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 BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) -Rob Ash, a 27-year coaching veteran who plans to emphasize academic success, became Montana State's 31st football coach Monday.
``I am tremendously honored to be chosen as Montana State University's new football coach, and I promise to build a program that the university and its supporters will be proud of,'' Ash said in a statement released by the school. ``I have enormous respect for the institution, its academic and athletic traditions ... I love the support here, I love the academic prestige of the school, and I'm excited for this opportunity.''
Ash's teams have posted a 125-63-2 record in 18 seasons at Drake, ending with five consecutive winning seasons and a trip to the quarterfinals of the 2006 Division I-AA playoffs. He earned Pioneer Football League coach of the year honors in 1005, 1998 and 2004.
Including nine seasons at Division III Juniata, Ash is 176-99-5 in his career.
Ash takes over for Mike Kramer, who was fired on May 18 after the arrest of a fifth current or former player within a year. Four face drug charges and a former player faces a murder charge.
``The football program here at Montana State is far from broken,'' Ash said. ``We have history, tradition, and broad support which allow us to implement our philosophies and principles for behavior to build a foundation of success for the individuals in this program for years to come.''
Athletic director Peter Fields said Ash's application rose to the top of MSU's list based not only on his teams' success, but their high academic and social standards.
``Rob Ash embodies all the attributes that we were looking for in our new coach,'' Fields said. ``His teams are known to work hard on the field and in the classroom while doing the right things in the community.''
Ash said his coaching philosophy is built on the concept that wins aren't restricted to the football field.
``We instill a commitment in our players to win every day,'' Ash said. ``We want our players to win in the classroom and win in the community by making quality choices. Winning on the football field follows, as does shaping the lives of these young people in a way that will lead to success throughout their lives.''
Fields said Ash has accepted a three-year deal that pays an annual salary of $130,000 with incentives that have yet to be finalized.
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