Friday, December 19, 2014

Joe Moglia on NFL Films

You HAVE to watch this video about Joe Moglia from NFL Films.

Thanks to Bruce Wood for finding this and putting it up first on his site.

Give the People What they Want

Al Paul

The last three athletic directors at Columbia University have been Al Paul, John Reeves and Dianne Murphy.

It goes without saying that no amount of alumni or fans ever clamored for the hiring of any of these people. That doesn’t mean that their lack of popularity had anything to do with their well-documented failures, but it does mean that there’s ample evidence that the administration at Columbia has never taken a flyer on a fan or alumni favorite when it comes to filling this crucial job.

As far as the head football coaching position, the last time a fan/alumni favorite got that job at Columbia was when Bill Campbell was hired in 1974.

I know the conventional wisdom is that Campbell was not a success at Columbia, but that’s not really fair. His 1976 and 1978 teams were competitive during a time when Columbia, NYC, and Morningside Heights might as well have been Siberia. If Campbell had been able to ride out the storm of the late 70’s and remain through the city’s and the university’s financial and cultural rejuvenation in the 80’s, the story may have been very different.

But that’s not the main point. The point is since Campbell left the job in 1979, Columbia has hired no less than SEVEN COACHES who weren’t fan favorites and weren’t even on any real fan’s radar!

Here’s the list of those seven coaches just to prove the point: Bob Naso, Jim Garrett, Larry McElreavy, Ray Tellier, Bob Shoop, Norries Wilson, and Pete Mangurian.

Bob Naso

Sure, some fans and alums liked and supported the seven names above once they surfaced as candidates for the job. But none of them, not one, was someone fans/alums organically wished or lobbied for at all.

And that’s what makes the “we’ve tried everything and nothing’s worked” narrative we often hear from the administration so infuriating.

The fact is no they HAVEN’T EVER done what the fans have asked for when it comes to hiring. And it shows. Not every choice of the people is going to be a success of course. In fact, maybe most of them won’t. But never going with the people’s choice and failing every time sends a strong message and that message is: “Screw You.”

I suspect the evaluation of the football program just completed yesterday by Rick Taylor will go further to destroy the administration’s “we’ve tried everything” narrative. But just in case anyone is confused, remember that in the coaching and AD hirings alone, that narrative is ridiculous on its face.

Now I don’t pretend to represent most of the fans/alums. But I can tell you this: every serious fan, committed alum, and even the Columbia employees I have spoken to over the last few weeks believes Tim Pernetti would be a slam dunk excellent choice for Athletic Director.

And every serious fan, committed alum, and even the Columbia employees I have spoken to over the last few weeks believes that Joe Moglia or Tom Gilmore would be a slam dunk excellent choice for head football coach.

Does that mean we’re 100% right? Of course, no one can know that.

John Reeves

Still, I feel very confident saying that Pernetti and Moglia/Gilmore are solid fan choices that Columbia should pursue seriously and do it now. If the university does not pursue them and once again presents us with two hires for those jobs that no fan has ever even considered or supported, then let the record show that the onus for any failures by those hires is once again squarely on the shoulders of the administration and not due to “fan pressures.”

There are many other strong names to consider for these positions, and I’ve named them on this blog over the last few months. So, I don’t want to make this solely about Pernetti, Moglia,and Gilmore.

But after 53 years of football futility and 46 years without an Ivy title in basketball, it’s time for this administration to stop acting like it knows better than the fans, better than the alumni, or better than anyone.

Give us what we want for once, and then you can start acting like you know better. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Lift Our Embargo Too

The pre-embargo 1961 Ivy League Champion Lions

The embargo against Cuba has been in place since 1961... just as long as Columbia football has had an embargo against winning championships.

Yesterday, President Obama moved to lift that embargo and resume ties to that Caribbean nation.

Today, or at least as early as today, Columbia President Lee Bollinger could make a similar move to lift our winning football embargo.

He could do that by hiring Tim Pernetti as our new Athletic Director, advising him to hire Tom Gilmore or Joe Moglia as our new head football coach, announcing increased and more aggressive financial aid packages for recruits, and issuing a statement of full-throated support for football and explaining why a winning program will benefit the entire university.

Bollinger has the ability to do all of the above and he would reap a net positive amount of moral and financial support for it.

Will he let the naysayers, the athletics-haters, and the defensive failures who dominate our administration dissuade him?

Or will he do the right thing by Columbia athletics... for once?

(To get an idea of just how long ago 1961 was, and how different the game was back then, take a look at this newsreel footage of Columbia's greatest win of that season.)

Important Cause

Please read this note from Bob Kent '92 and help his important cause:

Dear Fellow CU Athletics Alumni,

I am contacting this select group to ask your help in combatting a desperate situation that gets very little attention: modern slavery in Iraq and Syria. Human trafficking in this region increased exponentially after the 2003 US invasion of Iraq. The Syrian conflict greatly exacerbated the problem, but the arrival of ISIS and their medieval slavery practices created a horror show-esque scenario.

There are minimal government services in the conflict areas and the slavers are unopposed. ISIS even runs a slave market in Mosul. CNBC interviewed me about this topic in August.

Hafaza International (Hafaza is a 501(c) non-profit organization, see here: Hafaza International) has begun to execute a plan to counter this tragedy. This fall, I traveled to Turkey and met with representatives from the Free Syrian Army and their former president, Ahmad Jarba. In January, I will travel to Kurdistan, Syria, and Iraq to coordinate counter-slavery operations with the Peshmerga General Command, the Southern Front, and Jaish al-Karma (all of these organizations are moderate and have some level of US government support). If these meetings are successful, we will build the only organization in the region capable of identifying, locating, rescuing, and restoring the victims of slavery. Hafaza will coordinate fundraising and public awareness campaigns, construct shelters, and provide expertise to train, locate, and restore the victims. Our partners will provide rescue forces, a support network, and protection for our shelters.

We need sponsors to help us fund the January trip. Any assistance you provide will be greatly appreciated.

You can make a difference - who dares wins!

Thank you,

Bob Kent
President, Hafaza International

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Push for Pernetti Picks Up

He IS interested... let's get him!

I now have more than one source that tells me that former Rutgers Athletic Director Tim Pernetti would be very interested in the Columbia A.D. job if approached by CU.

If we have not already approached him, there is no more time to waste.

Pernetti is rainmaker who would have an immediate positive impact on Columbia athletics. Everyone in the sports world I talk to thinks this is a no-brainer decision and is wondering what’s taking so long for Columbia to hire him already.

Again, I want to pre-emptively dispel anyone from thinking that the scandal at Rutgers that led to his downfall should in any way give Columbia any pause.

First off, while Pernetti did not do exactly all the right things in the Mike Rice incident, I and many experts on the Rutgers story believe Pernetti was unfairly ousted in the whole affair.

This column puts everything about Pernetti and that incident into the fairest light.

But just as importantly, we should all consider strongly Columbia’s current status as a severely wounded brand. How ludicrous it would be if we attempt to ride on some kind of high horse after what our administration has done to athletics in general and football in particular.

Columbia would offer Pernetti a chance to get back into a profession he was born to do and do much better than 99% of his athletic director peers. Columbia also offers Pernetti the glow of an much more elite academic institution than any of his peers could ever hope to associate with.

In return, Pernetti would give Columbia a shot in the arm and announce to the world that this university isn’t just paying lip service to the dream of competitive athletics.

If you are going to the men's basketball game vs. Hofstra at Levien Gym Saturday night, do all of us a favor and seek out anyone from the administration you can find and talk Pernetti up. This is not the time to stay silent. Let them know we're being vigilant and we don't accept sheepish failure. 

I want to hear reports of Pernetti visiting campus in the coming days. I want to hear that Pernetti is being considered seriously by the administration.

I want to hear that Columbia has hired Tim Pernetti as our next athletic director.