Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Knocking it out of the Park

Al Bagnoli's first performance as the new Head Coach of Columbia Football was an unqualified success.

I quietly joined the packed crowd at Faculty House to see Bagnoli's introductory news conference and even though I was already optimistic about how things would go, he surprised me by doing even better than I could have hoped.

I've listened to Bagnoli for years. I even interviewed him several times as well. He was never gruff, aloof, or combative, but he usually wasn't very interesting or entertaining either.

Not yesterday.

The new coach said all the right things in a genuine, forthcoming, and appropriately humorous way. It was clear he even won over the neutral and skeptical news media representatives in the room.

Contrast that to the odd, poor or uncomfortable performances made by Bob Shoop, Norries Wilson, and Pete Mangurian the last three times Columbia put on one of this events.

You can go on the Ivy League Digital Network and watch it for yourself, but being in the room was important because it just felt different from all the similar news conferences we've held over the last few years.

A former Columbia football captain told me the same thing, insisting that because the event was so surreal in a way it was a good sign. Columbia has held too many of these introductory events for new football coaches over the years, and yet everyone involved seemed like this was the first time they had been to this rodeo.

And that's because in a big way it was the first time. It was the first time Columbia's administration had really done the appropriately right thing for football. The bold move finally came, and everyone involved and even close to it is taking some time to digest it.

Want to know a possible reason why Bagnoli was so happy yesterday?

He looks like a man who just got out of prison. I've known lots of men his age who realize about 2 weeks into retirement that they'd rather die. In fact, a lot of men do croak in the year or two after retirement. 

It's possible Columbia and Bagnoli will save each other

Someone asked me just before the news conference that if my fairy godmother appeared and told me I could get Joe Moglia to coach the team right now, would I take him?

My answer was no. Columbia grabbed the best person we possibly could for this job. Someone like Moglia, as great as he is, would need some time to get re-acclimated to this league. Bagnoli won't.


So now, it's time to celebrate this bold move with some support.

Log on to this site right now and make a gift for football. In the notation section I wrote that it was in honor of Al Bagnoli's appointment as head coach, and I urge you to do the same. (If you'd like to mention also that you're a reader of the "toxic blog" that would be fine too!)

I just made the first of what I hope will be many donations that are justified by success and bold moves to get that success.

Assistants Update

This piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer says long-time Penn offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Jon McClaughlin is going to have those same roles here at CU under Bagnoli.

This is an EXCELLENT development as McClaughlin always seemed to put together a great O-line for the Quakers and Lord knows, our offensive line is the biggest problem.

The Inquirer also says former Penn All Ivy star Joe D'Orazio is coming in as tight ends coach. I don't know much about D'Orazio's style, but I like his potential to relate to recruits. He is just 26 years old himself.

For the last two years, he's been coaching under Andy Reid with the KC Chiefs.

This outdated, but decent bio of D'Orazio from his one year at the University of Utah gives you some more info. He was a two-time 1st Team All Ivy, won two championships, and was a dominant center.

Bagnoli said he expects to have his staff finalized by the middle of next week, so look for more news on this front in the coming days. 

Crimson Crazy

The Harvard Crimson takes the prize for the "most-shocked columnist" reacting to the Bagnoli hire in this hyperbolic piece out today.

Funny thing is, you can't really blame him.

Imagine how shocked the Ivy and general sports media will be when we actually start winning.


oldlion said...

Count me in. My gift will be in honor of Al and. You too Jake for what you have done.

Coach said...

Jake: Where is Taylor's report- doesn't anyone but me want to see it?

Jay Dee NYC said...

Saw the press conference and Al knocked it out the park. I can't think of a better coach to lead the program.

He seems to be a breath of fresh air.

tweez said...

Just made a donation and was sure to note that Bagnoli's hire was the ONLY reason I was giving. Thank you for your hard work on this. Maybe they will finally get the message.

Mike Dunn said...

Funny Home Comming Is VS Penn !!!!

Mike Dunn said...

Funny Home Comming Is VS Penn !!!!

alswingman said...

That article was really informative. I surmised it was Taylor who put the wheels in motion with Bags. Turns out it was all Pilling who simply went to the well with a source he already knew at Villanova that got things in motion. Bags was sitting there unhappy doing nothing. That says a lot right there how Penn shuffled him to a dead end role. I have seen the "special projects" label a lot with former players and coaches.

Incredible turn of events, not the least of which is flipping this board from cranky critics to financial supporters.

Jake said...

We don't play Marist but we do play Georgetown in the home opener. That's the game where we end the streak.

alswingman said...

Is that this year? I saw a few parts of G-town games last season and their record does not show how far they have come (3-8 in '14). They didn't just beat Brown, they dominated them defensively, forcing a bunch of turnovers and stopping drives, keeping them to 3 points overall. They also beat Holy Cross and came very close to beating Lafayette, Bucknell and to a lesser extent, Lehigh. I think they will be better in '15.

Coach said...

Georgetown have full scholarships ?
Not good at all-

InwoodTiger said...

I can't believe it. Tough enough to be a Princeton alum cheering for the Lions, but at least it was like cheering for a team in a separate division (or even league). Now I have to cheer for the hated Bagnoli? (If you think Columbia fans hate Penn, you have an inkling of the deep loathing Princeton fans have of all things Quaker).

Oh well, CU deserves a solid-gold coach, this should be a fun ride.

Be sure to watch the assistants carefully as I imagine the game plan will be for Bagnoli to turn the ship around and then in five years hand it off to a groomed successor.