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Matous fired by Wild after starting 0-5

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, April 12, 2011, at 12:07 a.m.

Ken Matous guided the Wichita Wild to conference championship games the previous two seasons, but he couldn't survive this year's surprisingly poor start.

With the Indoor Football League team at 0-5, Matous was fired as coach on Monday.

Friends University graduate Morris Lolar, who has been an assistant coach with the Wild since 2009, will serve as head coach for the rest of the season.

General manager John Blazek said that the Wild, which lost to the rival Omaha Beef on Saturday, needs "a more structured program" and increased toughness.

"We have to ask more out of all our players," Blazek said. "We've got quite a few young players on this team; we need more structure, more expectations.

"Ken is a tough guy, but Morris has more of a get-after-you, in-your-face type of toughness. We're 0-5. Unfortunately, this is a business. We felt we needed to make a change."

The Wild started the season with championship aspirations, but the team's obvious weaknesses, especially at quarterback, have been too much to overcome.

The Wild is last in the 22-team IFL in points allowed (61.4 per game) and yards allowed (294.4).

Matous did not re-sign veteran quarterback Dixie Wooten in the off-season, opting to go with indoor rookie Alex Rouse, who was hurt in the season opener. Brandon Walker, who expected to play running back this season, has taken over as the starter.

The Wild is 14th in the IFL in offense (38.2 points a game) and 18th in passing yardage (132.6).

Lolar, an All-City player at Wichita South and a standout defensive back at Friends, said his priority is solving the QB issue.

"Obviously, we need to bring someone in here who can sling it," Lolar said. "We need a veteran. I don't know where we're gonna find him, but we need to beat the bushes."

Lolar also said that he expects to make numerous signings in an effort to push the current players, and he will demand an improved work ethic — in the weight room, for example.

"If you're not producing, it's like any other job — you're subject to being replaced," he said. "That's not a scare tactic, it's just the way it is. Guys need to understand this is a professional sport.

"We're 0-5. The season isn't over yet."

Matous had a 17-16 record in the regular season and was 4-2 in the playoffs.

Matous admitted that he made some poor roster decisions, but he took exception to Blazek's statement that structure was a problem.

"I made some bad decisions in the off-season; it all falls back on me," Matous said. "I don't regret getting rid of Dixie, but we didn't replace him with a veteran guy.

"Blazek can say what he wants, but structure wasn't an issue. We didn't have a quarterback and we couldn't block for (Darius) Fudge. That was the problem."

Matous, who has coached at the collegiate and indoor professional levels for more than 30 years, said he isn't certain of his next move.

"I feel relief right now," Matous said. "I thought I was about to have a meltdown after the game Saturday night. I feel better than I have in a month.

"Heck, this is how things end in sports. There are no happy endings, unless you walk away after you win a championship."

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