Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Are YOU Invited?

This morning, outgoing Athletic Director Dianne Murphy sent the following email out to a select few recipients:

On Thursday, November 20, President Bollinger announced that the University would begin a comprehensive review of our football program. The review will be conducted by Rick Taylor, a former NCAA Division I head football coach at Boston University and athletics director at BU, Cincinnati and Northwestern.

The comprehensive review, commissioned by President Bollinger and myself, will include a thorough appraisal of all aspects of our football program. Columbia is committed to success in football – and we believe that this comprehensive review of our football program will pay significant dividends in our future success.

During the week of December 1, Rick will be on campus in New York City meeting with many individuals involved with our football program. Rick is also interested in talking to a diverse cross-section of football alumni, to get their insight on how we can make our football program better.

I am writing to you to let you know that because you are a former football player, you are invited to participate in Rick’s review. I know how much you care about Columbia and the success of our football program – and getting the insights of our former Columbia Football players will be very helpful.

On Wednesday, December 3, Rick will be meeting with some Columbia Football alumni on campus from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. to discuss our football program. This will be a group meeting of football alumni.  Your perspective will be incredibly helpful and I sincerely hope that you are willing to be involved. If you are interested in participating in this group meeting with Rick, please let me know by noon on Monday, December 1.  The meeting will be held at Faculty House in Garden Room 2 from8:30 – 10:30 a.m. Please note, we will be begin promptly at 8:30 a.m. and end promptly at 10:30 a.m., as there is another event in Garden Room 2 immediately following our meeting.

The success of this comprehensive review is dependent on Rick receiving candid feedback. Rick will not identify the names of individuals associated with specific comments or observations related to our football program.

All of us want the best for Columbia Football, and we know that together we can build a winning program of which we can all be proud. I know how long we have all waited for Columbia to build a winning football tradition. Your helping us by participating in this confidential review will go a long way in making our team successful.

Thanks so much!

Best regards,

If all you did was read this email, you might think this is a nice gesture. But so many of the most outspoken and dedicated former players were NOT invited. So the truth is, this is an attempt to stack the deck and keep Taylor from likely hearing what he really needs to know.

This is beyond an outrage, but not a surprise.

I keep telling all of you: the #1 goal of this administration is to reduce and kill off honest criticism of this administration. Even after the President of the University orders this outside review, Murphy and some of the minions are hoping to mitigate and cover up the reality this consultant needs to see and hear.

If Taylor's review is hampered in any way by this defensive group, the entire exercise will be compromised. And if that happens, the people responsible for hampering it are guilty of theft in my opinion since we're certainly not getting Mr. Taylor's review for free.

So, if you are an ex-player I urge you to contact Murphy directly as soon as possible and ask to be invited to talk to Taylor.

Obviously the first and most repeated thing Taylor needs to hear is that Mangurian must go... now! But there are other issues that we all know about and I leave it to you to enumerate them.

Right now, it's important to make sure the existing failed leadership in the Athletic Department does not succeed in its attempts to censor the truth.

I'll do it myself if I have to... even if I have to go to Mr. Taylor's house, hotel room or book the seat next to him on the plane to tell him.

So folks in the athletic department, please save your breath and energy. Taylor is going to find out the truth.

Oh and Coach Pete Mangurian, stop embarrassing yourself by trying to find out the names of the players who have had the courage to tell the proper authorities of your ineptitude and misconduct. You might find out, but not before it's too late anyway. Everyone already knows anyway. We know because of a little something called 0-21.

All Ivy Pity

It says a lot about the 2014 Columbia Lions that we only had three All Ivy honorees and still that was probably due to overwhelming generosity and pity on behalf of the coaches voting.

The Lions had two 2nd Team members in DT Niko Padilla and RB Cameron Molina. Padilla really deserved the honor, and Toba Akinleye stepped it up this year and deserved his honorable mention.

Molina was certainly the best overall Columbia offensive player, but that’s all relative and I doubt he would garner much if any playing time on any other Ivy team this past year.

Molina gained 335 yards rushing all season while taking more than 60% of all the carries on the year. To put that in perspective, Columbia’s opponents gained 420 yards just off of their interceptions of Lion passes last season. So, opposing defensive backs gained 25% more yards running against Columbia than Columbia’s best offensive player gained running FOR Columbia.

And this was Columbia’s best offensive player!


We were told we were going to see much more improvement than this. We were told the offensive line was going to be better. We were told the wide receiver corps was the best unit on the team.

And yet not one OL or WR even came close to any All Ivy recognition.

Pete Mangurian cannot recruit adequate talent, cannot manage and improve talent, and considering the growing revolt against him by the current players, he cannot retain talent.

And yet, we’re presumably going to keep this guy on for another year.

What purpose will that serve? I understand the logistical problem of hiring a new coach without a new athletic director in place, but that’s not a good enough reason to keep a cancer like this guy around for one second longer.

Look at the NY Jets this season. It came out today that Head Coach Rex Ryan has known all along that he was going to get fired at the end of the year. The result has been a disastrous 2-9 season. It’s true that the Jets were probably not going to set the world on fire this year anyway, but this season has been a lot worse than anyone expected.

The situation screams out for an interim coach. Mangurian is death and a guaranteed 0-10 for 2015. Keeping him here makes no sense.

Elitist know-it-alls like to dump on the fans here; accusing us of harboring conspiracy theories about an administration that wants to kill off football.

But what else should one think when this coach is being kept on? It’s really obvious that the next season is already being sacrificed before we even hold spring practice.

No one thinks Columbia will be a contender next year either way, but why not make the season a stepping stone and a positive move forward?

With lots of veteran players quitting on a cancer of a coach, that isn’t going to happen.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


In the few days since the 2014 season ended, something of a revolt has been brewing among the players on the Columbia football team.

Many of the players presumably returning for 2015 have made their extreme dissatisfaction with Head Coach Pete Mangurian known to the proper authorities in the administration.

Coach Mangurian has apparently caught wind of this and he is now conducting a witch hunt to find out who these players are by name. At the same time, in hopes of mitigating their legitimate grievances, Mangurian is encouraging some other players to make a statement to the same authorities supporting him.

Hey high school seniors and their parents, is THIS the kind of football program you’d like to join next fall?

Folks, this player revolt or possible civil war is the latest blatant example of how we absolutely cannot allow Mangurian and his staff to remain at Columbia. This was true last year at this time and as many of us warned, it led to another 0-10 total embarrassment of a season.

Most of the players know this too. They're not stupid. 

Rick Taylor or no Rick Taylor. A.D. or no A.D., we’re in for more of the same or worse in 2015 if Mangurian stays. He can’t keep the team together, period.  

Monday, November 24, 2014


I could analyze the ins and outs of Columbia's 41-7 season-ending loss to Brown, but it's all so depressingly the same as all the 21 straight games the Lions have lost that I just don't have the heart to do it again.

The truth is, 90% of these 21 straight losses haven't been games at all. Columbia has been over-matched from the opening kickoffs, essentially a junior varsity team taking on opposing varsities.

The real news is that as of now, Columbia is saddled with Pete Mangurian as its head coach. And Columbia will never win another game with Mangurian at the helm.

Since President Lee Bollinger's infuriating announcement that he is hiring the excellent consultant Rick Taylor to assess the program but will not fire Mangurian, (what's the point?), there have been two interesting developments:

1) Mangurian is now boasting publicly that Bollinger is in his corner. This is hard to stomach.

2) The player attrition rate if Mangurian indeed stays on will be steep. I don't have any exact numbers, but we are likely to see more players leave the team in the coming days.

While we can hold out hope that Taylor will find a way to clean house, I just don't see how he can do that with Mangurian hanging around. And Bollinger's email last week really would make it hard for the school to do an about-face and let him go now.

The result is this: purgatory.

Columbia University technically has a football team. But realistically it does not.

Columbia University technically has hired someone excellent to fix the football program. But realistically he is unlikely to fix the biggest immediate problem.

Columbia University technically is the #4 ranked college in the nation and a tremendous prize school to attend for non-athletes and athletes alike. But realistically its football program is toxic to any potential recruits with this coach and this duplicitous administration in place.

Columbia University technically has very devoted fans and alumni who, on this very blog, have warned and begged the administration not to continue down this path for years. But realistically, those devoted fans and alumni have been ignored, threatened, and smeared.

I'm not prepared to shut down this blog or stop caring. But I am resigned to at least another year, and probably two, of not really having a real team to root for, write about, and discuss with my fellow fans.

You should be prepared too.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Brown Game Day Open Thread

Please comment here on today's game. Brown is a 27 point favorite and the game is televised nationally on Fox College Sports.