The Cornell Connection
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ONLY 12 COACH SHOPPING DAYS BEFORE THE ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT'S SELF-STATED DECEMBER 15TH DEADLINE
AD Dianne Murphy's stock as a coach-picker went sky high last night, at least for basketball.
Columbia shocked host Loyola Marymount with a 69-61 win in the Centennial Classic opener. The Lions will face North Texas in the championship game this evening.
This is the most significant victory for 2nd year Head Coach Kyle Smith, who Murphy hired in 2010.
Smith will still have to coach the rest of the season without star senior Noruwa Agho, but with wins like last night this season may not be a lost cause after all.
Don Bosco's Celebrates
Toal's Big Win
In what may have been his final game as head coach of Don Bosco, Greg Toal's Ironmen whipped Bergen Catholic last night by a 42-14 score.
Nick Gerst's younger brother Michael was a ray of sunshine for BC, scoring on a 10-yard TD run and putting up some decent stats. Michael is being recruited by Columbia, Yale and many other teams for next season.
Now that Toal is out of the running at Columbia, there are more and more reports that Fordham is likely to hire him as head coach in the coming days. I can only confirm that Toal is a candidate for that job.
The Cornell Connection... continued
Pete Mangurian isn't the only former Cornell coach on Columbia's radar.
Former Big Red Head Coach Jim Hofher has also been contacted along with former Kansas State Head Coach Ron Prince. Prince was an assistant coach under Mangurian in Ithaca.
Like Mangurian, Hofher and Prince's tenures at Cornell overlapped with Dianne Murphy's time at the school.
Hofher is the last Cornell skipper to bring an Ivy title to Schoelkopf Field. He was also a QB for the Big Red in the late 70's. He is highly respected in Ivy circles despite being gone from the league for more than 14 years. He is currently the offensive coordinator at the University of Delaware. His only other head coaching experience was at the University of Buffalo from 2001 to 2005.
At Cornell, Hofher went 45-35, 33-23 Ivy. He won the 1990 Ivy Co-Championship in his first season, going 7-3, 6-1 Ivy, with essentially the same players who had gone just 2-5 in the Ivies in 1989. He never put together a championship team in Ithaca again, but he only suffered two losing seasons, (both 4-6 years). Hofher also brought in some legendary Big Red players, most notably RB Chad Levitt and QB Bill Lazor, (Lazor may be a candidate for the Columbia job as well).
Prince's career has been problematic to say the least. He enjoyed a meteroic rise to the head coaching job at K-State, and an equally swift fall. He is currently working as an assistant with the Indianapolis Colts.
And yet with all due respect to Mangurian, Hofher and Prince... and their Cornell-based ties to AD Murphy... I wouldn't say that any of them are lead candidates for the Columbia job at this time.
With 12 days to go until the self-imposed December 15th hiring deadline, the top candidate or candidates' names have not yet leaked.