Saturday, December 03, 2011

The Cornell Connection

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Kyle Smith

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.

Jim Hofher

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).

Ron Prince

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.


At Sat Dec 03, 09:24:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gersts brother was awesome..250 return yards with a 95 kick off return and a TD. 20,000 on their feet when touched the ball..Saw him run over 250 lb linebackers with no line...sounds familiar..kept em in the game for 3 quarters. Doubt he goes to Columbia..,Kids a stud..

At Sat Dec 03, 09:52:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BB win last night was huge. We actually had a blow out in hand until we had a last minute cold spell. Smith showed what a smart coach can do.

At Sun Dec 04, 01:03:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kyle Smith's freshmen are coming up big. If they are his recruits and I assume they are, it augurs well.
Back to football, I just read this letter from a fan:

"While firing the coach was certainly a step in the right dirction, I can't help but think that the administration really doesn't care about the football program and we are therefore doomed to mediocrity. They have said and will say the right things about putting up the money to compete, but this alum will believe it when he sees it."

That was written by a UCLA fan. Sound familiar? But don't we have more right to complain and demand better?

At Sun Dec 04, 01:39:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The thing is - "putting up money to compete" is the responsibility of the fans. Buy tickets, make donations, purchase licensed t-shirts, etc. That's how teams at all levels from the NFL to the NAIA "put up money" to compete. It has to come from somewhere.

Asking Columbia to "put up money" from the endowment or the Kluge financial aid fund is irresponsible and improbable.

At Sun Dec 04, 01:56:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, it's the old chicken or the egg thing. Money from fan purchases aren't great because the team always loses. I have and will continue and will increase buying and giving, but the big jump in fan financial support will come when some hope is provided on the field. In fact, we must increaase our meager fan and attendance base.
For a "bridge loan" we don't have to loot endowments, etc. but certainly CU can come up with a few bucks to get things rolling.

At Sun Dec 04, 01:57:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger cathar said...

Of course Kyle Smith is an excellent coach. Why should anyone be surprised there? It will probaboly take his team several games to "regroup" from the loss of Agho, but I'd still be extremely surprised if we're not extremely competitive in Ivy play later this season.

And unlike the situation at Harvard, all of Smith's recruits are well up to Ivy academic standards.

But I'd ve very surprised if Toal, should he move to Fordham, is a success there. From what I've heard, he has an unprecedented degree of control at Don Bosco over his players. He will almost certainly clash with his Jesuit superiors, who are used to being in charge.

There has also long been a culture of nastiness and hazing at Don Bosco, in which students "swim" or flee. Many even say this has the tacit approval of the administration, and that it goes hand in hand with Don Bosco's across-the-board athletic achievements. (It is hardly the ideal place manyprevious posters seemed to imagine it, despite its football success.) But that kind of thing does not play at all well up at Fordham, no matter that it now has scholarship players.

At Sun Dec 04, 02:42:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger DOC said...

Agree with the chicken or egg analogy. Think if it as a kind of CU "stimulus spending."

At Sun Dec 04, 04:48:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wayne St. is a large public university in Detroit that has never paid much attention to football and has never won anything. It is completely overshadowed athletically not only by Michigan and Michigan St., but also by the lesser universities in the state such as Central, Western etc. that are in the MAC. It plays D-II football and has never been to the playoffs.

Current coach Paul Winters was hired in 2004 and went 1-9. In the last 3 years he's been 6-5, 9-2 and so far this year 11-3. Wayne had never been in any playoffs. This year it just won its third playoff game, all on the road and in all of which it was the underdog, by beating last year's defending champ, Minnesota-Duluth. Next week it's playing in the semis.

In terms of football history and lack of success (Wayne has been playing for 94 yrs.), Wayne St. is Columbia, although with fewer resources, less name recognition etc. Yet there is a coach who figured out how to win there. That's where a headhunter comes in, i.e., someone who knows about all of the coaches out there, not just those in a particular region or those who happen to know someone who knows someone. There are Paul Winters out there every year. I hope we find one.


At Sun Dec 04, 10:36:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another sparkling win for the Columbia Men's Basketball Team, this time by a 72-57 score over North Texas in the Second Round of the Loyola Marymount tournament in California. Brian Barbour is likely to be named the tournament MVP,if they have one, and Meiko Lyles is shooting threes like a pro. Feel good story for the Lions is that seniors Chris Crockett and Blaise Staab have suddenly developed into fine basketball players after seeing very little playing time prior to this year. Credit Crockett and Staab for working hard to improve their skills and also credit the new Columbia coaching staff for helping them.

At Sun Dec 04, 11:08:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't look at it as stimulus. This is a quid pro quo. The college uses the student athletes and the athletic program to offer all students a well rounded college experience. It is a marketing tool for the school as well. This doesn't let the donors off the hook, but why do you think when you play at columbia they have all the rights to any pictures or information on you? You think it is because they like the picture? It is so they can use it in marketing and sales, etc.
So although I agree with the idea that the program has to stand on its own you should have the intent to have the best facilities, coaches, etc. And the school needs to foster this growth and strive for this experience for the kids.

At Sun Dec 04, 11:58:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Jim said...

Cathar's post is very interesting. A Columbia guy with knowledge of some Catholic stuff re football in NJ and Fordham.

At Sun Dec 04, 09:16:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Talk to one of our guys who played for Toal, Nick S or Kurt W. let one of them tell you how he would do.

At Sun Dec 04, 09:34:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger cathar said...

Kyle Smith's charges did it again last night. He clearly uses his players very differently than Joe Jones did. (The comparatively stellar senior season of Zach Crimmins, little and mal-used under Jones, proves that.)

And that's what the next Columbia football coach has to do: get the most from all his players, be able to regroup when someone key is injured, inspire "lesser lights" on the team to rise to new levels of athletic achievement. It can happen.

If Toal goes to Fordham (that seems to be the prevailing rumor in North Jersey), it'll be interesting to see how he'll do next season against a Columbia team with a similarly situated new coach. (And the Don Bosco job thereby becomes the plum h.s. coaching job in the state.)

And to "Jim," surely you realize that the Jesuits are hard taskmasters, committed to a certain kind of excellence both academic and athletic. It's been this way ever since the order established colleges in America. They remain a vital, disciplined order of priests where so many others are moribund. And they do not run their institutions of higher education at all in the way that Bollinger does.

Don Bosco was nominally run by Salesians, but lay people have long made up for the lack of Salesians up there in Ramsey. Those lay trustees clearly have had athletic vision. Perhaps not so much when it comes to academic matters.

And if Toal does in fact leave, the playing field in Jersey h.s. football automatically feels quite a bit more "levelled." Even as Jersey's Catholic high schools should always be a top recruiting priority regardless of who coaches at either CU or Don Bosco next year.

At Sun Dec 04, 09:34:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

a college student only thinks about stuff on the football field. All the other stuff - recruiting, fundraising, dealing with admin, etc means nothing to them.

I am sure they love Toal but come on.

At Sun Dec 04, 09:48:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nothing against Toal, but there is a coach like this in almost every state...go to Cali and maybe it is the head coach of Mater Dei or Loyola, go to illinois maybe it is the head coach of mt.carmel or east st. Louis, go to ohio, etc.
Ask any of these coaches and they will tell you coaching in high school is a world apart from the responsibilities of college coaching.

At Sun Dec 04, 10:28:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's hope Toal doesn't get the job at Fordham because if he does, and he beats CU, run for the hills.

RE: Kyle Smith... To me, the jury is still out. Yes, GREAT with the Xs and Os, but his recruiting is average. We need local (NYC) kids with speed. We need a CU PR machine that will elevate the program. I've seen a few games this year and the team is very slow. Their schedule is a powder puff schedule, so I hope they'll win, but untill Smith gets 2-3 THREE/FOUR Star recruits, then we'll be in the middle of the pack - NOT A SUCCESS. Yes, he deserves time, so I will be patient.

Last thing... STOP crying that Harvard cheated and uses a LOWER AI for basketball players and illegal contacts. Guess what??? WE should do that!!! Are any of Ammaker's kids underperfoming in the classroom? No! (familiar with an athletic administrator over there). We should do the same for football!

At Sun Dec 04, 10:30:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This Toal thing is getting so old, wish the guy well and move on to what OUR COLUMBIA TEAM wants. They would have hated the idea of a high school coach.Lets hope our young men get someone that can turn the loosing streak into a positive , winning one.

At Sun Dec 04, 11:11:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you that coaching at schools like Don Bosco, Loyola, Mater Dei, Mt. Carmel etc is much different from College.

-academic based schools
-students must meet a certain criteria to be admitted to those schools
-students must pay to come to those schools
-long on tradition
-have strong alumni support
-win or lose your job
-they must attract student athletes
-they must fund raise to support their programs
-they usually play in toughest leagues that have the best coaches
-Many of the coaches at those types of schools have had experience at the college level.
-Can't pay their assistants enough to keep them around for long periods of time.
-use students to be managers/filmers
-must motivate to keep players playing once they are admitted into school.
-play some games on TV
-media coverage and scrutiny is high
-public speaking requirements
-run camps in the summer to attract student athletes
-Run off season strength & conditioning programs
-Conduct spring practice
-Conduct fall camp
-Coach 10 game season

-HS coaches must manage multiple teams with huge numbers of players and staff
-HS coaches must teach in the classroom
-HS assistants have outside jobs
-HS pay is less
-HS coaches usually do not have support (office assistant, director of football operations, video coordinator,equipment man, strength coach etc.)so they must become experts in all areas.
-College coaches must go on the road to recruit students at schools like DBP, MD, L, Mt. C etc
-HS coaches run practices in the summer
-HS coaches coach a longer season some as long at 16 weeks in Texas
-College teams stay in the hotel night before the game. This is rare for HS coaches.

I still believe the right high school coach could do it at Columbia. HS coaches must get creative to win and that is what it is going to take turn us around.

At Mon Dec 05, 12:10:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting . . . Last June, BU hired Joe Jones as head BB coach. His Terriers just beat BC at BC by double figures. How often has BU beaten a Big East/ACC club?

At Mon Dec 05, 12:13:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

New dream scenario. Mitt Romney is not elected President of the United States and becomes Bollinger's successor as President of Columbia University. Romney uses his business and Olympics skills to upgrade Columbia's athletics facilities to world-class status.

Alternative dream scenario. President Bollinger becomes more creative and decides that it's time for Columbia to build a world-class indoor athletic faility/fieldhouse on or near campus. Columbia Business School graduate, Warren Buffett, is consulted by Bollinger and agrees to help finance the project.

At Mon Dec 05, 01:43:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

... all the Gilmore talk seems to have died down .... I still think he is the right guy for the job .... we need to keep the pressure on to make sure he is one of the guys they bring in for an interview .... you would think that after signing a 3-year contract last year it would be diffficult for him to openly pursue the Columbia job, that's why we need to keep the pressure on to get the Admin to bring him in !!!

At Mon Dec 05, 02:49:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BC is terrible.I saw them play an equally poor PSU team this past week. Don't hold any stock in that win by BU. I expect Harvard to beat BC by 20 plus in late December. But good for Joe Jones.

At Mon Dec 05, 03:34:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Murphy has spoken: there will be no high school coach. That's it. It's over. All who are disappointed should stick to their day jobs.

Harvard basketball recruiting. Several players on the team are from my area, considered among the best in the country for high school basketball. They went to top private schools and are well qualified to be in the Ivy. The truth is Amaker's doing a much better job at recruiting than everyone else.

At Mon Dec 05, 04:35:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fifth consecutive win for the Columbia Men's Basketball Team, this time by a 78-56 score over La Sierra in the final round of the Doubletree Centennial Classic in California. Our outside shooting continues to amaze with Meiko Lyles hitting 12 consecutive threes over a three game period. Everyone played including our very promising freshman forward, Darius Stevens. Congratulations to the Lions on a very successful tournament showing in California. Our next opponent is Holy Cross at home. Anyone know if Tom Gilmore has applied for our football head coaching job? I would love to see him at Columbia.

At Mon Dec 05, 05:16:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To poster 12:34. No one is suggesting that the kids Amaker is recruiting to Harvard are not qualified academically. How could we, when we don't know the facts. However, it is well-known that the Harvard admissions office has never encouraged any basketball coach before Amaker to make so many offers of admission to so many players throughout the country. We do know that of the eight Ivy League Schools, only one school (Harvard) was hit with a recruiting violation by the NCAA. I seriously doubt your statement that Amaker is doing a better job of recruiting than everyone else. What I think is happening is more complex than that. All of the Ivy League coaches have the information and data as Amaker. All of them work just as hard as he does. So there must be more too it. Only the Ivy League coaches know what's going and they are not going to critique Amaker in public. Keep in mind, however, two important things. First, despite all its high-powered recruits, Harvard has yet to win an Ivy League Basketball Championship. Second,wherever Tommy A has coached in the past, things have not worked out very well.

At Mon Dec 05, 05:18:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our new BB coach has done a great job in recruiting up to now. We have several outstanding first year players.

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

To 12:34. Are you saying that Amaker is doing a better job of recruiting than every other college coach in America or just the Ivy League? Is he actually taking kids away from Duke and Stanford, and, if so, how? If he is just doing better than his Ivy League counterparts, what is he doing in your opinion, that the Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Penn, Princton and Yale coaches, are not doing?

At Mon Dec 05, 05:47:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, he has, but the point I think 12:34 is making is that Harvard's recruits are high-profiled three or four star celebrity recruits while Columbia and everyone else's recruits in the Ivy League are relatively unknown, "under-the-radar" types. 12:34 is correct that Harvard is getting basketball players now that never came its way before. Obviously, something has changed, and maybe it's just that Harvard has a high-profile coach, but that seems unlikely.


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