Thursday, December 01, 2011

3-2-1 Contact, And No Toal

Three Things

When the real interviewing process begins our search committee needs to make sure the head coaching candidates are prepared to handle three very key things:

1) Coaching in the very different and tough recruiting environment of the Ivy League.

2) Coaching in the very different and tough environment that is Columbia.

3) Be ready to promote New York City and the unique opportunities and advantages the city has to offer.

We've had head coaches who have come to us with Ivy experience.

But I'm not sure we've ever had a modern era head coach who came to us very aware of the unique issues at Columbia and one who was also ready to pump the New York City mantra out there every chance he got.

Let's do that this time.

Greg Toal

Toal Out of the Running

My dreams of renaming Wien Stadium "The Toal House," and writing tons of bad "pay the Toal" puns appear to be over.

Numerous sources tell me that under no circumstances will Bill Campbell or Dianne Murphy consider hiring a high school coach. That includes Don Bosco's Greg Toal.

Campbell et al are apparently very worried about Columbia "looking desperate" if we hire someone from outside the pro or college ranks.

Here's an update: WE ARE DESPERTATE.

We're desperate for a winning team, and while I admit that quite a few of our opponents would laugh at us for hiring someone like Toal... I wouldn't mind if we're the ones laughing when the games are over and the Lions have won.

Of course I haven't endorsed Toal or any other coaching candidate, (I think if I did so publicly, that would probably HURT that candidate's chances), but I think there were some very good arguments for him at Columbia.

And I can confirm that Toal was interested in this position at Columbia.

Don Bosco is hardly a "high school" team in any way that almost anyone thinks of a high school team.

Toal's troops regularly play games all over the country, going on roadtrips that are far longer than Columbia does every year.

I also know that Toal's practices are conducted more efficiently and productively than just about any college team at any NCAA division level.

I suppose the only way to PROVE that Columbia has or hasn't made the right decision on Toal will be for him to get hired by another college sometime soon and we can judge his record then.

He is indeed a candidate at Fordham, and unless Bob Surace turns it around next year Toal could get the Princeton job too.

I'd just hate to end up losing to this guy year after year.

Official Quotes

Murphy gave some quotes to the Spectator in today's article updating the coaching search.

Here are a few of them:

“We have been working on this since the morning that I informed Coach Wilson that he would not be returning.”

Geez, I hope the work began long before that.

“We have actively recruited names. I’ve been on the phone with tons of ADs, conference commissioners, and other football coaches that I know to get names of potential candidates."

This probably means there's a focus on current ASSISTANT coaches. You don't go calling AD's to ask for ideas and expect them to mention their existing head coaches. I'd rather Murphy be calling AD's for permission to talk to their head coaches, especially Holy Cross' Tom Gilmore.

“As we get more involved in the decision I will be asking others in the industry, such as Robert Kraft and Bill Campbell, for their advice and counsel.”

Um... no. Campbell is not just "offering counsel." Once again, he's very much setting the tone on this search and has already personally nixed Toal. And while I wish Kraft would take an active role, I don't think he'll be "consulted" until an hour or two before a final offer is made to the leading candidate.

“There are a lot of coaching opportunities out there,” Murphy said. “There have been a lot of coaches that have been let go at the D-I level. There are going to be lots of people looking for jobs. You don’t want to lose potential candidates because you are sitting around not doing your job.”

This is the second best quote of the piece. It shows that Murphy knows this is a manic period for football coaching moves at all levels of football... even the NFL. The good news at this point is that Fordham is really the only competition we have that is even remotely close to our level. The field could get a lot more crowded in the coming weeks.

“We expect to improve. We expect to win. We expect to get better in a very short period of time."

And that's the best quote of the piece. Because in this case, those words are not just platitudes. Everyone knows Columbia football is in a MUCH better place than it was after Bob Shoop was fired in 2005 and Ray Tellier was forced out in 2002.

In 2005, the roster was down to about 65 non-graduating seniors when Shoop was ousted. And the Lions were badly blown out in most of their games that season.

In 2002, Columbia had better talent returning and a more competitive team than the 2005 squad. BUT the talent level for the returning Lions for 2012 is considerably higher and the practice and training facilities are a lot better than they were nine years ago as well.

On other words, based on the schedule and some other factors it's a good bet Columbia will win a lot more games next year almost by default. It's a good launching pad season ahead for the new coach, and many of the candidates jamming Murphy's inbox know that.

Also interesting in the article was the fact that Murphy is saying that she has conducted about 20 phone interviews and I can confirm that as of now, only phone interviews have been conducted.

With two weeks to go until the self-imposed hiring deadline, you'd expect Murphy and Tellier to have met at least one candidate in person by now.

Dave Patenaude

New Name of the Day: Dave Patenaude

Georgetown's impressive 8-3 season was mostly fueled by a potent offense and the offensive coordinator was none other than former Columbia assistant coach Dave Patenaude.

Patenaude was an assistant for four years under Ray Tellier. His last year at CU was 2001 when he was the offensive coordinator for a Lion offense that was still pretty potent despite nagging injuries to Johnathan Reese and other key players.

He then went on to serve as head coach at the University of New Haven.

Going back to the three special criteria I set up at the top of today's post, it would appear Patenaude can fit the bill.

He had Ivy and Columbia experience, and he's a New York area native who could easily be a true promoter of this city if given the chance.

Jim Tressel

Tressel's Choice

reports that former Ohio State Head Coach Jim Tressel has turned down an offer to coach the University of Akron, but will help them with their search.

So there is still hope... :)


At Fri Dec 02, 02:17:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just an aside...Dave Patenaude has been on staff of two programs that have DROPPED FOOTBALL (New Haven and Hofstra). By no means blaming him. I think he's great. It's just scary

At Fri Dec 02, 02:27:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake couldn't agree with you more about the improving,winning and getting better in a short period of time quote.D Murphy seems to be working diligently on her search. I've got to hand it to her.It is good to know that she is on the same page as the rest of us.My vote is still for Jim Tressel. There has got to be a poster who has some connection to Bill Campbell, ie: ex lions players,alumni.Someone who knows him please.....ask him to contact Tressel. Also anyone who is close to Murphy could ask her to contact him. It is worth a try, and maybe an IVY Championship.

At Fri Dec 02, 02:28:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Are there any coaches who have been out of football for the past year or so that might be good candidates? Just look at Mike Leach he was out of coaching for at least two years to my knowledge and now he will be the 3rd highest paid coach in the Pac 12. Are there any guys "under the radar" that might be good candidates?

Thank you, love the blog Jake you do a great job!

At Fri Dec 02, 02:57:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Mitch '68 said...

Too bad about Toal, I suppose. I too was looking forward to writing about 'wild rides' and so forth. Patenaude sounds extremely unexciting. Tressel is not going to happen for many (good)reasons. Gilmore is still the best candidate mentioned here, but can they land him?

Mitch Sisskind '68

At Fri Dec 02, 03:20:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

New Haven has football again...and in the D2 playoffs...may want to grab their coach actually. They played a top FCS team tight and should have won...the know how to recruit and win at UNH. (Whipple was HC at UNH too back in the day)

In general, i think the next coach needs to be a good teacher. A lot of coaching is teaching...and if the best teacher of young men happens to be a high school coach then so be it. We need someone who can teach, lead, and mold these players into a winning team. Tired of losing and being ashamed to say i played football at Columbia. I would urge the committee not to put too many blinder or restrictions on candidates...

Keep up the great work Jake!

At Fri Dec 02, 04:02:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I understand that there needs to be a deadline, but if you have really only done phone calls shouldnt you extend the deadline to make sure you get the right person?
In all seriousness, this group selecting the coach couldnt select a coach if they were at a coaching convention. i bet the panhandlers on Broadway have a better idea of a good coach than this group of ragamuffins do. they would be better off hiring a search firm to find them a coach.
and who cares what campbell or kraft want. yeah, i get they bought the school, but they have been around when other coaches have been selected and look where that got us.
here is an idea for them, put the 100 names in a hat and pull one out. i bet that coach would be superior to anything they could come up with on their own.
and now the matador shall dance with the blind shoemaker

At Fri Dec 02, 04:08:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why aren't we using a headhunter?

At Fri Dec 02, 04:24:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it is a huge mistake to not talk to Greg Toal or other top HS coaches. Hear him out. He has a formula for success. He is a winner. Coaches that win find a way no matter where they are. It is in their blood.

HS coaches have to do more with less. No D.F.O., no administrative assistant, no video coordinator, no equipment man, no strength coach. Most HS coaches have at least three teams (Freshmen, Junior Varsity & Varsity). More than 9 assistants to lead. Parents, Alumni and Boosters to get on their page. Don Bosco Prep gets more media attention than we do at this point.

To look at college coaches who have not been head coaches over a coach like Toal would be a mistake. Look at our history. We have hire assistants with no head coaching experience. I wish Toal was younger but to not at least give him an interview is not right.

How many coaches have been to Bosco to recruit his players. He has seen the right way and the wrong way. That is an advantage most college/pro guys do not understand.

Hire the best person to lead us. I would not rule out anyone. It is going to take someone different to lead us due to our unique situation.

At Fri Dec 02, 04:42:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are alot of college coaches who DO have head coaching experience. To over look them and hire a high school guy who has never coached at the college level, let alone head coaching experience in college, would be the mistake. Think there was an up-roar about parkagate? I can only imagine what it will be if they hire a high school coach.

At Fri Dec 02, 05:01:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Toalgate is over. Time to move on... Anyone have a number for Tressel?

At Fri Dec 02, 05:19:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes, 1-800-its over Johnny...rambo this is raven, it is over...Tressel isnt coming

At Fri Dec 02, 05:25:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not wanting to hire a high school coach because it might appear desperate speaks of a kind of risk aversion which is regrettable. It's certainly understandable because I think that a majority of ADs would be afraid to hire a high school coach for exactly the same reason. Furthermore, if an AD hires a high school coach who then fails, the AD will be subjected to criticism and rebuke for having taken a risk on a guy with no college experience. That's why Joe Moglia won't get hired here either.

Hey, I've got no idea whether Toal or Moglia could get the job done. But they both strike me as having high potential upside. Sometimes, high reward comes with high risk.

At Fri Dec 02, 05:33:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

to the last comment on the risk...i agree with your thoughts, but then i think, what are the risks at columbia? seriously, what have appeared like less risky hires have turned out to be anything but that...the song remains the same.
hiring anybody off the commonly accpeted path seems like it would hardly be a risk given where we are at.
for those who dont want us to appear desparate, desparate was 40 years ago, now they are just checking to see if we have a pulse.

At Fri Dec 02, 07:05:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a joke this whole risk thing. It shouldn't be a question of risk. It's simple, go out get a proven winner, a name we know,a good leader, a teacher a respected man who will bring in a staff that is just as well qualified. There's really no discussion needed.Let D. Murphy do her job. With all the crap she probably has had to put up with this past season,I am confidnt she will make the right choice. She wants to please the team first. She wants it on record that she chose a winner. Let her do her job.

At Fri Dec 02, 08:26:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Players want Tressel!!!!

At Fri Dec 02, 09:16:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

to 5:26 I know for a fact you're right!!!!!!!

At Fri Dec 02, 09:31:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tressel would be a dream come true, but would Bollinger nix him because of the OSU flap?


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