Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Speak Up... Somebody!

Hoops Win

It was truly a great win for the Lions men’s basketball team last night in double OT at Colgate.

This blog celebrates success, and when our teams win they will be celebrated. When they lose, they will be questioned.

Any questions?

Anyway, the win was special because the Lions came back to win it and surged down the stretch. That’s been the one key thing missing from Kyle Smith’s resume at Columbia so far. Now he needs to do it when Ivy play starts in 18 days.

Still waiting and listening

Fan/Alumni Promotion for Mangurian Falls Short

The silence remains deafening as I continue to ask for some actual positives Head Coach Pete Mangurian has contributed to the Columbia football program so far. Even when given 100% free reign to support him, no one seems to be able to say anything at all.

So let’s ask some of our leaders to speak up.

Where’s Mangurian’s year-end message explaining the season and why there should be hope for 2014? How about a statement from Dianne Murphy? Bill Campbell, who wields more power over the program than any other single person, should speak up too.

And when they speak up, we want something more than clich├ęs, platitudes, and overly general messages. How about some specific goals for 2014? How about the number of wins in football they would deem acceptable for this upcoming season?

Isn’t it funny how we never even get promises? Even an empty promise would be better than the bunker mentality, the pushback against any criticism, and the outright disdain for the fans this administration shows us year after year.

How hard would it be for these people to just say that they will demand a winning season by 2015? Will they be arrested or fired if we don’t get it?

We don’t even seem to merit lip service.

But we demand some kind of communication and soon.  

Coach Mac on ESPN

Bill Narduzzi

ESPN is doing a piece on Michigan State Defensive Coordinator Pat Narduzzi today. Some of you may remember that Pat's dad Bob Narduzzi was a very well-liked assistant at Columbia under Larry McElreavy but died tragically  in early 1988. He was the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach.

Coach Mac is interviewed in the ESPN piece and it should be airing throughout the day on various shows. I"ll also keep a look out for the clip on ESPN.com.

Pat Narduzzi is expected to get a lot of attention for a big time head coaching job once the Rose Bowl is over. Look for him to rise to the top of this game.

UPDATE: This article includes a quote from McElreavy, but does not include the video quite yet. The video included in the link is a one-on-one interview about just the Rose Bowl matchup with Narduzzi.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Tell Us Why...

Leading Off

-Josh Martin ’13 had six tackles  and got the start in the K.C. Chiefs 27-24 OT loss at San Diego yesterday.  The Chiefs put up a huge fight despite resting all their starters. Hopefully, Josh will get some on the field action in the AFC Wildcard Playoff game at Indianapolis this coming Saturday afternoon.

-The men’s basketball team put up a good fight against St. John’s in Saturday before losing 65-59 at Brooklyn’s Barclay Center. But remember, Columbia BEAT Villanova at Villanova last season and still finished dead last in the Ivies. I think there will be a better finish for men’s hoops this year, but PLEASE let’s not heap too much praise on the team unless it actually wins games… especially the games that count. The games that count start on Jan. 18th at Levien Gym against the 0-12 Cornell Big Red. Needless to say, the Lions need to win that game.

-It certainly looks like Columbia has made a good hire good hire for head women’s soccer coach. Tracey Bartholomew comes from LIU, where she’s taken that team to three NCAA tournament appearances over 14 years. She was NEC Coach of the Year in 2008.

These two song titles say a lot about the hiring of Pete Mangurian

Second Chance: Tell Us What’s Good about Pete!

-About a month ago I asked the readers to make a case for Head Coach Pete Mangurian. In response all we heard were personal attacks against his detractors, and some obscure historical parallels to other coaches who failed early in their careers and then turned it around.

Note this past week here in New York, when several strong cases were made for keeping Rex Ryan and Tom Coughlin in their jobs. Hundreds of fans, players, and NFL analysts came forward BY NAME to support Ryan and Coughlin on sports radio, etc.

No one has done so for Mangurian other than Bollinger, Murphy and Campbell and all they’ve collectively said is that Mangurian deserves more time. Notice that not even they could or would list one good thing Mangurian has actually done so far.

This time, let me be more specific: we want to know what GOOD things Mangurian has already done here at Columbia that warrant him another year in the job. Again, saying he deserves more time is not an argument. We want to know WHY he deserves more time based on what he has ALREADY done.

Has he improved any aspect of this team and this program in a tangible way? If so, let’s hear it. And if you can come up with something, is it really significant enough to warrant keeping this job?

As usual, every argument will be heard. 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Benet Academy Pipeline

Nick Surges #8

The steady stream of players coming to Columbia from Benet Academy outside of Chicago continues.

6-3, 215 lbs. LB Nick Surges has given his verbal commitment to Columbia.

His Yahoo! Sports profile page says he also received offers from Harvard and Illinois St.

The Chicago Tribune  named Surges as a "Special Mention" All-State player.

Surges joins current Lions and fellow Benet grads Connor Nelligan and Charles Melka. Nick Melka is graduating this coming May but he is also a Benet alum.

Also, the best academic institution I ever attended, and that includes Columbia, Norfolk Academy is sending two players to the Lions. (Thanks to the readers who sent me the heads up).

Norfolk Academy is a very rigorous school, and I never felt more academic pressure like I did as a GRADE SCHOOLER there in 1980-81. I'm not kidding.

The two players are WR/DB Tyler Holmes and DE/OL Greg Washington. They would be the first documented Bulldogs to come to play football for Columbia.

And thanks to the readers who tipped us off to OL Collin Breckenridge from W.B. Ray HS in Corpus Christi, TX. On his Twitter account, Breckenridge identifies himself as a CU commit. Collin is the second documented W.B. Ray player to come to Columbia, the first being the recently graduated Jerry Bell '12. 

Here's the list of publicly committed players coming in for 2014 so far:

1) Collin Breckenridge OL 6-2, 270 lbs. W.B. Ray HS, Corpus Christi, TX

2) Tyler Holmes WR/DB 6-0, 175 lbs. Norfolk Academy, Norfolk, VA

3) Mike McGrath OL 6-6, 294 lbs.  St. Augustine Prep, Richland, NJ

4) Bailey Popeck  TE 6-5, 230 lbs. St. Georges School, Germantown, TN and Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, NH (PG Year)

5) Reid Stables OL 6-3, 293 lbs. Mullen HS, Denver, CO 

6) Nick Surges LB 6-3, 215 lbs. Benet Academy, Lisle, IL

7) Ian Tyler DE 6-4, 205 lbs. Muskegon Catholic Central HS, Muskegon, MI

8) Greg Washington 6-3, 215 lbs. Norfolk Academy, Norfolk, VA

And here's a list of a few more players that Columbia has made offers to according to Rivals and some other sources:

Thursday, December 26, 2013

UMass Fires Charley Molnar

Charley Molnar

This is what it looks like when a school is serious about winning.

Disproving the Mangurian Lie, Part 3: Josh Martin

Josh Martin 

Josh Martin '13 was one of the singular success stories of Columbia recruiting in the years prior to Pete Mangurian’s arrival.

Originally committed to Wyoming, CU “unhooked” the still-developing Martin and knew they had a real gem as soon as he arrived on campus.

Already an All Ivy performer, Martin was an even more dominant force for the Mangurian-coached Lions in 2012.

And with several NFL scouts in attendance to look at Cornell QB Jeff Mathews in week 9, Martin made the most of it by terrorizing him all afternoon. He punched his ticket to the NFL that day and he’s recently been re-activated by the Kansas Chiefs where he’s already made an impact on special teams.

It’s true that Martin was only there for one more season when Mangurian arrived, but the fact is he was still there and he was extremely effective.

In fact, the presence of just the three players I’ve mentioned so far - Sean Brackett, Marcorus Garrett, and Martin – should have been good enough for a 4-5 win 2012 season. As it was, the Lions only barely won three games.

And Brackett, Garrett and Martin are just the beginning of the list of returning solid talent Mangurian was lucky enough to inherit two years ago. Only an cowardly, excuse-happy failure would perpetuate lies about the many treasures he was handed.

And we will continue to talk about those treasures for weeks to come.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Breach of Contract

Joe Moglia

In a recent interview with Forbes Magazine, wildly successful Coastal Carolina Head Coach Joe Moglia, confirms what we always suspected about the way his candidacy was handled by Athletic Director Dianne Murphy two years ago. Here's the key graph:

"As much as I want to spend my life coaching, I did not want to spend the rest of my life looking for a job," he told me --- Columbia University, Florida Atlantic University, and Fordham University all showed interest in him. Columbia BLEW HIM OFF AFTER A PHONE INTERVIEW...

For Moglia not to even get a face-to-face interview is beyond the pale of acceptable behavior by a so-called responsible athletic director.

Unless, that AD was dead set on hiring an inferior candidate like Pete Mangurian from the beginning. An inferior candidate who would be so beholden to Murphy for lifting him out of obscurity and documented failure after failure, that he would surely do whatever she asked no matter what.

I consider this incident to be a serious breach of fiduciary duty by Murphy.

In other words, this is a dismissal-worthy offense considering Moglia's great success over the last two years and the extremely low salary he was willing to accept.

Columbia football hasn't been a perpetual failing state for so long because of bad luck, it's because of bad decisions. And this was a whopper.

The Columbia alumni community deserves some really detailed answers from Murphy about why she never gave Moglia's candidacy a fair shake.

We deserve them now.

Disproving the Mangurian Lie: Part 2

While Sean Brackett was a singular talent ready to go for another year once Pete Mangurian took over as head coach, RB Marcorus Garrett was probably the most valuable treasure awaiting the new coaching regime.

Garrett was banged up a bit in his 2011 season, but he still showed many flashes of brilliance including a nifty TD run against Sacred Heart. But his stats were misleading as the coaches who recruited him in 2009 knew he was very special from the day he surprised them by committing to Columbia close to Christmas time that year.

And unlike superstars like Brackett and Josh Martin, Garrett was just a junior headed into the 2012 season.

#23 responded with one of the greatest seasons for a rusher in Columbia history.  His 957 yards were third best in a single season in the all-time team record book.

But Garrett’s 2013 season was marred by coaching malpractice. It started well with the senior being named one of the team captains. However, even as it became painfully clear that the Lions could not pass protect to save their lives, Garrett got fewer than 20 carries per game in most contests. Then he got injured in the week six 56-0 loss to Dartmouth and then committed a team infraction that earned him a suspension on top of all that.  Fellow team leader Paul Delaney was also implicated in that suspension. Garrett never saw the field again.

When two captains/team leaders act like that is spells one thing: M-U-T-I-N-Y.

Not only did Mangurian and co. have a historic talent in Garrett, but they mismanaged it so badly that by the middle of what should have been a glorious senior season that historically talented player bailed on the regime in a big way.

The Garrett incident should be more than enough to disprove the lie from Mangurian about a talent-thin team, but there are many more other cases and we will document them here.

And we can't cut Mangurian any slack because he won't cut the fans and his talented players any slack. 

With him at the helm, CU football has no chance of success at any time. 

He's already proven that, and only those with a personal financial or professional connection to him say otherwise. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Perpetual Lie

Sean Brackett soared, but Pete Mangurian showed him no respect

More and more people close to the football program report that Head Coach Pete Mangurian continues to talk to anyone who will listen, (including major donors and administrators), about the supposed lack of talent he inherited on the roster when he became coach two years ago.

This is a disgusting and cowardly lie meant to cover up the current coaching staff's historic, and I mean historic, failures.

And I'd like to put a stop to it right now with a detailed analysis.

I'd like to dedicate each of the next few days to those "talentless players" Mangurian inherited.

Let's start with the QB:

1) Sean Brackett

Brackett was struggling with injuries for almost all of 2011, (the season before Mangurian took over), but he was still the total package. He could run fast and tough, he had a strong arm, and most importantly, he was a team leader in the truest sense of the word.  Oh, and in 2010, he was 1st Team All Ivy. When healthy, and he was relatively healthy coming into 2012, he was the best Columbia QB in 30 years.

Mangurian and Offensive Coordinator Jaime Elizondo proceeded to misuse this commodity by keeping him in the pocket too much and subjecting him to a playing behind a by-design too light and inexperience offensive line.

Mangurian's lightweight experiment and his disdain for the veteran O-linemen put Brackett in a dangerous situation week after week. He also threatened Brackett with special punishment if he ran outside the pocket more than he deemed necessary, thus taking away the QB's singular talent of throwing better while freezing the defense on a roll out.

Mangurian's mismangement, disrespect, and general ineptitude in his handling of Brackett is one of the best examples of how is he all wrong for coaching in today's Ivy League and especially at Columbia.

To all the big administrators and donors who have heard Mangurian's line about how he inherited no talent. I suggest you get the other side of the story.

Of course, as it stands now, the truth will come out painfully all during the next season.

Tomorrow: Marcorus Garrett

UPDATE: I'll talk about Josh Martin in a separate post as well, but I just want to mention that he had four solo tackles for the KC Chiefs in their game against the Colts yesterday.

Martin was one of those "talentles, cupboard-bare" players he supposedly inherited.

Consulting Success

For those of us, (myself included), who were unfamiliar in the past with the whole world of collegiate athletic consulting firms and how they operate, I give you the folks at Collegiate Sports Associates.

CSA was just hired to assess the situation at the University of Wyoming, and this was their report.

Here's are some highlights from their work that could certainly be written about Columbia:

a “culture of acceptance and validation” that has resulted in sustained mediocrity in University of Wyoming athletics, most notably football and men’s basketball.

“There is a pervading opinion that ‘good enough is good enough’ in football and basketball,” the report states. “Thus, there is not a sense of urgency and accountability that accompanies programs with high expectations for competitive success.”
The report noted university officials understand that they face geographic and financial challenges, but they can’t allow those challenges to become excuses.
There need to be higher expectations, and thus, more accountability, the report said. And that starts at the top.
As a result of this report that was filed just a month ago, Wyoming has already fired its head football coach.

Oh, and how much money did this assessment cost?

Just $35,000! 

For Columbia's donors, that's nothing. In fact, I bet those of us who want big change in football who aren't even wealthy could raise that much money in a week.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Coach of the Week: Chris Rippon

Chris Rippon

When the excellent defensive coordinator Kevin Lempa left the Lions after last season it was definitely not a good omen.

Lempa was one of the best assistant coaches on all of the Ivies and the best coaching hire Pete Mangurian has made to date.

But when Mangurian brought in Chris Rippon to take the job we were told he was a great "get."

Yeah, not so much.

Once again, let's compare the stats of the 2013 Columbia defense to the last 0-10 Ivy team, the 2008 Dartmouth Big Green.

Remember, Dartmouth's defense that year was universally considered to be the WEAKER of the two units that season.

Columbia 2013 Defense vs. Dartmouth 2008 Defense

Points Allowed

CU ‘13: 402

Dartmouth ‘08: 343

1st Downs Allowed

CU ‘13: 272

Dartmouth ‘08: 230

Rushing Yards Allowed

CU ‘13: 2,429

Dartmouth ‘08:  2,310

Passing Yards Allowed

CU ‘13: 2,712

Dartmouth ‘08:  2,207

Opponent TD/INT Ratio

CU ‘13: 24/5

Dartmouth ‘08:  15/7

Total Yards Allowed

CU ‘13:  5,141

Dartmouth ‘08:  4,517

Touchdowns Allowed

CU ‘13:  52

Dartmouth ‘08:  46

Yep, that's pretty ugly. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Pete Mangurian is FAT

I rest my case

I’m sure a lot of you reading the title of this post are already filling with sanctimonious outrage over what seems like an unwarranted personal attack.

But it’s actually the most appropriate thing to say and point out about a coach who has spent his entire career berating players he deems overweight.

I don't judge people by their weight, but Mangurian clearly does and usually to no good end. 

It destroyed his relationship with the players when he was with the Atlanta Falcons, it shattered relations with players and fellow coaches when he was with the N.Y. Giants, and today it’s Columbia’s chances to field a decent team and keep its quarterbacks alive,

And yet this guru of weight loss, this Richard Simmons of the gridiron, is himself very clearly overweight! I suppose for a 56 year old man, Mangurian is generally healthy. But he has an enormous gut that’s only grown bigger over the last year. Is it possible that he’s eating his linemen’s food? Is he eating to forget? Is he just a hypocrite?

Well, maybe he’s embarrassed about his weight and THAT’S why he’s kept a low profile lately.

Because it’s been a month since the 2013 Columbia football season ended.

A MONTH since the Lions completed the absolute worst season in Ivy League history.

And there hasn’t been ONE WORD of explanation, analysis or – of course – apology from Mangurian.

It’s hard to fathom how deep Mangurian’s disdain for the fans must really be.

Perhaps in a few weeks, probably in response to this post, we will get some kind of statement from Mangurian. I suspect it will put the blame on injuries and also include some words about how he never fully realized how great the task of turning the program around really was.

They will be empty words.

Mangurian got the season he planned for and deserved.

His deliberately too-light and non-cohesive offensive line wasn’t even able to protect star QB transfer Brett Nottingham for one full game, resulting in a disastrous QB situation.

His decision to bench key wide receivers and drive other talented veterans off the team led to incredible incompetence and more dropped passes than anyone has ever seen in a 10 game season.

His deliberate plan to reduce the number of carries for his star RB Marcorus Garrett, took away Columbia’s best chance to compete and made most of the losses blowouts.

The list goes on. But this was all directly a result of MANGURIAN'S foolish strategies and stubborness. This isn't any former coach's fault, Columbia's fault, or the fault of bad luck. 

This man is a disaster as a coach.

He hates the players, the fans, the students, and especially the football alumni.

Oh, and did I mention HE’S FAT?!?!

Isn't it hard for the players he pushes into losing so much weight to see him get bigger and bigger himself? 

It must be. 

Athletic Director Dianne Murphy is rail thin, but she also hasn’t made any statement about what happened this season or how she plans to implement improvements.

Her disdain for those of us who really want positive change is also well documented.

But again, one MONTH has passed and not a peep.

How can anyone be stupid enough to donate money, buy tickets, or hand over anything of value to these people until they at least offer some explanation for this debacle? 

How can anyone want to give more time to a group that says it demands success, but produces none?

Maybe that’s just what it’s like to be overweight and yet demand that others slim down, no matter what.

It kind of fits.

And in some terrible, perverted, sick way… doesn’t that all make sense?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Aim High

Marc Raye-Redmond

With recruit commitment season in full swing, I thought I’d take a look at three players who I would call long shots to come to Columbia.

But, I would be very prepared to give credit where credit is due and praise Head Coach Pete Mangurian and his staff if they are able to rope in any ONE of these three players.

Taumoe'anga may be my favorite of this group. He’s a prime example of the rarest commodity in the Ivy League, a top quality Defensive Tackle. He’s already enjoyed the experience of helping to turn an entire program around. 

A 6-4 WR from Utah, Reading is a go-to guy with more than a few 100-yard receiving games in his career. You can learn more about him by watching this.


A 5-11 RB from the Greater Cincinnati area, Raye-Redmond already has an early offer from Brown. This guy would be a great weapon on the ground and as a receiver out of the backfield.

Okay coaches, go get ‘em!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Cupboard Bare? I don't think so!

I missed the news on Sunday that Josh Martin ’13 had been reactivated for the playoff-bound K.C. Chiefs. And as he finally got on the field, he made a nice impact!

Martin forced a fumble on a kickoff return that the Chiefs turned into a TD in the 56-31 win.

It’s yet another example to shoot down those who say very talented players don’t come to Columbia football. This insane line that Head Coach Pete Mangurian pushes that he inherited a team with no talent and no positives is disproved every day. This just happens to be the latest example.

Mangurian came here with players like Martin, Marcorus Garrett and Sean Brackett all healthy and ready last year and all he milked out of them in 2012 was three wins.

This is not to excuse the previous regime that didn’t get enough wins out of the talent either. But that was why they needed to go. They had talent and squandered it. Mangurian claims he had no talented players, and decided to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

The Result? Worst season in Ivy history.

Oh, and let’s see how many of Mangurian’s players ever get on the field in an NFL game. 

South Jersey Lineman

Mike McGrath

6-6, 294 pound O-Lineman Mike McGrath has committed to Columbia.

McGrath is the first documented St. Augustine Prep player to come to Columbia football despite the fact that the school is in nearby South Jersey.

The nice article about McGrath, (see link to above), does include a mistake as it says that Head Coach Pete Mangurian just finished his first season at CU. As we know, this was his second season with the Lions.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Recruiting 2014: Nice and Naughty

Bailey Popeck, right

Popeck Commits

Bailey Popeck, a TE from Tennessee, and the younger brother of Ben Popeck ’13, has verbally committed to Columbia. Like his older brother, Bailey is a graduate of St. George’s School in Tennessee. Unlike his brother, Bailey took a PG year at Phillips Exeter.

Congratulations to Bailey and his family.

Speaking of recruiting…

What would be the nice things for Columbia football to find in its incoming recruiting class?

The top needs are obvious: everything. But I would put a priority on offensive linemen, running backs, wide receivers, and big defensive tackles.

I wish I could say all it would take is a super-talented crop of recruits to turn things around. But honestly, would anyone really trust naughty Head Coach Pete Mangurian to manage the best talent properly?

A super strong 300-pound LT would probably be told to lose 50 pounds and call us next year.

Another super-talented QB would probably be ordered never to run, and not be protected well enough to stay in the pocket anyway. (See Brett Nottingham).

A great speedy WR anything shorter than 6-2 would probably not be recruited at all.

The list goes on.

I’ll continue to publish news about recruits as it comes in, (and I am getting more reports of verbal commitments right now), but the excitement and fun that I usually get from the whole process is all gone.

I can’t help but think it’s all irrelevant until Mangurian and Dianne Murphy get off this reservation.  

The team is being grossly mismanaged and no one in power is even willing to admit it, let alone fix the problem.

What on EARTH are the CU recruiters telling these kids coming on campus the next few weekends?

If any potential recruit is reading this, I suggest you tape it all on your iPhone. It might make for a good laugh in about 11 months.

Recruiting Truisms

I’m personally sick of hearing over and over again about how there are only so many decent players available to play Ivy football, everybody already knows who they are every year, and a school like Columbia never has a shot to get any of the best guys.

That’s the conventional wisdom that I’m convinced is pushed out by lazy and embarrassed Ivy coaches who, if you just bother to look closer, miss so many great recruits every year.

There’s a great example this year among the Heisman finalists. He’s Jordan Lynch, who was in fact interested in playing for an Ivy team when he was coming out of Mount Carmel HS outside Chicago. But Ivy recruiters basically ignored him.

I promise you there are many other stories like this every year. Usually, players are overlooked for dumb reasons, (like a program has a head coach with stupid weight and height requirements), and since we now have the DUMBEST  of all the Ivy coaches with the MOST STUPID recruiting requirements, we can expect Columbia to miss out on more than the usual number of Jordan Lynch-type players for at least another year.

Here’s a good player Columbia, and most Ivies, probably aren’t even looking at: He’s Joe Capobianco from Lawrence HS on Long Island. 

Is Lawrence a powerhouse? No. Is Long Island football as good as it once was? Also no. 

But Capobianco can flat out play and he’s been a team leader and starter for three seasons. Sadly, he’s 5-11 and he also sometimes runs the ball, so the fact that he’s broken every Long Island passing record will not get any Columbia or much Ivy attention. 

You can’t fix stupid.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Coach of the Week: Jaime Elizondo

Call the Mounties!!

Let's not be too harsh on Head Coach Pete Mangurian.

The atrocity that was the 2013 season was truly a team effort by the entire coaching staff and an enabling administration.

To paraphrase Casey Stengel: "Can anyone here coach this game?"

But I don't want anyone to think I'm holding our coaches to a standard that's too high.

Instead of just saying, (factually), that this was the worst statistical season for any team in Ivy League history, I think it's only fair to compare this season's performance to a different recent poor season by a Columbia team just to put things in a proper perspective.

So let's compare this year's performance by offensive coordinator Jaime Elizondo based on the 2013 offensive stats vs. the stats of the 1-9 Columbia Lions of 2007 and the 2-8, (0-7 Ivy) 2005 Lions.

Just for reference, please remember that the 2007 Lions were 0-7 in the Ivies and were not competitive in too many games. It was definitely the worst season of the Norries Wilson era.  The 2005 team was Bob Shoop's worst team by a mile.

Being measured against the performance of those teams should be very favorable to any competent assistant coach.

And as you will see, the 2013 offense wasn't even in the same LEAGUE as the worst teams Coaches Wilson and Shoop ever fielded at CU:

2013 Points Scored: 73

2007 Points Scored: 184

2005 Points Scored: 116

2013 1st Downs: 113

2007 1st Downs: 179

2005 1st Downs: 133

2013 Rushing Yardage: 519

2007 Rushing Yardage: 627

2005 Rushing Yardage: 464 (Hey! We got ONE!)

2013 Passing Yardage: 1,524

2007 Passing Yardage: 2,686

2005 Passing Yardage: 2,004

2013 Total Offensive Yards: 2,043

2007 Total Offensive Yards: 3,313

2005 Total Offensive Yards: 2,468

Don't Forget, Elizondo is ALSO the QB's coach, so let's compare the QB stats as well:

2013 Completion Percentage: .408

2007 Completion Percentage: .548

2005 Completion Percentage: .532

2013 TD Passes/INT's: 4/14

2007 TD Passes/INT's: 14/15

2005 TD Passes/INT's: 10/12

2013 QB Pass Efficiency: 70.7

2007 QB Pass Efficiency: 112.3

2005 QB Pass Efficiency: 102.90

2013 Sacks Allowed: 39

2007 Sacks Allowed: 28

2005 Sacks Allowed: 33

But HEY, far be it from me to be so cruel as to compare this 2013 offense to the juggernauts that were the 1-9 2007 Lions and the 2-8 2005 Lions. After all, they did win three games between them!

So let's compare this offense to the last team that went 0-10 in Ivy history, the 2008 Dartmouth Big Green!

2013 CU Points Scored: 73

2008 Dart Points Scored: 129

2013 1st Downs: 113

2008 Dart 1st Downs: 145

2013 Rushing Yardage: 519

2008 Dart Rushing Yardage: 434 (hey! ONE thing CU 2013 did better!)

2013 Passing Yardage: 1,524

2008 Dart Passing Yardage: 2,083

2013 Total Offensive Yards: 2,043

2008 Dart Total Offensive Yards: 2,517

2013 Completion Percentage: .408

2008 Dart Completion Percentage: .552

2013 TD Passes/INT's: 4/14

2008 Dart TD Passes/INT's: 7/16

2013 QB Pass Efficiency: 70.7

2008 Dart QB Pass Efficiency: 97.7

2013 Sacks Allowed: 39

2008 Dart Sacks Allowed: 24

I could show more, but the mercy rule is being applied.

Simply put, even when compared to one of the worst seasons in Columbia's last 20 years, this group still isn't even CLOSE statistically!

And the 2013 Lions aren't even that close statistically to the woeful 0-10 2008 Dartmouth Big Green.

How can these people still have their jobs?

Reunion Stand

In the coming days, members of the classes that will be celebrating milestone graduation anniversaries this summer will be receiving emails and letter from Columbia asking them to participate in the planning for their reunion weekends in June.

This is, of course, basically a fundraising letter.

Already, I am hearing reports of some reunion class members telling the alumni office that they will not donate nor participate in anything until the issues with athletics are addressed.

This is an excellent way to make the University and the Bollinger administration sit up and take more notice.

Athlete alumni and alumni who support athletics should not be treated as 3rd and 4th class citizens. We are 1st class alums in every way. We are the most committed, the most generous and the most aware of what occurs on campus today. This is the time to stand up and be heard.

Why They Should Listen

"Let's talk more about ways to insult our most committed alumni!"

One alum sent me this very well-reasoned analysis the other day and I think it very clearly states why athletics continues to matter and should matter even more than it does... yes, even at Columbia.

Read on:

"Although I attended the College and the Law School, I’ve had no real contact with Columbia over the years other than attending football games. I didn’t even attend either of my graduations. Accordingly, I’m not very familiar with alumni-college interaction. For example, I don’t know how many alumni attend graduation. I should think very few other than parents of graduating legacies. The same goes for alumni attendance at these five-year reunions, I assume. God knows I never attend them.

Football averages 5,600 per home game and, I suspect, that 4,000 of the attendees are alumni (with 8,000 alumni among the 10,000 at Homecoming). 

Even if you assume that the same 4,000 attend every game, football must constitute by a HUGE margin the most significant nexus between alumni and Columbia. Does any other alumni activity, on or off campus, come even remotely close? People talk about the lack of interest in Columbia football. In absolute numbers, that may be true, but compared to every other alumni function, football games OVERWHELMINGLY dominate alumni affairs. Frankly, in light of the numbers alone, I don’t understand why football isn’t a PRIORITY. At the very least, the administration should be heavily represented at EVERY game.

As I say, I know little of non-football alumni activities. Perhaps there are thousands of alumni attending student theatricals, university-sponsored “fun runs”, etc. I wouldn’t know. Are there?"

The rhetorical questions at the end of his message are pretty easy to answer. 

Football IS the #1 alumni-drawing event even in the WORST of times. 

And no matter what "confidence" President Bollinger says he has in Dianne Murphy and Pete Mangurian, the total embarrassment that was the 2013 season should be getting a lot more of his personal attention. Rubber stamping letters written for him by Murphy's staffers isn't going to cut it. 

(Another) One that got Away...

An up-and-coming Patriot League assistant coach who strongly impressed the few Ivy coaching search committees has flown the coop.

Lehigh OC Dave Cecchini is taking the head coaching job at Valparaiso. 

This guy is a hot commodity that Columbia could have grabbed two years ago, or this year if our administration came to its senses and removed Mangurian. 

Monday, December 9, 2013


It doesn’t look like President Lee Bollinger will ever come to his senses and remove Dianne Murphy and Pete Mangurian. His hatred for the alumni and the athletes is so acute, I really think he enjoys seeing the teams and fans suffer. 

But even as he ignores this incredible failure, if it continues for another year perhaps even he will feel pressured to do something. 

So let’s set some benchmarks for the coming year since we will now be made to endure their incompetence for yet another year.

Mangurian in 2014

An 0-10 or 1-9 W-L record should be immediate grounds for dismissal.

2-8 should be very shaky ground. If the two wins are against Ivy teams, you could argue that’s a significant improvement.

3-7 or better would be, sadly, a real upgrade from last season and a minor miracle.

The bar is clearly set EXTREMELY low for Mangurian next season, and it really feels like we’re rewarding failure. But every new season is a bit of a clean slate. I wish I could say I was confident the Lions can even go 1-9 next year, but I’m not. 0-10 seems overwhelmingly likely. And that’s why I’d still rather cut Mangurian out now and save everyone the anguish.

Bollinger and Murphy are for more anguish.


If Men’s Basketball fails to get a winning Ivy record yet again, this should be a serious question mark on her record.

Women’s Basketball looks extremely weak. If that team has a sub-10 or sub-8 win season, that should not be ignored.

Baseball looks poised to make another run for the Ivy title. In all fairness if that happens, Murphy should be congratulated and enabled to reward Coach Boretti in an even more meaningful way. 


This comment from a reader on the last post was so good, I had to reprint it here.

Roar Said:

"Our 1986 team stood as the worst in Ivy history until Pete worked his magic this year. That team was outscored by 290 points and played only a couple of competitive games. There were only about 60-70 kids in the program then, as many recruits quit during or immediately after their 0-6 freshman season. And that 1986 team was the culmination of a horrible stretch: we had won two games in the prior four seasons, been winless in 1985 and had hired a terrible person as our new coach, MacElreavy. The program was completely broken and in very poor hands.

By contrast, Pete inherited a program that had won nine games in the prior three seasons and had numerous all-Ivy caliber players returning (Brackett, Ward, Garner, Ollinger, etc). There were 100 kids in the program and the Campbell Center was set to open. The team went 1-9 in 2011, but lost five games by single digit margins. So the program was weak, but not uncompetitive.

From this starting point, in just his second year Pete fielded the worst team in Ivy history, outscored by 330 points and not competitive in a single game. In fact, our score differential did not come close to describing the lopsided nature of the games, as several teams including Harvard, Dartmouth and Yale put in their 3rd string as early as the first half. Princeton could have beaten us by 70 points had they chosen to do so. I sincerely doubt David K. was at that game.

We don't need the histrionics about Pete's personality and bullying. The facts are sufficient. He destroyed our football program in two years. We have one All-Ivy HM player returning next year! That's out of 40 returning league-wide. Pete's had two recruiting classes, and if we are objective about it, they are not good enough for this level of play. That will bruise some egos, but the fact is we were not competitive against the 3rd string players from other Ivy teams.

Next year we will have another disgraceful record and Pete will be out, because our talent is decreasing year by year and not even the AD will be able to rationalize his performance away. The argument then boils down to whether it is better to take action now and try to begin rebuilding sooner or whether we stand by and let the current leadership ruin another football season and leave an even bigger mess for the next person to clean up. I continue to wait for Pete's defenders to tell us one thing he did this year as a football coach that helped us be a better team."

Friday, December 6, 2013

Slap in the Face

A number of readers tell me that President Lee Bollinger finally responded today. to their emails to his office about the football program.

That is, if you can call a boilerplate, form letter response a real response.

They ALL received the SAME following email.

I have been glad to receive messages like yours, demonstrating the passion so many feel about Columbia’s football program.  Thank you for your note and your interest in our team’s challenges this season.  The frustration you feel is shared by our hardworking student-athletes, who take great pride in their performance.  The well-being of our student-athletes is of the utmost important to the University and, though this season has not showcased the potential of our team, we are confident that their efforts and perseverance will payoff in future seasons.

My certainty in the leadership and dedication of Director of Athletics, M. Dianne Murphy, and Football Coach, Pete Mangurian, has never wavered, and in the decade since I appointed Dianne, we have made enormous progress in the athletic department.  I remain proud of our student-athletes, and thank you for your ongoing support of them and of Columbia athletics.

Lee C. Bollinger

Another day, another insult and slap in the face from this administration.

Even the worst failure in the history of Ivy football doesn't merit a real response.

These people have no shame.

Bullying Doesn’t Work Here

These signs don't work, but there is something that does...

There’s just too much evidence over the years to ignore the fact that Head Coach Pete Manguruian is a classic bully.

And in football, bullying does indeed often work as a way to motivate players.

But bullying doesn’t work as well in the Ivy League and it really doesn’t work at Columbia.

And that’s probably the biggest reason why Mangurian is not a good fit for CU, never will be a good fit for CU, and should have been identified as not a good fit for CU far before he was hired by Dianne Murphy.

It was the bullying of then-offensive coordinator Vinny Marino that destroyed Norries Wilson’s tenure as head coach at Columbia. And that bullying was well documented for more than three years. Murphy was aware of it as well, and yet she still went out and hired a well-known bully to be the head coach after removing Wilson. It’s bad decisions like that that make people wonder if the Columbia administration deliberately wants football to fail.

But let me back up a second and explain exactly why “hard-nosed bullying” is such a bad ingredient here.

1)      The Guys are Already Motivated

Ivy football players are not professional athletes getting paid to play. There are no athletic scholarships either. Most of the players have parents paying at least something out of pocket for them to be here. In many cases, we’re talking well over $200,000 in total costs over the four year period.

Ivy players aren’t phony students. They take real classes and don’t have an army of paid tutors to do their work for them.

At Columbia under Mangurian going to practice has meant getting up before 5am and taking the bus to Wien Stadium.

No member of any athletic team can lose their spot in their class, or any need-based scholarships even if they quit their team on day one.

And even though Mangurian has continued the egregious policy of making several players sit in the stands instead of dressing for home games, there STILL has not been a mass exodus from the team. Can you imagine busting your butt in practice week after week, taking the physical and verbal abuse, knowing you’re not going to play, and THEN being told you won’t even be able to stand with your teammates on the sidelines? The ONLY reason Mangurian institutes this policy is to get guys to quit the team. He’s always wanted a much smaller roster. He must be surprised at how tough these kids really are.

So in other words, we’re really not talking about a group of kids who need to do much more to prove their motivation. They can quit at any time and suffer no other consequences other than not being on the team anymore.

2)      Bullies Don’t Teach

Can bullying be effective in teaching the players proper techniques? Possibly, but it sure doesn’t work at Columbia.

Under Marino, key players like M.A. Olawale and Sean Brackett were bullied and attacked so fiercely in practice that it clearly affected their play in a negative way. Brackett was tougher than Olawale when it came to standing up to Marino, but the end result is that two team leaders were so torn down by the coaching staff that their ability to really lead was lost.

Under Mangurian, we have even more stark proof of how bullying is making the team technique worse. Have any of you ever seen more dropped passes, missed blocks, and bad fundamental pass coverage? If you have, I really pity you.

And it gets worse, I know of at least four players last year who needed to be treated for depression after enduring the punishment from Mangurian all season long. And you can’t say these were weak kids, they all came from high school programs with very tough coaches. It’s just that Mangurian’s bullying never seemed to fulfill a purpose other than maybe to get players to quit, (see above).

3)      Bullies Don’t Heal

In what is probably the most egregious example of fruitless bullying, Mangurian has pressured some injured players, (the ones he doesn’t want to quit), to keep playing and even not report their injuries to the trainers and medical staff. One player in 2012 who was possibly our #1 rated recruit, had a very serious injury and just could not play despite Mangurian’s threats and pressure. He eventually quit the team. Another star freshman player had a less serious, but still debilitating injury and Mangurian nevertheless pressured him to get back on the field. He did not play again anyway and now he’s off the team as well.

Injuries are frustrating and I realize that some players can be motivated to rehab and get back on the field faster, but Mangurian can’t get that done by bullying. Not here.

4)      Bullies Can’t do P.R.

Whether it’s erratic and hateful comments in postgame press conferences, or quotes in the school paper complaining about alumni negativity, Pete Mangurian apparently can’t turn the “bully button” off when practice and the games are over. In case he and Murphy haven’t noticed, Columbia Athletics needs a real P.R. boost  with the alumni, the existing student body, and the local Manhattan neighborhood.  Mangurian is failing miserably at this, and it’s not just because the team is losing so badly. Plenty of coaches of losing teams have played the P.R. game well and made themselves liked by the news media and even the fans during dry spells. That’s not happening here and it’s because Mangurian can’t stop being a bully no matter what.

How to Beat a Bully

If you’re a parent of school aged kids like I am, you’ve probably been inundated recently with printed material filled with a bunch of “anti-bullying” initiatives. Frankly, they all make me laugh. You can’t stop bullying by telling kids not to be bullies.

You stop bullying by teaching your kids how to STAND UP to bullies. It’s like arming a previously unarmed crowd; the bullies won’t stop existing but they will get out of your face.

If you think this past season, with the 0-10 record and the horrific stats were bad, just wait until you see what another year of Mangurian bullying will produce at Columbia.

This has to stop. I understand some people think it would be better if we all just shut up and let Pete have another year, but that just makes no sense. Being quiet will not make this situation even the slightest bit better.

Let’s not give up or be quiet. Let’s stand up to the bullies Mangurian and Murphy and not give in. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013


Just to remind everyone that we’re all still Columbia sports fans first and foremost, I want to congratulate the Men’s Basketball team on its rout over Army last night. I listened to Jerry Recco and Sal Licata calling most of the game and it was a blast. I hope the team proves my fears wrong and keeps this going when the Ivy season starts in January.

Sometimes people ask me if I'd be okay with the Columbia sports teams starting to win more even if it meant never getting rid of Dianne Murphy as A.D. 

The answer is always simple: "in a heartbeat!" 

This is about winning, after all

Well, it’s been a wild 36 hours.

Less than an hour after I emailed a few people Tuesday about how the NY Post wanted to contact them for a story on Columbia athletics, Head Coach Pete Mangurian sent an email to the PLAYERS warning them no to talk to the Post even though my email was not sent to any players.

I was just going to let that go, but a few hours later someone decided to “prove” I had sent it to the players with the obviously doctored photo above and put it out on Twitter.

In the last few hours I’ve learned from my sources that even staffers in the Athletic Department are telling the players this was a doctored email/photo.

So, here are the questions we’re left with right now:

1)      WHO doctored the Email?

Obviously, someone I sent my email to forwarded it to the wrong person and that person tried to use it against me. I have no problem with anyone forwarding my email, because there was nothing wrong with it in any way. But trying to doctor the “sent” and “from” boxes to include a current player’s name is extremely weird and little bit sick.

I really don’t have a long list of suspects, but I would like to ask offensive coordinator Jaime Elizondo why he thinks his name appears as the recipient of the supposedly forwarded email. Did he take the picture of the document and then doctor it? When I openly asked in the comments section of the blog yesterday if Elizondo was commenting here or was responsible for this “Emailgate,” there was no response.

As far as the current player’s name on the email, I’d rather not get him any more involved. I am convinced he never even saw the email, at least not until the Mangurian warning went out later that night.

I realize there are a lot of people who could have pulled this stunt, but if it is anyone on the football coaching or support staff… well, we have a serious problem and a very big clue as to the kind of mania we’re dealing with.

2)      Who showed/forwarded the email to Coach Mangurian?

Whoever got the email to Mangurian’s attention did it very quickly. I didn’t send it to anyone in the Athletic Dept. or on the staff, so where did they get it? That’s an important piece to the puzzle.

3)      Columbia University is led by America’s #1 advocate for Free Speech. Why does Mangurian think that it’s okay to warn/threaten the players not to talk to the press?

I understand that during the season, the Athletic Department is very wise to insist that the sports media go through the dept. before talking to players. But when the season is over, or when the story is essentially a news and not a sports item, (and this case checks off all those boxes), I’m not so sure it’s ethical in any way to tell student-athletes they shouldn’t talk to the media. We know President Lee Bollinger signed off on that statement about athletics no questions asked, but I think he would be very reluctant to rubber stamp this kind of gag order policy from Mangurian. If he does, we’re talking a very high level of hypocrisy that I don’t think even Bollinger is capable of.

4)      If it turns out that someone on the Mangurian staff, or Mangurian himself, is behind the email inbox doctoring, will they be punished?

I’m not holding my breath, but the information I have about at least one A.D. staffer telling the players that she knows the email was doctored is very encouraging. Dianne Murphy has to be very careful here. We know this coaching staff is incapable of putting together a winning program, and Murphy apparently can get away with not doing anything about that. But I don’t think she can ALSO get away without disciplining someone from the department who’s putting out false information to smear an alum, a current player, and possibly a current coach.

5)      Is this what it’s going to be like for the next year?

Are we going to be spending more time and energy on the administrative mess that is Columbia Football, or will we ever just get to focus on recruiting and getting ready for 2014? Even if I shut down this blog tomorrow, I think this email incident proves that CU Football cannot even begin to function normally this offseason as long as Mangurian and his staff are in place. Even if his staff had nothing to do with this email thing, someone very close to them did and there is a culture of antagonism and defensiveness against the fans from Bollinger to Murphy to Mangurian on down. And that culture is so tainted right now, it’s clearly taking priority over more important things like the upcoming recruiting weekends on campus. Doesn’t it make more sense to cut our losses now and jettison this staff instead of looking over their shoulders day and night for the next real or imagined embarrassment?