Ehrlich resigns as gymnast coach

By Joe Bush

Chuck Ehrlich, NIU men’s gymnastic coach for 17 years, said he resigned Wednesday partly because of nationwide rumors of his program’s elimination.

Ehrlich said the rumors began in August and dealt with the cutting of the gymnastics program to make way for a baseball team.

At an early January meet other coaches had mentioned the rumor to him and he said high school coaches had become aware of it as well.

“It makes recruitng just zilch,” Ehrlich said. “The rumors that have been going around the past four or five months would devastate the program.”

Gerald O’Dell, NIU athletic director, said no decisions have been made on eliminating or adding any programs.

Though Ehrlich’s career won-lost record was just 89-97-2, 36 of his gymnasts were NCAA qualifiers, 16 won All-America honors and five Huskies were NCAA champions.

The Huskies’ and Ehrlich’s best year was a 11-0-1 1978-79 team which claimed three All-Americas and two national champs.

The squad Ehrlich leaves behind is 0-2 and will be coached on an interim basis by assistant coach Carlos Silvestre.

A current gymnast, Eric Solky, a 1988-89 NCAA qualifier, said Ehrlich did not discuss his decision with the team. Solky said the team and Ehrlich had been “having troubles in the gym.

“A lot of things have happened lately that have brought the team down a bit,” Solky said, mentioning injuries and an ineligible gymnast.

Solky said after a loss last weekend, discouraged gymnasts met with Ehrlich and made suggestions for improvements. Though Solky said he thought “it went pretty well,” Ehrlich was a no-show at Monday’s practice.

Solky’s teammate Vinnie Walsh said Ehrlich had seemed “unsure of how things were going.” Walsh said he thought Ehrlich’s resignation was something Ehrlich had thought about for some time.