Eastern football coach Creighton gets 5-year extension

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
Eastern Michigan coach Chris Creighton

Eastern Michigan finally has some stability with its football program, announcing Friday a five-year extension for head coach Chris Creighton.

Creighton's new contract runs through 2022. Financial terms weren't disclosed; he earns $425,000 plus bonuses under his original, five-year contract, signed before the 2014 season.

Creighton took over a program that hadn't had a winning season since 1995 and hadn't made a bowl game since 1986, and he accomplished both this past season, his third year on the job. The Eagles were 7-6 and played in the Bahamas Bowl, losing to Old Dominion, 24-20. They tied for the most improved team in Division I. Creighton's first two years, EMU was a combined 3-21.

EMU president James M. Smith offered the extension. New athletic director Scott Wetherbee officially starts on the job next month.

"I am appreciative of President Smith's vote of confidence and grateful for the opportunity to continue to lead this football program," Creighton said in a statement. "We made significant progress in closing the gap the last three years, but we still have a lot of work to do in order to become a source of pride for all who care about Eastern Michigan University.

"We cannot wait for the 2017 season to start."

If Creighton fulfills the length of his new contract, he'll be the longest-serving Eastern Michigan coach since Jim Harkema (1983-92), who led the Eagles to their only Mid-American Conference title.

Creighton, 48, came to Eastern Michigan after head-coaching stints at Drake, Wabash and Ottawa in Kansas. As a player, he was an All-America quarterback at Kenyon College in Ohio.