BLOOMINGTON — The Bloomington Edge’s first season in the Champions Professional Indoor Football League was Kenton Carr’s last season with the franchise.
“I just felt it wasn’t fun anymore. It was very frustrating all year,” said Carr. “I wasn’t having fun, so it was time to get out of there.”
Citing philosophical differences, Carr said Thursday he and Edge owner and team president David Holt mutually agreed to part ways this week.
“David wasn’t going to hire me back and I wasn’t going to come back,” Carr said, adding that he and Holt view success differently. “I want to win the championship; I’m not happy just competing.”
The Edge went 5-7 in Carr’s final season as the franchise missed the playoffs for the first time since the inaugural Extreme campaign in 2006.
“I think after my first year of running football I’ve learned some things, and there are some things I want done a certain way,” said Holt. “After talking to Coach Carr, we both agreed that this is a good time to make a change and for both of us to go a different direction.”
Carr said the CPIFL’s regional recruiting rules and pay structure inhibited the Edge’s ability to field a contending team.
“When this whole thing went down, we said ‘we’ll give it one year’ but we didn’t like it,” he said. “We didn’t like the restrictions as far what people we could bring in. We don’t live in a big area with a lot of talent.
“It’s hard to get a Division I guy to come here and play for $75 a game and, nothing against Division III, but it’s hard for them to compete at this level. We were very limited and it was a constant struggle.”
However, Holt refused to see the league as a hindrance.
“I have no problems with the league. The teams that are the top four are established indoor teams that have been doing it for years and Bloomington is a team like that,” said Holt. “We hope to be able to compete in this league, and I have no doubts that this will succeed.”
Carr posted a regular-season record of 35-27 in two stints totaling 4½ seasons with the Bloomington franchise. He took the reins from Ted Schmitz prior to the 2008 season and guided the Extreme to the United Bowl championship game as a first-year coach, suffering a 40-35 loss to Sioux Falls.
He went 20-16 with the Extreme before being replaced midway through the 2010 season. He returned in 2012 to lead the rebranded Edge to a 10-4 mark in its final season in the Indoor Football League.
“I miss the old days and those days are gone,” said Carr, who played five games at quarterback in the Extreme’s first two seasons under Schmitz. “We feel a little hurt because we built something here. People wanted to come here because it was a top-notch organization.”
Carr added he will miss working with his staff as well as the staff at U.S. Cellular Coliseum, particularly Central Illinois Arena Management president John Butler.
“If it wasn’t for John Butler, we would’ve been in a big mess,” said Carr. “People don’t realize what he did behind the scenes. I respect him and the staff at the Coliseum.
“I love our staff. It’s fun when we get players from other teams who say, ‘man, you guys do such a much better job coaching here.’ That was a nice feeling and we try to do things right that way.”
Holt said he already has a short list of candidates to replace Carr and added that he’s open to retaining other members of Carr’s staff, which included offensive coordinator John Johnson, defensive coordinator Bryan Thomas, offensive line coach Nick Ruud and defensive backs coach Mike Crumpler.
“One of the coaches is interviewing tomorrow and the others are having exit interviews next week,” said Holt. “For any of the existing staff, I need to see if they want to come back. If any of the coaches want to come back, I have no issues with bringing them back.”