A former NFL quarterback with 22 years coaching experience is the new head football coach at East Central Community College in Decatur.

Ken Karcher takes over East Central's football program succeeding Brian Anderson who led the Warriors the past four years.

ECCC President Dr. Billy Stewart introduced Coach Karcher during a press conference held this afternoon in Thrash Auditorium, located in Newton Hall.

Dr. Stewart said Coach Karcher is a "perfect fit" for EC.

"We were very fortunate to have several outstanding applicants for this position, and we are pleased that Coach Karcher will be joining the EC family," said Dr. Stewart. "The search committee was very impressed with his playing and coaching experiences, football knowledge, recruiting ability and most of all, his character.

"As we checked references for Coach Karcher, several things came up over and over again: he is a Christian, a man of deep faith, a family man with great integrity and high character who is also very genuine as well as a consummate professional and classy individual. You will not find someone who cares more about his players. He is also a very knowledgeable football coach. I will tell you that I judge a coach by the simple fact would I want my child to play for him or her. Well, after several, lengthy discussions with Ken, I can honestly say that I would want my two sons to play for a man like Ken Karcher."

Dr. Stewart said Coach Karcher, who addressed team members earlier in the day, officially begins his new duties Monday, Jan. 28.

Karcher, who most recently served as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Eastern Michigan University, said he looks forward to the challenge of developing a winning program at East Central.

He also stressed the importance of having players who have pride in being a Warrior.

"What I'm looking for are guys who want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. I think when you find people like that, they are able to work and build towards a vision and a mission that both Dr. Stewart and I have...The first thing I want to help them recognize is where their value is. I think if a person has an understanding of their own value and worth it's easier to come to work each day and to do the things you're asked to do. I want them to have pride in being a Warrior. That could be as simple as walking on campus, seeing a piece of paper on the ground and putting it in the trash. Because this is your home and if we can create pride within the program then we have a chance. No guarantees, but a chance."

Having coached on both the high school and senior college level, Karcher said he looks forward to joining the community college ranks.

"It's going to be an interesting environment for me. I have not worked at this level before, but I have done a lot of research and I have recruited this level. Number one, you are still coaching football and obviously you have young men who are hoping to maybe move on and further their career at a four-year institution and they may have dreams even beyond that. But what's unique about community college is the other 45 or 50 young men who don't continue to play football.

"You have a chance to mold and help them earn a four-year degree and change their lives. Ultimately, a football coach, really any type of athletic coach, is in the life-changing business. That's what coaching is: changing lives."

Karcher, 49, served the past four seasons at Eastern Michigan, a member of the Mid-American Conference.

He is also a former head coach at Liberty University, where he succeeded EC alumnus Sam Rutigliano.

Karcher began his coaching career in 1991 at North Texas State University, where he coached quarterbacks and wide receivers.

He was hired the following season by head Coach Galen Hall as passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Orlando Thunder of the World League of American Football.

After the World League was suspended, Karcher returned to the collegiate ranks as an assistant on Johnny Major's coaching staff at the University of Pittsburgh. During his first season, he served as the Panthers' pass offense coordinator and quarterbacks coach, sharing duties with run offensive coordinator Charlie Coe.

In March 1994, Majors put Karcher in sole charge of the offense, promoting him to offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He held that position for the next three years, until Majors' resignation at the end of the 1996 season.

In 1997, Karcher rejoined Galen Hall in the revamped World League, this time as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach of the Rhein Fire, based in Dusseldorf, Germany.

He helped lead the Fire to their first winning season in the team's three-year history. Rhein finished in first place with a 7-3 record but lost to the Barcelona Dragons in World Bowl IV. Under Karcher's tutelage, quarterback T.J. Rubley earned All-World League honors and was named the league's most valuable offensive player.

Karcher's offense led the league in rushing yards (1555) and ranked second in total offense (3253). The offensive line set a league record by holding opponents to only one sack the entire regular season.

Karcher was chosen the sixth head football coach at Liberty University on Feb. 18, 2000.

He served six seasons at Liberty, compiling an overall 21-46 record and 6-8 mark in conference play, including two straight second-place finishes.

Karcher continued his career in 2006 as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Fellowship Christian High School in Roswell, Ga., where he led the Paladians to their first-ever winning season and a deep run in the Georgia state playoffs. He also served as the school's athletic director and taught a ninth-grade Bible class at Fellowship Bible Church.

In 2008, Karcher was named quarterbacks coach at the University of Toledo.

He helped lead the Rockets in an upset win over the Michigan Wolverines, although the squad finished 3-8.

Karcher was hired in January 2009 by head coach Ron English as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Eastern Michigan University and remained with the program until December 2012.

A native of Pittsburgh, Pa., Karcher was a highly recruited quarterback at Shaler Area High School where he was selected a Parade All-American in 1980. He continued his athletic career at the University of Notre Dame where he was a backup to Blair Kiel. After two years he transferred to Tulane University, where he completed his collegiate playing career.

He later continued his career in the National Football League as a member of the Denver Broncos and played as a replacement player when other NFL players were on strike.

The Broncos retained him for the rest of the year, and Karcher was a back-up for John Elway when the team played in Super Bowl XXII in 1988.

Karcher is married to the former Pauline Termini and they have four children, daughters Kelly and Katie, and sons Austin and Clay.