University of Memphis fires coach Larry Porter, fans react

(WMC-TV) - University of Memphis football head coach Larry Porter has been fired, according to a statement issued Sunday morning.

"We want to thank Coach Porter for his efforts as our football coach but believe that it is in the best interest of our program to make a change at this point," said Memphis Athletic Director R.C. Johnson in a written statement.

Under Porter, the Tigers finished the 2011 season with a 2-10 record, after going 1-11 last season.  This season ended with a 44-7 loss to Southern Miss.

"The expectations for the 2011 season were to see marked improvement in the team," Johnson said in the school's statement. "Now that the season has been completed, I do not feel that we have seen enough improvement for the future to justify keeping this football staff in place for another year."

According to the school's press release, Johnson and U of M President Dr. Shirley Raines will hold a press conference Monday to, "discuss the future of the Memphis athletic program and a plan for having a new football coach named as quickly as possible."

Porter came to Memphis after spending five years on the LSU coaching staff under Les Miles, where he had a reputation as one of the top recruiters in the nation.  Porter replaced former Tigers head coach Tommy West after he went 2-10 during his final statement.

The firing comes amid diminishing fan interest in the University of Memphis football program.  The Tigers have been ranked among the worst teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision in many categories.

A group of University of Memphis fans launched a social media campaign on Facebook and Twitter to demand change.  The group, "Save Memphis Tiger Football," and many others on campus are asking for a change to the current Memphis Tigers Athletic administration to improve all areas of the football program.

"When the university doesn't do well, it costs the city money," said Tiger fan Chad Marshall.  "And not only that, it hurts other things as well."

"I just think we can do a lot better without him," said Tiger fan Abby Whalen.

Meanwhile, some fans said they will be sad to see Porter go.

"The coach has to back the team up," said Tiger fan Parker Fitzgerald.  "It seems like they weren't on the same page at all, so he has to work on a better relationship with the team.  It'll probably come out a little better next season if they give him another shot.  I don't know why they fired him right off the top."

ESPN.com first reported Porter's firing.

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