One billion reasons behind Chants’ coaching decision

Still trying to wrap your brain around Coastal Carolina’s off-the-Wall-(Street) decision to hire billionaire businessman Joe Moglia as its new head football coach?

Then kick back on Coastal couch and let’s try to make some sense of this thing. But don’t nod off or you’ll awake to thinking this is all a dream, or a nightmare depending on your perspective of how this whole rags-to-riches fairy tale ends.

Now imagine you own a restaurant – a nice new one, but nothing fancy – and you need a new chef to shake things up. Candidate A is a proven chef, well respected around town for serving quality meals and providing friendly service.

Candidate B worked at restaurants after college for 16 years before going into another profession. He was highly successful at his primary job, but now he has decided he misses the restaurant business and wants an opportunity.

Who do you hire? No contest, right?

Now imagine that Candidate B was so successful in his previous endeavor that he wants to be an investor in the establishment. He will purchase the food, pay the staff and renovate the kitchen all for the opportunity to run your business.

Now who do you hire? Not so simple, is it?

Coastal hired Candidate B on Tuesday, but it wasn’t about the money (You know it’s about the money when they say it’s not about the money). But clearly the major difference between Bennett and Moglia (besides head coaching experience, loyalty to the university and a great relationship with the community) is a figure that ends with a lot of zeroes.

Moglia denied making a donation to the university to get the job and said he didn’t plan to spend his own money for a few years so “so it doesn’t look like I’m trying to buy the job.” A little late for that according to supporters of Bennett, many of whom believe Coastal planned to sell the job to Moglia all along.

Moglia is confident he will build a successful program without dipping into his personal savings, but I’m thinking the checkbook may come out a bit sooner, like the first time his team has to take a bus through the snowy mountain roads at Appalachian State, or spend the night at the Motel 6 in Radford, Va., when the Holiday Inn Express is right down the street.

I’ve tried to break it down in black and white but everything keeps coming up green. Has college football become so “about the money” that a school can buy their way to wins with a CEO who oversees his program like a Fortune 500 company?

And is there anything wrong with that? If Coastal, which has to stretch dollars to fund a competitive athletic department, suddenly has the opportunity to win the lottery, is it wrong to cash the ticket? Or is it a matter of the job going to the highest bidder rather than based on merit?

So many questions, so few answers, but this much we know: No previous head coaching experience was a deal-breaker when Bennett was hired to build the program from scratch, but apparently not anymore because neither did former Myrtle Beach coach Scott Earley and CCU assistant Marcus Drayton, who also apparently interviewed for the job.

Only former N.C. State coach Chuck Amato and former Clemson and Memphis coach Tommy West seemed to get serious consideration, and they were fired from their jobs for having worse won-lost records than Bennett. It’s almost as if CCU had Moglia in its sights from the start.

I have nothing to back that up other than a relatively quick hire for such a long-shot candidate  – and more than one billion pieces of circumstantial evidence. But ultimately, it’s not about the money; it’s about winning.

Money can buy some nice furniture and hire some fine folks to sit on it, especially since Moglia is willing to coach for free and use the money to assemble an all-star staff. But it takes things money can’t buy to build a championship program, like the ability to recruit and lead young men. Not saying Moglia can’t because of his impressive resume, only that he hasn’t as a college head coach.

In fairness to Coastal and Moglia, this strange partnership between the two is just so crazy that it just might work. They have the job he wants and no money; he has tons of money and wants the job the school has. It’s a basic free-market transaction.

Moglia has more than proven he can get it done in board room, but how will it translate to the locker room?  Good thing it’s not about the money.

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3 responses to “One billion reasons behind Chants’ coaching decision”

  1. Greg says:

    OMG one of the best articles I have ever read.

  2. Joe says:

    I actually think there are a lot of reasons this could work and reasons this hire makes sense. Reasons I would love to see explored before the local media scortches the earth with cynicism and criticism over this thing.

  3. CCU grad says:

    What I find interesting is that the leadership at Coastal assumed everyone was ignorant enough to “buy” their story about why they fired Bennett. It seems apparent that this deal may have been in the making for some time, considering that CCU’s president and the new coach have been neighbors for a year on Pawley’s Island.

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