Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Where's Jake?

Thanks to all who have sent along their best wishes.

For answers to all your questions, please email me at jakesjokes@gmail.com

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Lost in the Shuffle

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Kent Austin

There have been some other big stories out there that have been overshadowed by Pete Mangurian's arrival at Columbia but they are important:

1) Cornell Head Coach Kent Austin is being aggressively wooed by the CFL's Saskatchewan Roughriders. The Montreal Gazette reports that Austin will surely be offered the biggest salary for a head coach in CFL history. The number being batted around is $600,000 per year. The Hamilton Tiger Cats are also interested in him.

Remember, Austin has been a CFL head coach before, and in 2007 he led the same Roughriders to the Grey Cup title.

To say that Austin ditching Cornell at this time would be catastrophic is probably not much of an exaggeration. This is a team on the rise and losing him would be a shock to the young players, especially Offensive Ivy MVP Jeff Mathews.

If Austin leaves, it will suddenly put the Big Red behind the curve in the coaching search and in preparing for next season.

2) Despite firing their head coach the day before Columbia released Norries Wilson, Fordham has yet to hire a replacement for Tom Masella. Of course, the big question for Columbia fans is whether the Rams will hire finalist Greg Toal from Don Bosco High School. Toal makes little secret of his disappointment that Columbia did not seriously consider his application for the job in Morningside Heights.

3) In case there's any confusion, we now know the 2012 Lions schedule will include a switch. Fordham will be our week TWO opponent, not the opening foe as the Rams have been every year since 2002, (the 2001 game was postponed until Thanksgiving because of 9/11). Marist is the opening week opponent. The Lions will open the season with three straight games at home: Marist, Fordham, and then Princeton.

Mangurian Newser Now Available

Pete Mangurian

Kudos to the athletic department for getting the Pete Mangurian news conference archived and readily available now on the GoColumbiaLions.com website. Yes, I was frustrated earlier today, but they fixed it and I appreciate it.

So here's what I can say after seeing the full video:

1. It's Man-Gurian with a hard "G"

2. Coach Mangurian gave a decent reasoning for why he is coming back to the Ivies. After 11 years of the NFL, I can see why getting back to a team with no thugs, head cases, etc. could be very refreshing.

3. That said, he certainly made the case that he won't take this job as a break from the pressure to win.

4. Mangurian focused on something many of us have called for at Columbia for decades: we need an identity. CU needs a team identity, (it could be a certain type of offense, defense, or an attitude). This will help us focus our recruiting and helping the team to prepare week after week.

5. He promised to re-evaluate every aspect of the Lions training and practice philosophies and schedules. That's essential.

Yes, it's all talk right now but Mangurian passed an important first test today.

A Minute of Mangurian

I did receive an email at 2:29 telling me of a working link for the news conference.

So I saw about one minute of a youthful, (are we sure he's 56? He looks 46), Coach Mangurian who did sound enthusiastic and emphatic in the last few seconds of his comments.

But this event was about Mangurian and I hope they can get the archived tape of his opening statements online right away.

Sadly, only two people asked him questions and that's partly my fault for not being able to attend. I thought Coach M. handled the very general questions just fine.

From what I did see, I think he will be a great TV and radio guest for the large news media here in New York. He sounded like the kind of guy I'd like to hear talk not just about Ivy ball, but also the NFL and maybe even the European debt crisis.

Mangurian Newser Highlights

Well, it's 2:25 and all I've seen so far is a blank screen.

Serves me right for not being able to make it in person.

I tried.

They can not be serious.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Mangurian Newser to be Streamed

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I don't have the link yet, but the official Columbia athletics website will be streaming the Pete Mangurian introductory news conference today at 2pm.

So now everyone can watch and get their own impressions.

And that's good, because while I had planned to attend in person, but something has come up t home and I'll have to watch online with the rest of you.

Hauschildt Honored... Again!

Graduating senior OL Bob Hauschildt has been named to another academic All American squad. academic All American squad.

He has a 3.83 GPA people!

Three Questions

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News Conference Tomorrow

I hope to be at the news conference introducing Head Coach Pete Mangurian at Faculty House tomorrow afternoon.

There will be a lot of questions to ask, and it will also be interesting to see how Mangurian handles himself in the spotlight.

In the past, I've noticed a lot of these news conferences focus on "coaching philosophy" and general strategies.

But I'd love to be able to focus on three main questions:

1) How do plan to get re-acclimated to college ball, and Ivy football in particular?

2) Do you have a good idea who will get the top coordinators jobs on your staff and will they be primarily from your NFL or college contacts?

3) What's the one area where you think the Lions need the most improvement for 2012?

I hope to be able to report back as best I can tomorrow.

Thursday, December 08, 2011


Pete Mangurian in his days with the Patriots

Pete Mangurian has accepted an offer to be the new head football coach at Columbia University.

The deal was announced just after midnight.

A news conference has been announced for tomorrow, (Friday), at Faculty House to formally introduce Mangurian.

I am hoping that event will be streamed online.

Mangurian now joins that rare fraternity of Ivy coaches who have been the head coach of more than one Ivy team.

The last time Columbia got a head coach with previous Ivy head coaching experience it was the great Percy Haughton from Harvard in the 1920s.

The last two Ivy coaches who took new head jobs with new Ivy teams were Bob Blackman and Frank Navarro. Blackman improved Cornell but was never able to get them anywhere near the level of his great Dartmouth teams.

Navarro had some success at Columbia, especially in 1971. But his Princeton teams later in his career were forgettable.


In case anyone is wondering, I plan to let everyone here who wants to vent on this choice do so for the next 24 hours or so.

After that, I agree with those who say it's time for all of us to get behind Coach Mangurian. Whatever failings the search committee had, they were not Mangurian's fault.

When I first broke the news that he was a serious candidate for the job, I emphasized Mangurian's successful tenure at Cornell.

Make no mistake, he is a good coach.

Now, he'll need our help getting him back up to speed on college, and specifically Ivy ball.

And we also need to make sure he gets all the help he needs to promote NYC. Everyone in the news media here should be aware that he spent some successful years as an assistant with the NY Giants. As of now, the news radio sports reports are not yet even reporting the news of the hire.

I want to hear Mangurian on WFAN and ESPN Radio, and see him on NY1, SNY, etc. and lots of other local outlets early and often. We can help make that happen.

Final point: Columbia had better teams than Mangurian did all three years we faced him and Cornell. He won two of those games anyway. Let's hope he squeezes more out of our guys too. I know he has done it before.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

What NOT to Do

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And now it's time to impart a little friendly advice...

I still expect Columbia to hire its new head football coach sometime this week.

And I'm sure everyone here wants to get out there and support the new skipper as soon as possible and with as much enthusiasm as possible.

That's why it's up to AD Dianne Murphy and the search committee to bring us a coach who doesn't disqualify himself right off the bat.

Forget the "leadership" platitudes, I will again list the three most important things our new coach needs to have coming in to the job:

Remember, the three biggest things the new head coach at Columbia needs are:

1) Successful track record as a head coach

2) Experience coaching and recruiting in the Ivy League

3) Willingness and ability to promote New York City for recruiting and to increase fan interest

Giving us a coach who clearly fails to have any one or more of the above criteria is going to be a hard sell for a lot of the fans.

Candidates Pete Mangurian and Jim Hofher probably meet all the above qualifiers. They certainly do for #1, can be okay on #2 with a little refresher course, and can succeed at #3 if willing to get help.

By contrast, former K-State head coach Ron Prince looks like a strikeout. He has a bad record as a head coach, has little Ivy experience that's very dated anyway, and has no known affinity for or abilities to promote NYC either.

The fact that Prince is still being paid a massive severance from Kansas State leads me to believe Columbia can get him cheap and I can only hope that isn't what makes him an attractive candidate to the committee.

Tom Gilmore

The Gilmore Factor

The other potential mistake that could really unfairly hamstring a new coach is if his name is NOT Tom Gilmore and it turns out Gilmore is never even offered the Columbia job.

Gilmore is THE fan and football alum favorite, and most of them will understand if he were offered the job and for some reason turned it down.

But if it turns out the committee never seriously took a run at him, there will be a lot of anger coming from people who really support Columbia and cannot be called fair weather friends by any stretch.

Cornell, circa 1995, (I cannot confirm if the clock tower is also a finalist for the Columbia job)

All Cornell???

And the third thing that could trip up a new coach is if we learn that 3/4 of the finalists were all simply people Murphy remembers from her time at Cornell about 15 years ago.

It won't go down well if the results of a "nationwide search" yield three guys from Ithaca who haven't coached in the Ivies for a collective 35 years. Because not only would that preclude so many very qualified candidates, but it would wrongfully promote the falsehood that Columbia can't attract a lot of great applicants for this coaching job.

So again, here's the advice: avoid fumbling the issues above and the road for the new coach will be lot easier to navigate.

Clock Ticking... Offer Made

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I know there are still 9 days left until the Dec. 15th deadline, but I expect Columbia to name a new football head coach tomorrow or Thursday.

I can report than an offer has been made to at least one candidate, but the deal has not been finalized and I cannot confirm the name of that candidate.

One big reason for the urgency here is that for the second straight weekend, football recruits will be on campus for visits.

I know some recruits were on campus last weekend and I am simply stumped as to how those visits went without anyone knowing who will be on the head coaching staff.

I realize the visits couldn't be canceled or easily rescheduled because of flight schedules and expensive flight-changing fees.

But I really don't think the athletic department will let another weekend go by without a new head coach in place.

That said, I can also report that Norries Wilson's entire coaching staff will not be returning next season. So this program needs to really staff up in a hurry!

Fordham Latest

Greg Toal's interview with Fordham went extremely well yesterday and he has to be considered a frontrunner for the job right now.

Toal has told one of my sources that if he gets the Fordham job he will -- how can I say this nicely -- look forward to playing Columbia every year.

Let's just say Toal used some more colorful language.

Uh oh.

Meanwhile, another candidate for the Fordham position is Joe Moglia.

Apparently, I am acting as an unpaid consultant for the Rams football program because just about every top candidate I write about for Columbia is getting interviewed by the Rams!

Tom Gilmore

Gilmore a Finalist... for an Award

Holy Cross Head Coach Tom Gilmore has been selected as one of five finalists from the football championship subdivision for the 2011 Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award.

Can you say: "rising stock price?"

Lion Awardees

Some really deserving players were featured in last night's football dinner and award ceremony.

Guys like senior RB David Chao who won the "special forces award."

Senior FB Nico Papas winning the "Maniatty-Remmer Unsung Hero Award" was also quite fitting.

Senior Nick Mistretta was truly deserving of the Phil Fusco leadership award. Anyone who heard some of Nick's stirring speeches knows that.

Boding well for the future, there were plenty of non-seniors who were recognized.

Sophomore TE Hamilton Garner was the most obvious choice for Most Improved as he came out of virtually nowhere to lead the team in receiving TD's.

Junior QB Sean Brackett deservedly won the Sid Luckman team MVP award.

And it was another senior whose name I was really happy to see getting a top honor. Neil Schuster took home the defensive MVP award even though I feel like he was a bit overlooked his entire career at Columbia. But after leading the team in tackles this season, he could not be denied.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Keep Your Eyes Peeled!!!

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If you see this man... alert us immediately!!!

With Bill Campbell in New York City for much of this week, it stands to reason that we might also see some of the finalists for the football head coaching job in town -- or even on campus -- to meet with or interview with Campbell and AD Dianne Murphy.

Campbell is here to be a part of the National Football Foundation's Scholar-Athlete and Campbell Trophy awards tomorrow night.

Campbell's visit to the city leads me to believe that Columbia may actually name its new football head coach sometime later this week, as opposed to the December 15th deadline which falls next week.

So if you happen to be on campus this week, or hanging out in several lobbies of midtown hotels, and you happen to see someone familiar... let us know!

Greg Toal

Toal's Progress

We won't need any spies in the Bronx today because I have already learned that Don Bosco Head Coach Greg Toal will be there today for his second interview.

As every reader of this blog knows, the Toal question has been a major lightning road of controversy separating those who think he's a no-brainer choice for a college head coaching position and those who think he's a crazy choice.

If Toal goes to Fordham, we'll have to live with his success or failire up close for some time.

Of course, Toal isn't the only candidate at Fordham. My sources tell me two former Ram QB's, Mark Carney and Joe Moorhead, are also in the running for the job. Carney coaches under former Fordham Head Coach Dave Clawson at Bowling Green and Moorhead is an assistant at UConn.

More Coaching News

Old Dominion Head coach Bobby Wilder has agreed to a 10 year extension running through 2021. Long-time readers of this blog know I have a special affection for ODU football, which came back to life in 2009.

As a kid I used to tool around the ODU campus when my dad taught there from 1977-81. But my recent love for the school came because it was smart enough to bring back football to a sports-mad part of the country that doesn't have a major college program within easy driving distance.

In just three years, Old Dominion has become an FCS powerhouse and a definite money maker for the school when you add in all the sold out games to the renewed alumni interest.

Carl Pelini's base salary at FAU will be $450,000 per year.

Bushnell Winners Provide Mild Surprise

Jeff Mathews

Sophomore QB Jeff Mathews surprised many by winning the offensive Player of the Year award Bushnell Cup earlier today.

Dartmouth's Nick Schwieger was expected to edge out the underclassman Mathews for the award, but not by a wide margin.

The fact that Schwieger is graduating and would no longer be promotable by Dartmouth or the Ivy League may have played a role in the voting. But I am a man obsessed with PR opportunities, so perhaps I am biased in those considerations.

Both Mathews and Schwieger shredded the Lions defense this season, so Lions fans really can't have anby quibble with this decision.

In fact, Mathews set several Ivy single game passing records against Columbia in the Big Red's 62-41 win over the Lions in week nine.

Incidentally, Columbia hasn't had a Bushnell winner since 1982 when junior QB John Witkowski walked away with the hardware.

Josue Ortiz

Josue Ortiz was widely expected to take the defensive Player of the Year Bushnell, mostly because he flat out deserved it and he led the champion Crimson to the title.

It's hard to shut out the league champs from postseason honors.

Now the pressure really is on Mathews to live up to this honor and Cornell to improve on this season's 5-5 record with Mathews at the helm.

Mathews and the Big Red invade Wien Stadium for the 100th meeting between Columbia and Cornell on November 10, 2012.

Mark your calendars now!

BREAKING: Ortiz wins Defensive Bushnell

Josue Ortiz wins the defensive POY award. Jeff Mathews is the surprise winner of the offensive POY.


Monday, December 05, 2011

BREAKING: Mathews win Offensive Bushnell

Just breaking now...

Carl Goes Down South

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Basketball Triumphs!

More good news from California where the Lion Basketball team finished out a perfect trip to La La Land today with a 78-56 win over La Sierra College.

One adept reader has already pointed out that the next Lion men's basketball game is at home against Holy Cross. Will there be room on the Crusaders' team bus for head football coach Tom Gilmore in case he's like to come interview at CU?

You know... I'm trying to encourage carpooling to be "green."

Carl Pelini

Pelini Gets an Offer

Former Columbia footballer Carl Pelini, who some thought might make a good candidate for our vacancy, is reportedly about to get the head coaching job at Florida Atlantic University.

By the way, Pelini has never been a head coach above the high school level. But he does have eons of experience as an assistant, especially under his brother Bo who is the head man at Nebraska.

FCS Playoffs Thoughts

Towson, the team Columbia whipped by two TD's on Kraft Field just last season, won the Colonial Athletic championship and just barely lost to Lehigh in the second round of the FCS playoffs yesterday.

Anyone who says you can't turn around teams quickly should take a good long look at Towson.

Oh, and Chuck Priore's Stony Brook team just barely lost to the top ranked Sam Houstaon State in the same FCS playoffs.

Remember, Priore was the man who was the Columbia search committee's top choice the last time we had this vacancy.

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.

More on Mangurian & What about Gilmore?

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Opening Shot

One reporter for a small Ohio newspaper asks a good question: why pay Urban Meyer up to $40 million to coach Ohio State when coaching Columbia is a much tougher job?

Not a bad question. Although I think the answer is to pay Meyer less and our next head coach a little more.

Pete Mangurian

More on Mangurian

Here are some of the highlights and lowlights of Columbia head coaching candidate Pete Mangurian's three years at the helm at Cornell:

-An overall W-L record of 16-14

-An Ivy record of 11-10, but 10-4 his last two seasons

-Best season overall was 1999 when the Big Red went 7-3, 5-2 Ivy and won games against Harvard, Penn and Brown. The wins against Penn and Brown came on the road and Brown was the eventual Ivy co-champion. The other co-champ, Yale, beat them handily at the Bowl, 37-20.

-Next best year was 2000 when the Big Red went 5-5, but also 5-2 in the Ivies and had they went into the final week of the season with a chance to win the title.

-Beat Harvard two out of three years.

-Record in games decided by three points or less: 7-1

-Record in games decided by 7 points or less: 9-4

-Developed some standout players like QB Rick Rahne and recruited the great Kevin Boothe who went on to the NFL.

-His recruits didn't perform all that well as the teams that followed his departure went 2-7, 4-6, and 1-9 and were 5-16 Ivy.

-His teams were strong on offense and emphasized the pass. His '99 team broke the 30-point mark four times.

-Defensively, the Big Red got progressively worse during his time; giving up 200 points in 1998, 235 points in '99 and 334 points in 2000.

-It's been 11 years since Mangurian coached in this league, but not much has changed. Harvard, Penn and Brown still pretty much dominate the league. But the recruiting and financial aid pictures are dramatically different and he'll need some brushing up there.

-Mangurian did not leave the Cornell program as late in the game as I thought. His resignation was announced in early January of 2001... not ideal, but not so terribly late that the Big Red couldn't possibly get a decent replacement.

Tom Gilmore

The Backlash

Ever since I broke the Mangurian news last night, I'd say the #1 reaction from the fans and football alums who contact me personally is: "WHAT ABOUT GILMORE?!?"

Tom Gilmore remains the fan favorite and there will be real disappointment if he is not interviewed at the very least.

It's a delicate situation since he is still under contract at Holy Cross, but this is a base that needs to be covered ASAP.

Times Heads Up!

The New York Times' Andrew Keh, (a recent Columbia alum), is preparing a piece on the Columbia coaching search. It should be published tomorrow or possibly early next week.


Visits to this blog hit an all-time high in November and rose a whopping 76.2% year over year.

Thank you!

Friday, December 02, 2011

BREAKING: Mangurian in the Mix

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Former Cornell head coach and long-time NFL assistant Pete Mangurian is seriously interviewing for the head coaching job at Columbia.

There are a lot of reasons why it makes sense that Mangurian is a candidate:

1) Mangurian and Dianne Murphy were at Cornell at the same time. Murphy must have at least sat in on his hiring process in 1997 and must have liked what she saw.

2) Mangurian has been out of football for a year, but at age 56 I think he's no longer entertaining serious thoughts of being an NFL head coach. Coaching at Columbia could be a very good personal move for him at this time.

3) Mangurian knows New York from his years with the Giants. It's not likely he's "New York phobic" in any way.

I thought Mangurian was an excellent coach at Cornell, getting the most out of his players especially in his final year of 2000 when the Big Red went to the final weekend of the season with a chance to win the title with a win over Penn.

The Quakers crushed Cornell that day in Ithaca, but it was amazing that Mangurain got them that far.

He was 2-1 against Columbia in his tenure, losing a mostly dominated game by the Lions at Wien Stadium in 1998 and then winning two nail-biters in 1999 and 2000.

Mangurian's departure at Cornell remains controversial. He left the team unexpectedly too far into 2001 for the program to be adequately prepared. The result was the Big Red hired Tim Pendergast late in the offseason and he turned out to be a disaster for the program.

But Mangurian's reasons for leaving were understandable. His longtime mentor, Dan Reeves, had called and asked him to join his staff with the Atlanta Falcons and he obliged.

I expect more information about Mangurian's strong candidacy in the coming days.

Tim Murphy

BREAKING: Tim Murphy and Penn State

I can also confirm tonight that Harvard Head Coach Tim Murphy is seriously being considered for the head coaching job at Penn State.

There's a strong possibility that Penn State is pushing this story out there in order to get the positive PR that would come from looking at an Ivy League coach with a squeaky clean reputation.

But Murphy deserves to be a real candidate for the job.

... and getting him off our opposing schedule every year would be nice.

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... :)