Thursday, January 29, 2015

Is This Our Next Head Coach?

Matt Patricia

The coaching rumor mill keeps churning.

The latest person I hear is a strong candidate for Columbia's head coaching job is a little further up the chain on the New England Patriots staff than I thought: it's defensive coordinator Matt Patricia.

Patricia would probably be the smartest head coach in Lion history; he's an aeronautical engineer by education.

He's not a big household name for non-intense football fans, but in the football world he's very respected.

A good profile of Patricia was published just yesterday in the Boston Globe.

BREAKING: Pernetti Bolts to IMG

A man who many of us thought would be an excellent choice to be Columbia's new athletic director is off the market.

Darren Rovell is reporting that former Rutgers AD Tim Pernetti has indeed left his position at NYCFC, but he's going to take a job at IMG College Multimedia.

I still think the AD job at Columbia is a step up from this new position, but there you go.

I at least hope some effort was made by Columbia to hire him before Pernetti made this decision.

20 More Days?

Outgoing Athletic Director Dianne Murphy sent and email to many football alumni yesterday afternoon announcing the date and time for the meeting I wrote about a few days ago that will feature President Lee Bollinger and consultant Rick Taylor.

The meeting will be on February 18th from 9:30am to 10:30am in the Presidential Ballroom at Faculty House. You can email Murphy's office to RSVP.

I am encouraged by a number of things here, and discouraged by others.

I am encouraged that Bollinger himself will be speaking directly to what could and should be a large number of football-supporting alumni. And I'm even more encouraged to see that Taylor is still involved enough in the process to be at this event. I believe the more Taylor handles, the better the results will be.

But I am highly discouraged by the date of the event itself. February 18th is 20 days from now. I suppose it's possible Columbia will have hired a new athletic director by then, and if so I hope he or she will also be in attendance. Yet it seems like there's a very good chance the new AD will not be on board even by then, despite some reports that the hiring was coming any day now.

It also seems almost impossible that a new head coach will be hired by then as well. That would further stretch our already unprecedented late date for being without an HC.

So let's HOLD UP a second here and think a bit more. Is Bollinger that much of a glutton for punishment that he would want to face a group of already impatient alumni after 20 more days of no solid developments?

I don't think so.

Thus, the optimistic-yet-realistic side of me thinks this date has been set because by then the administration believes it will indeed have an AD and a head coach already hired. Depending on the personnel, this event could become a victory lap of sorts.

I just can't believe that Bollinger and Taylor would risk the brickbats of the angry crowd without something to show for their efforts by then.

Moving on...

Murphy's email also thanks interim Coach Chris Rippon for his recruiting efforts and points out that Columbia now has 20 verbal commitments from incoming freshmen. (Only about 13 are known to the general public, but that number sounds about right).

I too thank Rippon for his efforts, but by this time last year we had more than 20 commits, (though not all had been named on this blog or elsewhere), and there is once again something of a positive spin being put onto things that are rudimentary in Ivy football.

This is nothing new. Columbia continues to think that just showing up is something to cheer. Yes, we will be able to field a team of human players next season. Yes, that's not the easiest thing to accomplish. But no, that's not something to actually be proud of when every other school in the Ivies is doing it and doing it better. This is similar to the congratulatory hosannas that keep rolling in for the erecting of the Campbell Center, a facility that was built literally decades after the need became clear and every other Ivy school had already met their similar needs well before us.

That's why my sources telling me that Columbia is now ready to offer an unprecedented high salary for a new head coach is so encouraging in comparison. Instead of promising to pay as much as some of the other Ivies, the numbers we're hearing now would blow every other school out of the water. That's what you need to do when you're so far behind the pack.

Columbia has to stop playing catch-up. We are now rated as a top 5 university in the entire country. We are located in the #1 city in the world. We offer unmatched access to career and cultural opportunities. Columbia football should be the #1 program in the Ivies. If we strive for anything less, we will continue to be the worst.

We are what our record says we are. And we remain a program with a 21 game losing streak and no coach and no athletic director.

So we need to get those blanks filled.

And soon.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

BREAKING: The Price of Success

Hold onto your hats folks, but I have learned the total compensation package Columbia is offering for a new football head coach is Earth-shattering by Ivy standards.

How much is it, you ask?

It's in the neighborhood of $4 million to $5 million.

Yeah, you read that right and yes that's a nice neighborhood.

I can't confirm just what part of the package is cash and how much housing and other perks factor into that total.

No matter how they do the math, the offer blows away any kind of salary ever offered to a head coach in this league.

I suspect the hackles will be raised inside and outside of the Columbia world when this number gets out. But I APPLAUD President Bollinger and whomever else is showing the willingness, courage and determination to put this money up in hopes of luring a transformational head coach for football.

That is what Columbia needs, and no one should be under the illusion that a Columbia resurgence in football would be anything less than an earthquake for the rest of the league.

Sheldon Hackney

$$$ + Hackney + Kim = Success

Perhaps the powers that be at Columbia are finally embracing the philosophy that Penn's then-President Sheldon Hackney used when he helped, or at least allowed, the turnaround for Quaker football 33 years ago.

After Penn's transformational 1982 season, it was Hackney who famously said in several speeches that he had discovered that "winning costs less than losing."

In other words, Hackney saw that a winning football team was generating a lot more alumni donations, alumni interest, and student involvement in campus life.

But here's the problem for Columbia and its big pile of money: WILL we get a taker?

Because if we don't get one soon, I believe the administration will let the interim coaching regime stay in place for another season if need be in the belief that 10 more months of this offer out there will surely lure a big fish by then.

Now, I think Coach Chris Rippon is doing a fine job in this interim role. But I also believe allowing an interim coach to remain in place for more than 1-2 more months would be severely harmful for the program. For one thing, it would promote the rumor that no decent coach would ever want to come to Columbia no matter how much money is on the table.

So, I have some advice on that score that could save us all some time and perhaps even save the university some major dollars.

Before you just roll out the big bucks, please also understand that a series of public statements by President Bollinger will go almost as far as those millions of dollars in luring the right coach.

If we want to simply lure a big name coach from D-1 or NFL football, the money might be enough.

But if we want someone more than a former big-time candidate on his way down in his career, the potential pool of applicants needs to hear the right things from Bollinger.

Columbia wants someone on their way up career-wise, and no one who will put winning at the top of his list is coming to Morningside Heights until he knows the administration will allow him to do everything within the rules to win, AND create new rules to give us an edge like Tommy Amaker has clearly been allowed to do with Harvard basketball.

(If anyone is unclear on what new rules/devices Columbia can use that it has thus far not done, they are available in the archives of this blog for all to see. I have been discussing them with the readers here for years).

Jim Yong Kim

Hackney's post-1982 speech was basically copied and improved by then Dartmouth President Jim Yong Kim in 2009.

I say "improved" because Kim made very positive comments about football in not just any speech. He made them in his FIRST speech after being named the president of the College!

Kim then walked the walk; showing up at practices and hanging out on the sidelines playing the role of #1 cheerleader. I know some people inside the actual football program found that annoying, but the value of having a very visibly football-friendly president is a major reason why Dartmouth has returned to respectability in football. Don't let anyone try to convince you otherwise.

I don't think President Bollinger can or will match Kim's enthusiasm, but he can make a similarly bold statement for football and then hire an athletic director who does the same.

The financial commitment has finally been made in a way commensurate with the needs of this Columbia football program.

Now it's time to take the next step, and that involves very clear and very public statements. The days of just communicating with a few alums here and there must be ended.

If not, a fool and his money will be easily parted.

Monday, January 26, 2015

12 Committed Men

The powers that be in the Columbia administration and consultant Rick Taylor are counseling patience as the Lions head into February without a head coach.

This delay is unprecedented in modern Ivy history. The only team to find itself without a head coach later than this date had an untimely death as its excuse. 

Of course, I refer to Princeton's Ron Rogerson who died of a heart attack while jogging not much more than a month before the 1987 season. He was replaced by Steve Tosches, who I always thought was a very good coach. 

Columbia cannot blame accidental death for its lack of an athletic director and a coach, but perhaps patience will pay off. 

What isn't paying off is the fact that we still don't even have a "we're working on it" official statement from the administration. We don't even know if next month's meeting with the football alumni will yield any solid information. 

But we've all made the valid case against the university's lack of decent public relations before.

So, let's just update our list of committed incoming football freshmen for now with five new names:

Kyle Castner is a 6-2, 211 pound QB from Ben Davis HS in Indianapolis. According to my full database of Lion players and their high schools, Castner would be the first Ben Davis grad to come to Columbia football. Castner has an interesting story as he is a successful athlete despite suffering from diabetes. 

Adam Armesto is a 6-6, 235 pound OL/TE from Canton HS in Canton MICHIGAN, (not Ohio). Like many football players, he also spent some time on the wrestling team. Armesto is the first documented Canton HS grad to come to the Lions. 

Ryan Gilbert is a 6-0, 178 pound DB from Bellevue HS in Bellevue, Washington. Gilbert is only the second confirmed Bellevue grad to come to Columbia football and the first since Matt Weber '92. 

John Riley McLaughlin is a 6-1, 192 pound CB/WR from Alcoa HS in Alcoa, Tennessee. He is currently doing a PG year at Phillips Andover. McLaughlin is the first documented Alcoa grad to come to Columbia football, but one of many to do so via a year at Andover.

Sean "Jimmy" White is a 6-3, 220 pound DB from Friendswood HS in Friendswood, TX. White will be the first Friendswood grad to come to Columbia football, but not the first player from the town of Friendswood. That honor goes to Uche Osadebe '07, an excellent DL/OL for Columbia almost 10 years ago. White also looks like a good one. 

So, here's the list of our 12 confirmed players so far: 

1) Adam Armesto OL/TE 6-6, 235 lbs. Canton HS Canton, MI

2) Kyle Castner QB 6-2, 211 lbs. Ben Davis HS, Indianapolis, IN

3) Calvin Falkenhayn LB 6-2, 230 lbs. Loyola Academy, Wilmette, IL

4) Ryan Gilbert DB 6-0, 178 lbs. Bellevue HS, Bellevue, WA

5) Connor Halm DT 6-7, 270 lbs. Langley HS McClean, VA

6) Danny Hong QB 6-4, 215 lbs. Bishop Gorman HS, Las Vegas, NV

7) Brandon Krcilek WR 6-2, 185 lbs. Hamilton HS Chandlerm AZ

8) John Riley McLaughlin CB/WR 6-1, 192 lbs. Alcoa HS Alcoa, TN/Phillips Andover Academy Andover, MA

9) Luke Melsop DE 6-5, 220 lbs. St, Francis de Sales HS Newark, OH

10) H.T. Minor RB 5-9, 175 lbs. Woodberry Forest HS Woodberry Forest, VA

11) Jason Vravick LB 6-2, 225 lbs. Stevenson HS Lincolnshire, IL

12) Sean "Jimmy" White DB 6-3, 220 lbs. Friendswood HS, Friendswood, TX

Friday, January 23, 2015

Breaking: Bollinger & Taylor to Speak

Last night at the IFA Dinner, outgoing Columbia Athletic Director Dianne Murphy said that Columbia President Lee Bollinger and consultant Rick Taylor will meet and speak with the football alumni. 

This meeting will be sometime next month. 

Whether that means we will have hired a new AD and/or football head coach by then is, of course, not clear. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Belle of the Ball

Does anyone want to wager what the #1 topic of discussion will be at tonight's Ivy Football Association Dinner?

Will the talk be about Harvard's back-to-back titles?

How about the NFL draft prospects for Yale's Tyler Varga?

Or maybe the fact that Brown grad James Develin scored a TD in the AFC Championship Game?


Uh uh.


I guarantee you, almost everyone will be talking about the mess at Columbia, our lack of an Athletic Director and head football coach, and how the team is worse than anyone can ever remember.

There will be jokes, there will be questions, but most of all there will be pity.

That's what we're reduced to.

I hope that outgoing AD Dianne Murphy and the rest of the official Columbia delegation at the IFA dinner tonight is forced to hang their heads in shame.

Because they don't deserve to be there.

They have disgraced the Ivy League, disgraced Columbia, and disgraced themselves.

I also hope the other schools' former players and the former Columbia players there on their own dimes will not shy away from politely, but forcefully, condemning Murphy and co. to their faces.

They have no one but themselves to blame for Columbia's descent to ever lower lows since 2011.

Remember, there is a tacit acceptance of their failure among the well-heeled alumni.

This cannot continue.

Welcome Back to 2002!

Several sources tell me that the football team has been told they will be practicing with an entirely new offensive scheme, at least for spring practice.

The new offense will be an Oregon Ducks-fast paced set. And the players are excited to hear this.

This tells me that former Columbia head coach and current interim coach Ray Tellier is probably acting as the de facto offensive coordinator.

Ray would be picking off where he left off in 2002, his final season as head coach. Longer term fans will remember he instituted what he called a "Tempo Offense" that year to deal with the graduation loss of RB Johnathan Reese and Columbia's general personnel weaknesses that season.

If Columbia does bother to hire a new head coach for this coming season, perhaps he will scrap this offense. But even if he does, I suppose mixing things up a bit and getting the players moving faster couldn't hurt too much.

Meanwhile, we've continued to see the names of some new commits to Columbia coming in.

I will continue to list them and profile them in the coming weeks, but for now I want to wait until we finally hire a new A.D. as promised by President Bollinger. He's already three days late on his target date to announce that hiring and I just don't know what to make of the program until we get that news.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Just to be Fair... RELAX! And here's some "News"

Tim Pernetti

Earlier this morning on WFAN's "Boomer and Carton show" (#1 in the NY market for morning radio, and featuring our own Jerry Recco), Craig Carton said he "heard" that Columbia had hired a new AD from a "storied New York franchise who has an interesting personal past."

Craig Carton

Of course, Carton could only be referring to Tim Pernetti, my personal top choice to be our next athletic director.

Pernetti is currently working for a subsidiary of the New York Yankees, the new New York MLS club NYCFC.

Sadly, I cannot confirm Carton's source for this pronouncement, (IT WASN'T RECCO), and for all we know this could have been one of Carton's many jokes.

Brian Flores

On the coaching front, I have sources telling me Columbia is again interested in taking a look at New England Patriots safeties coach Brian Flores.

Flores was the Pats assistant Robert Kraft suggested Columbia hire back in 2011, and apparently he's back at it. Since 2011, Flores has moved up from defensive assistant to his current position with the safeties.

I like Flores for his Brooklyn pedigree and his overall experience. But my concerns are that he has no recruiting experience and he went to Poly Prep HS in Brooklyn, a fine place, but also the HS Alma Mater of some of the less-than-helpful football alumni on the infamous Columbia football committee.

Of course, I would be happy to give someone like Flores a chance if he is hired. As it is, he cannot be signed until after the Patriots play the Super Bowl in 11 days.

But these reports and rumors this morning are yet another example of how the information pipeline has broken down and this is only encouraging more rumors and speculation.

I don't think anyone reading this blog ever expects me to launch a defense of the Columbia administration and how it's handling the current athletics hiring situation.

And what follows isn't exactly a defense, but some words of encouragement to help Columbia's officials and trustees to relax, stop worrying, and open this process up just a little bit.

The only good reason to say absolutely nothing to the alumni and fans about where we are in the AD and/or the football head coaching searches is because President Bollinger and whomever is working with him are talking with truly great but controversial candidates.

The fear may be that by having their names leaked, the negotiations could be scuttled by misguided alums who would publicly bash those candidates.

BUT RELAX: Because I believe some of the candidates who would bring the most outrage are people I've already mentioned on the blog as some of my favorite potential AD's or coaches. And there's been criticism of them, but nothing severe.

I understand the administration's fears in this case, but I also want to make sure Bollinger, the Board of Trustees, and everyone else needs to understand something: RELAX!

So far, this blog, which attracts comments from the undeniably most passionate fans in the Ivy League, hasn't come remotely CLOSE to the kind of brutal attacks you see launched on big time college sports fan pages and blogs.

If we are indeed going after "big name" coaches or AD's, there is simply no truth to the theory that online comments would scare them away. Believe me, the "big names" in sports are used to MUCH worse and can handle it.

But the same perhaps cannot be said for Bollinger and the members of the Board of Trustees who I believe make up the athletics subcommittee. They reportedly include Judge Rolando AcostaJonathan LavineLisa Carnoy, and Dr. Paul Maddon (with of course a big assist from Board Chairman Jonathan Schiller)

I am here to tell Acosta, Lavine, Carnoy, Maddon, Schiller and Bollinger that they need not be afraid of the "what people will say" factor and press on. They also need not be afraid of giving the alumni and fans some kind of updates during this process.

Let me clue Acosta, Lavine, Carnoy, Maddon, Schiller and Bollinger into something: they could tell the world they're about to hire the resurrected souls of Lou Little and Vince Lombardi for these jobs and STILL some people would criticize them!

So just RELAX, and press on and accept that the criticism will come and it usually means nothing. Also know that if you DO hire a true big name, like Pernetti for AD, then this blog and its many fans will open a righteous can of whup ass on any alums or anti-athletics types in the Columbia world who try to blast you for it.

So while some people are urging the alumni and fans to relax, I am urging the administration to relax too.

If the administration makes the bold move and does the right thing for athletics, I and thousands of others will have its back.

On the other hand, if it's keeping this process quiet because it DOESN'T have any decent candidates and they want to shield themselves from deserved criticism... well, I can't help these people.

I understand that in the academic world failure is often rewarded, but the real world doesn't work that way and no one should hold back

So, it's okay to cool it with the silent treatment. Only the weak and the evil are harmed by the light of better public information.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Is Tomorrow D-Day?

The beginning of the new semester is tomorrow. In this interview with the Columbia Spectator 47 days ago, he said he hoped to name a new A.D. by the beginning of this semester. 

 If no Athletic Director is named tomorrow, then President Bollinger should make a statement giving us an update on the hiring process and also some kind of explanation as to why he's behind schedule.

It's as simple as that. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Many Signs Point to Schiano

There's one good thing that's come of the otherwise misguided silence from President Lee Bollinger's office on the search process for a new athletic director and football head coach: it's forced us all to look closer at evidence and use our powers of deduction. 

Now, if the Columbia administration is uncomfortable with the rank speculation that follows here, there's always one easy way its members could stop it. 

But I think the chances are slim that the Bollinger team will say anything. 

Anyway, based on what we're hearing I think there's a very good chance the mystery "big name coach" Bollinger is supposedly negotiating with is former Rutgers and Tampa Bay Head Coach Greg Schiano. 
Schiano has made no secret of his desperation to get back to coaching. 

But his bid to get back in this year seems to have died on December 14th when Pitt became the third big program to go another way after Nebraska did the same a bit earlier. Michigan was never really going to happen either. 

Anyway, that December 14th day of death roughly coincided with the December 18th date that Rick Taylor delivered his report on the football program to Bollinger. 

Schiano is the biggest name of any name still out there that even a fairly casual fan in this area would recognize. 

Schiano is very connected in New Jersey and would conceivably have no trouble moving back there from his current home in Tampa. 

Schiano has a 17-year-old son who is a high school senior who plays football and may like the chance to attend Columbia. He has committed to Bucknell, but that's not binding. 

Schiano has a good relationship with New England Head Coach Bill Belichick and should thus be on Robert Kraft's radar. 

In addition to getting a guy who should give some newfound hope to even the most downtrodden Columbia fan, Schiano has a reputation of being a stickler for academics at Rutgers. That could help him overcome some of the criticisms he might see coming to the Ivies from big time college football. 

I am not touting Schiano here, I am simply making an educated guess about who the mystery man Columbia is talking to. 

Again, if Bollinger and the rest of the administration doesn't like it, they can give us some real information.  

Friday, January 16, 2015

Scratch Hankton

Bruce Wood's Big Green Alert Blog reports that Dartmouth WR coach Cortez Hankton has taken a job at Vanderbilt.

Hankton was one of the outside the box, up-and-coming possible candidates I named about two months ago on this blog.

Many think he would have been a great head coach for Columbia, and perhaps he still will be one day.

NFL Films Hypes the 1987 Lions!

After the 1987 season, NFL Films decided to profile the Columbia football program. The biggest reason was because the freshmen team, led by Greg Abbruzzese and the late Solomon Johnson, had gone 6-0 and filled the coaches and fans with loads of hope. 

The video I've uploaded above has some great highlights, including a few spectacular runs by Abbruzzese, and some great soundbites from Matt Sodl, possible A.D. candidate John Robinson, (who had transferred from SMU earlier that year), and assistant coach Doug Jackson wearing a vintage fur coat. 

I was able to get this video thanks to former Head Coach Larry McElreavy sending me a copy. 


New List

Danny Hong

Danny Hong's commitment and that of RB H.T. Minor brings our confirmed list of incoming freshmen to seven.

Hong was current freshman Dylan Weldon's teammate at Bishop Gorman. He would be the fourth Gorman grad to come to Columbia football. You can see Hong's highlight video here.

Minor will be the first Woodberry grad to come to the Lions. You can see his highlight video here.

 1) Calvin Falkenhayn  LB  6-2 230 lbs. Loyola Academy Wilmette, IL

 2) Connor Halm  DT 6-7, 270 lbs. Langley HS McClean, VA

      3) Danny Hong QB 6-4, 215 lbs. Bishop Gorman HS Las Vegas, NV

      4) Brandon Krcilek  WR 6-2, 185 lbs. Hamilton HS Chandler, AZ

 5) Luke Melsop  DE 6-5, 220 lbs. St. Francis de Sales HS Newark, OH

      6) H.T. Minor RB 5-9, 175 lbs. Woodberry Forest HS Woodberry Forest, VA 

      7) Jason Vravick  LB 6-2, 225 lbs. Stevenson HS Lincolnshire, IL

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Hong Chooses Colulmbia

6-2, 215 pound QB Danny Hing ( from Bishop Gorman HS in Las Vegas has just announced he is coming to Columbia. 


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

More Names

Ralph Friedgen

I’m willing to bet someone in the Columbia administration is looking at this blog and tsk-tsking at all the wild speculation we’re engaging in as we try to guess who will be our next head coach and athletic director.

So let’s keep it going because if the administration doesn’t like it, it only has itself to blame for this as it continues to say nothing about where it is in the hiring process.

Again, based on some sources who have told me Columbia has made an offer to a “big name” coach who would get all of us excited, let’s keep thinking about who that person could be.

I have some more possible candidates. Please add your own names in the comments section.

1)      Ralph Friedgen

The Rutgers OC would truly put the “BIG” in the “big name” report, and he has head coaching experience at Maryland. On some level, he makes sense. On others, he does not.

2)      Joe Rossi

Sticking with Rutgers, how about their young new defensive coordinator? Rossi has FCS experience as he coached at Maine for years. He’s a young guy well under 40 who could be a breath of fresh air after the near-60 Mangurian.

3)      Al Bagnoli

Stranger things have happened. Dartmouth’s Bob Blackman switched from Dartmouth to Cornell, but not before taking some years away from the Ivies. Bagnoli coming here would cause an earthquake in the league, but so would Columbia suddenly becoming a winner. 

Sean Ryan

4) Sean Ryan

Former Columbia and Harvard assistant, now coaching the dream lineup of wide receivers for the Giants. Is he a "big name?" Well, other than in the minds of Ivy coaching geeks like me, I don't think he really qualifies for that title. STILL, he might be a really great choice.

5) Jim Tressel

As I understand it, Tressel's punishment from the NCAA blocks him from coaching any NCAA team UNLESS that school can show cause to have an exception made. If Columbia doesn't qualify for a hardship exception, who the Hell does?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Who Could “Make Me Swoon?”

As I’ve been reporting for more than a week now, my sources tell me Columbia has made an offer to a “big name coach” to fill our football head coaching vacancy.

I still don’t know who that person is, but now more than one person has told me that the person would make all of us very, very excited.

Okay, I’m desperate enough for some good news to play along and think of a quick list of possible new coaches who would, as one commenter put it, “make me swoon.”

**All of these names are based on MY OWN CONJECTURE. If you have a problem with that, tell the administration to give us some real info on any football topic to discuss.

(I’m going to exclude names like Urban Meyer and Jim Harbaugh because I said I was optimistic, not crazy)

1)      Joe Moglia

To me, this is the big fish that got away three years ago. I think he would be a perfect fit for Columbia and turn us into winners extremely fast.

2)      Tom Gilmore

Tom has consistently been my top “realistic” choice, so I don’t know if he could make anyone swoon or even be considered a “big name.” But I would be overjoyed if we could grab somebody like him with Ivy playing experience, Columbia coaching experience and experience coaching under difficult circumstances and still being competitive.

3)      Phil Estes

Some of my sources believe we’re going after an existing Ivy head coach. I don’t know if Estes is the best Ivy coach right now, but he sure has the best track record of doing the most with the least. Brown’s facilities stink, the school spirit stinks, and the actual quality of a Brown education compares to the other Ivies is always in doubt. I think Tim Murphy is a super coach, but how could we ever know if he’s succeeding at Harvard thanks to his school’s rep and financial commitment alone? If there was any existing coach in this league to steal away, it would be Estes.

4)      Greg Schiano

It would be a Hell of a strange path for Schiano, but he is truly a “big name” around these parts. Yes, I might swoon if he’s the guy we’re going after and we get him. Our recruiting efforts in the talent-rich New Jersey area alone would get a tremendous boost.

5)      Mark Whipple

The man who turned things around at Brown before even Estes did it was Mark Whipple. He’s at UMass now and could do better. He’s probably the best developer of QB’s in the Ivies I’ve ever seen.  It’s 20+ years later and his formula still works at Brown. 

More Commits Coming In

 Calvin Falkenhayn

I knew once we got our first confirmed commit, some of the others would come out of the woodwork. So now we have more:

First up is 6-2, 230-pound LB Calvin Falkenhayn from Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Illinois.

Falkenhayn would be the sixth Loyola Academy grad to come to Columbia football and the first since All Ivy Punter Paul Delaney ’14. You can see his highlight video here.

Loyola is also the place where we found all-time Lion great linebacker Des Werthman ’93.

Also from Illinois we have 6-2, 225-pound linebacker Jason Vravick from Stevenson HS in Lincolnshire.

You can see Jason’s highlight video here.

According to my Columbia recruiting all-time data base,Vravick would be the first-ever Stevenson grad to come to Columbia football.

Next up, we go to Ohio for 6-5, 220-pound DE Luke Melsop from St. Francis de Sales HS just outside of what must be a very happy town of Columbus today.

You can see Luke’s highlight video here.

Luke would be just the second St. Francis grad to come to CU football. The first was Mike Maloney ’87.

So, here’s “The List” so far:

1)      Calvin Falkenhayn  LB  6-2 230 lbs. Loyola Academy Wilmette, IL

2)      Connor Halm  DT 6-7, 270 lbs. Langley HS McClean, VA

3)     Brandon Krcilek  WR 6-2, 185 lbs. Hamilton HS Chandler, AZ

4)     Luke Melsop  DE 6-5, 220 lbs. St. Francis de Sales HS Newark, OH

5)     Jason Vravick  LB 6-2, 225 lbs. Stevenson HS Lincolnshire, IL

Monday, January 12, 2015

UPDATE: First, AND SECOND, Confirmed Commits

Brandon Krcilek

It's taken forever, but we finally know of one incoming member of Columbia's football class of 2019,

That player is 6-2, 185 pound WR Brandon Krcilek from Hamilton High School in Chandler, Arizona.

Krcilek also placekicks and punts.

Krcilek would be the first documented Hamilton grad to come to Columbia for football according to my all-time Columbia recruiting data base.

Here's is highlight video.

UPDATE: And now we have a second.

Connor Halm, #71

According to his Twitter feed, 6-7, 270-pound DT Connor Halm from Langley HS in McClean, Virginia has committed to Columbia.

You can see Halm's highlight video here.

Halm would be the first confirmed Langley grad to come to Columbia football.

While the Columbia head coaching situation is still very much a mystery, I can report that some of the remaining assistant coaches are still out recruiting across the country.

A big part of me wants to shut down my usual tracking of incoming freshmen until we get this coaching and athletic director situation settled... or at least until the administration decides the alumni and fans are worth the trouble of informing in the first place.

It almost seems cruel to pretend to be excited about a bunch of kids coming into a situation where Columbia can win, but the powers that be at the school don't believe that.

But it's still nice news for their families and friends, so I will do the best I can.

Thursday, January 8, 2015


Just in case those of you reading my two blogs over the past 10 years haven't figured it out...

The ONLY reason I do this is because I have always believed and still believe that Columbia Football CAN win!

In fact, those who attack me here and elsewhere always take that assertion of mine as an insult in some way. They think up a million excuses for our records and seem most angry that someone has come along to say it's not acceptable and certainly not inevitable that we have to lose.

I may not always be right about the best way for us to get there, but the criticisms I level here are always made with the clear knowledge that we have failed to do something that is not impossible.

Anyone who doesn't know this already about me and this blog has willfully not been paying attention.

BREAKING: Two Possible Updates

Sources tell me there's a very good chance Columbia will hire a head football coach BEFORE it hires an Athletic Director.

And those sources also say an offer has been made to a "big name coach," although no one can really define what would make a coach a "big name" in the minds of the Columbia intelligentsia.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

"Wrong Coach"

Phil Wallace

Phil Wallace was one of the best student radio broadcasters of Columbia sports on WKCR of the last 30 years or so.

Today, the 2004 Columbia grad writes this interesting account of what happened when he tried to suggest a football head coaching candidate to Athletic Director Dianne Murphy three years ago.

It's just one more piece of evidence that the fix was in all along for the disastrous hiring Pete Mangurian, but it's also an important lesson for what happens in the coming weeks.

The football program cannot survive another unethical, under-the-table, secretive hiring process.

So, if you've made a suggestion about a coaching lead and have had any response from anyone in the administration, make sure you keep a safe record of that exchange! And, let the public know about it as soon as possible so no flimsy denials can be made at a later date.

This is serious moment for all athletics at Columbia. Either we act vigilantly now and demand that the administration keeps us informed, or we can complain about it later... again.

Here is a very short list of what all reasonable alumni/fans want right now:

1) A Weekly Public Update on the A.D. and Head Football Coaching Hiring Processes. 

That includes providing the names of the people on the search committees or search firms hired, and opportunities for some kind of public forum to discuss the choices as Princeton and so many other schools routinely do.

If the administration is unable or unwilling to provide the above, it should at least explain why.

2) Publish the Relevant Parts of the Rick Taylor Report

Rick Taylor didn't do his report for free. That means university funds, provided by donors like us, paid for it. We deserve to see at least an executive summary of the report.

If the administration is unable or unwilling to provide the above, it should at least explain why.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Here's How It's Done, part 2

Finding colleges that do their AD and coach searches in a more efficient and ethical way than Columbia is like finding sand on the beach.

Here's a look at some state schools and even community colleges who do it better than Columbia:


UCD athletic director search reaches final four.


Members of the public are invited to meet the first of five candidates for the Grizzly athletic director position at The University of Montana

Western Washington University


Athletic Director candidates forum.


Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Right Way and the Wrong Way

Time's up!

As we head into the first full week of 2015, the time has run out on the grace period I was willing to extend to the administration for keeping us all in the dark about the search process for the new athletic director and head football coach.

This is the week for the alumni, fans, and current student-athletes to be updated on the situation. 

This is the week we need to hear something supportive and substantive about athletics from President Bollinger or Board of Trustees Chairman Schiller. 

Actually it's well PAST time, and if anyone doubts that I invite you to examine how one of our fellow Ivy schools conducted its search for its new A.D. the RIGHT way. 

Here is the blow-by-blow account of how Princeton routinely informed the public as it replaced Gary Walters over the course of 2013-2014.

As you read the timeline below, ask yourselves: did Columbia do any of these things in the past six months? 

·         September, 4th 2013–Gary D. Walters, who in a five-decade career as a student-athlete, coach, administrator and NCAA leader has established his voice as one of the most respected in college athletics, is in his 20th year as Director of Athletics at Princeton University. Walters has announced that he will be stepping down at the conclusion of the 2013-14 academic year.

·         September, 2013–List of Committee members.

·         October-November 2013–Princeton held Open forums with the Athletic Director Search Committee Monday, October 14, 2013 for students, Tuesday, October 15, 2013 for faculty and staff, and Saturday, November 16, 2013 for Alumni
·         March 10th, 2014–Princeton announces it will hire a new Director of Athletics before the end of the academic year.
·         April 15th, 2014—School president, Christopher L. Eisgruber announced this afternoon that Mollie Marcoux will become Princeton’s next Athletics Director. A 1991 graduate, she will be replacing Gary Walters, who announced back in September that he planned to step down after twenty years in the position. She was previously the executive director of Chelsea Piers, a management organization which includes athletic and entertainment complexes in New York City and Connecticut.

And look what the folks at Portland State recently did. 

They pared the candidates for A.D. down to two and let the campus community provide feedback about both of them. 

It's amazing that Columbia fans and alumni are so battered by the treatment we've received by this administration and cabal of favored donors and officials who run athletics that we don't even know what to demand and expect. 

But the above examples from Princeton and Portland State are how real schools who really care about athletics and their alumni get it done.

And at Columbia, I believe this disdain extends to ALL alumni whether athletics are involved or not.

This is the same disdain we see when the Columbia College Today magazine and Columbia Magazine continue to lionize the alumni who participated in the violent and destructive 1968 riots and more recent students who have made attacking the university their calling card. Of course these people don't donate a cent to Columbia, and yet they are venerated as heroes while those who support athletics and the reputation of the university as a whole are denigrated.

It's also amazing that Columbia sports fans and fans of the other Ivies can continue to be so confused as to why we keep losing. 

Take a look at how we hire our people, keep the processes secret, and conduct everything we do in athletics with dishonor. 

Garbage in, garbage out. 

Maybe it's not too late to fix this situation, but the culture needs to change at the top. 

And for those of you who still don't get it, let me spell it out for you very briefly:

President Bollinger, Bill Campbell and the rest of the powers in the Columbia administration are spitting in your faces regularly. They despise you and especially despise me for daring to give you a voice. 

Do something about it.