Thursday, February 19, 2015

5 Reasons Why Hiring Al Bagnoli Would be a Good Thing for Columbia

Will Columbia have what it takes to bring legendary former Penn coach Al Bagnoli to Morningside Heights?

I suspect we’ll find out in the next 48-72 hours.

Until then, let’s assess the reasons why he’s worth going after:

1)      He’s a winner

Do I need to document the facts all of us already know?


But I guess I need to talk about Bagnoli’s final two seasons at Penn and why they weren’t winning seasons.

I have my theories, and one is that perhaps he wasn’t getting the support he used to get from previous administrations.

Whatever the reason, the Quakers still kicked our butts both of those years and were no pushovers week to week.

2)      He already knows this league and this team

No shakedown period will be required with yet another coach who needs to get re-acclimated to Ivy rules and the state of the league as it stands now.

Bagnoli is also very well-versed when it comes to existing player personnel across the league. And I believe he already has an honest assessment of our current players.

This will eliminate the disadvantages we would have had by hiring another coach so late in the game. Perhaps the 2015 season won’t be a lost cause after all.

3)      He is revered and feared in this league

Do I have to remind Columbia fans how good Bagnoli is at working the refs?


But maybe I do have to remind fans that Bagnoli’s name carries a lot of weight with high school coaches across the country. He’s widely respected and the coaches out there who have routinely steered their kids away from Columbia will think twice about doing that if Bagnoli is at our helm.

On game days, I expect the stands to be fuller. Many Penn fans in New York tell me they’ll come to Columbia home games now just to see how this all works out. So we might get better attendance even before we win.

4)      He can groom a successor & teach the new A.D.

Lots of younger up-and-coming assistant coaches would be willing to put in some time under Bagnoli, (and for the higher salaries we’re going to offer), than with almost anyone else. With the list of assistants I’m told Bagnoli already can bring in, Columbia could actually have a coach waiting in the wings for the first time ever.

And I know it sounds a bit presumptuous, but who do you think Peter Pilling will look to for guidance as he tries to navigate the Ivies for the first time? I can’t think of a better teacher.

5)      It’s a sign of administration commitment

As Bruce Wood wrote earlier today. there’s no way Al Bagnoli is coming to Columbia without some real guarantees and specific promises from the administration that go beyond money.

This is what we’ve all been asking for for so long. Hiring Bagnoli and doing the things to get him to sign on the dotted line would be the first real sign of commitment from the administration since it hired Jim Garrett 30 years ago.


alswingman said...

Complete agreement with your assessments Jake. History shows nothing is assured for coaches who switch up programs after a period of success. A smart guy like Bags is probably going through his mental checklist with Pilling and Bollinger in meticulous fashion. He is very aware of the risks. Washing out here will end his legacy while achieving success at Columbia would be a major breakthrough. He needs ducks in a row with powers that be.

Josh said...

I want to make it clear who I am: Josh Smith CC'11. I have read this blog since I first got offered a chance to play at Columbia. And of all the posts I've read, bashing coaches I played for, commenting on teammates I suited up with, I have kept my mouth shut. But I can't anymore.

This is the cost we are willing to pay to win? Look, I want to win as much as anyone. And after four years of destroying my body for this program, watching the last few seasons under Mangurian has effectively destroyed my soul. But of those four years I played, I got the chance to suit up vs Penn on Saturday's twice. They were some of the dirtiest, most disrespectful players I have ever shared a field with.

Not only that, but Bagnoli was the most disrespectful coach to us and our program. It's tough to have pride in a program that has lost 21 straight games. Yet winning with Bagnoli as our coach would always leave a bad taste in my mouth. Is this really the only coach that has proven a winner that we have a chance at?

alswingman said...

I remember in the 80's Penn players had that reputation as well. Success breeds arrogance.

I remain, very truly yours, Richard Szathmary said...

Somw here might gladly settle for "dirty and disrespectful" Penn-type players, at least for a few years, if they provided winning seasons. The days of moral victories for Lions teams (if indeed they ever really existed) are long gone. And if being dirty and disrespectful might help us best even Fordham's scholarship players, perhaps even to the point of us retaining the Liberty Cup game (which I like for political and emotional reasons) , well.....

Zero Dark said...

I can't say with the utmost certainty, but I have been told that the process is not nearly as far along as the reports would indicate.

Not saying it won't happen eventually.

Coach said...

I remember when Bob Blackman, who had an historic run at Darttmouth, went to Illimois and came back to Cornell.

oldlion said...

When Norries Wilson had his blowup after his first Penn game, in which some Penn assistants were apparently trash talking with our players, and we got hosed on some bad calls, Wilson went out of his way to say that Bagnoli was a "great guy" and I think he meant it. The comments by Josh Smith are obviously troublesome, but the one thing that Bagnoli can do is establish instant credibility. As far as his last two years, he just didn't have the horses. Whether that was on him or not, I have no way of knowing.

Columbia_Fan said...

Richard, I am not ready to jump on the Bag's bandwagen just yet, but I agree with Jake, we need a guy that can hit the ground running. He would be way ahead of any outsider that shows up in late March.
I hope that your reference to potential dirty play was not meant to be taken seriously.
I personally would walk of the field, if any coach advocated intentially trying to hurt an opponent using dirty tactics. As I would hope most Ivy League players would do the same. As I hope no IL coaches would sink to that level.
I do not consider holding, taunting,
D pass interference etc. as dirty football.
I did notice in the 6 or 7 games I have seen, a definite lack of aggressiveness in many Columbia footballers.
If Bags can teach aggressive on field behavior, it will show up in the win column.

Big Dawg said...

I'm with Zero. Let's not count our Bagnolis before they're hatched.

Sad to get Josh's info. I respect and appreciate his sentiment. But Josh, right around now most of us would do a deal with the horned guy if it would help us kick some ass.

Hell, I'm all for recruiting like Amaker as well. Certainly hasn't dropped Harvard from #1 academic ranking. Whatever it takes, as long as it's within the rules.

Big Dawg said...

Oh, and I couldn't resist this one, as an homage to oldlion:

"Leave the gun; take the Bagnoli."

alawicius said...

Personally I'm not all that ecstatic about Bagnoli. Sure the knee jerk reaction is, "Wow! That's great!" But upon reflection consider that it's an awful lot to put into one basket, i.e., his reputation, and the big spotlight and pressure to succeed might just be too much, even for him, not to mention the players who already have enough pressure to deal with. Although I'm hesitant to mention it, a little research on Al reminded me that in a four-year span two of his players took their own lives. Not to say that it had anything directly to do with Al, but it's just not something you can lightly dismiss. As good a coach as he's been, he's most likely in the twilight of his career, and the job may end up being an onus as it was for Mangurian. I feel a better choice, if they're interested, would be someone like Keith Clark or Mike Kelleher, both outstanding assistants whose time has come and who both coached at Columbia. They wouldn't have to start from an exalted position with all the hullabaloo which could turn into a recipe for disaster.

Could Al turn it all around? Maybe, maybe not, but we shouldn't put so much weight on his 62-year old shoulders. If he doesn't succeed soon enough it will just be that much harder on the players.

Bob Barker said...

Really??? Everyone is excited about a coach that hasnt really done ANYTHING at Penn the last 3yrs...2014 2-8...2013 4-6....2012 5-5. Whats to be excited about???? Half those wins are against CU! The guy is on the downside of his career. Penn has NO problem with this at ALL!! He had HUGE support from Penn admissions with GREAT facilities. Why get a retread tire in the Ivy league??? Not happy about this choice at all

#1 Lion said...

Alawicius- you are a joke! It is abundantly clear that you are a shill for this administration! Personally, I think that you should be banned from the BLOG for even implying that Coach B had anything to do with the tragedy of two players taking their own lives. Here we are three days in to Lent and you make such callous and irresponsible comments like that. Shame on you and other like-minded individuals!

Columbia_Fan said...

No one enjoys loosing, but the amazing thing about the present streak is the lack of kids walking off the team,
They are playing because they want to, not to get the accolades they would receive at a winning program. Every player deserves a giant thank you from all of us arm chair coaches and prognosticators.

Peyso said...

I hope this doesn't pop up twice.

Be a better football player and you won't get "disrespected". Play for a better team and you won't get "disrespected". This isn't Pop Warner, you don't get a trophy, you don't get a handshake. Man up.

Naheem Harris - Penn '08