lot to the team not only as a coach, but as a person, said Head Coach Matthew Walker.
“He quickly became part of this football family, and had a lot of passion for what we were doing,” said Walker. “Anyone that follows us knows we’ve been through some ups and downs trying to turn this program around. We’re on the edge of something special and he was a big part of that with his passion and commitment.”
One part of the “downs” the Falcons faced was their 2013 season, when they finished 0-10. Ebner had a part in turning the program around and making this season the most successful one the Falcons have seen since 2001.
Eau Claire went through a similar situation in its 2015 season, going 0-10, and in response the entire coaching staff was let go. The team then offered Ebner the defensive coordinator position there, and Walker says he is excited to be returning.
The news came as a shock to some of the players, but they are happy for him. Defensive Captain Tyler Ledbeter said the men are going to miss him, but that leaving comes with the territory.
You have to understand that when you play college sports,” Ledbeter said. “Every defensive player developed with him, and started understanding how he coached, so that will be hard (to see him go).”
Walker agreed, and said that although he was sad to see a really good friend go, these changes call for a little bit of excitement.
“You get a chance to get what you want, maybe change, and make a couple adjustments that better fit your guys,” he said.
Walker also said he feels the team is in good shape moving into the future. He credits part of that to the group of players returning to the field and said that they will benefit the team as they move forward.
“This is the best personnel of kids I’ve ever had on a defense on any team I’ve ever been around,” he said. “I’m a big believer it’s about the people not the scheme.”
That sentiment was echoed by Ledbeter, who said he feels the team was strong enough to move forward pretty smoothly. As the men move into preparations for the next season they are excited to see who will be guiding them out on the field in the defensive position.
Walker said he hopes to have that position filled by early March so the new coach has time to get settled in before the spring football season begins on April 4.