DeCenzo, Moglia neighbors for full year before hiring

Coastal Carolina University may have seemed like it picked a name out of left field when it introduced coaching newcomer Joe Moglia its head football coach on Tuesday, but it turns out the school didn’t have to look very far at all.

Moglia purchased a home in Pawleys Island more than one year before he was named CCU’s coach. Coincidentally, CCU president Dr. David DeCenzo lives just down the road, less than 2 miles away.

As the Church Lady used to say, “Well isn’t that convenient?”

In the press conference announcing the surprise “reassignment” of David Bennett, DeCenzo and athletics director Hunter Yurachek said the search would go out to find the best candidate available to lead the Chanticleers into the future.

But was this a done deal all along? And if so, were the charges of apathy within the football program trumped up against Bennett to make way for the billionaire coach?

They are questions worth asking given the fact that Moglia and DeCenzo are close enough neighbors to have the same mailman. And since DeCenzo didn’t take questions after Tuesday’s introductory press conference leaves those suspicions up in the air.

How long have they known one another? Georgetown County property records  show Moglia purchased a $2.9 million home in the Prince George section of Pawleys Island on Nov. 4, 2010 – five days after the Chants defeated Gardner-Webb in overtime to improve to 3-5 on the season.

Of course, Coastal went on to win out and claim the Big South Conference championship and automatic bid to the FCS playoffs. Makes you wonder if Moglia was coming in to replace Bennett last season, when many were calling for the coach’s firing before the strong finish.

Or was it all a coincidence and Moglia just happened to buy a vacation home or investment property in Pawleys Island, 1.5 miles from DeCenzo’s home in Willbrook Plantation. Did they run into each other at the grocery store or play golf together?

It’s difficult to believe that the first contact between the two was during the interview process, which is not uncommon in hiring a new coach. But if this was a done deal from the start, or if the administration was secretly rooting for Bennett to fail so it could pull the trigger, it’s wrong.

If so, CCU didn’t get exactly what it was hoping for. Bennett’s 7-4 record in 2011 and 63-39 mark with four conference titles made it difficult to justify his removal, but fans were sold the idea that Coastal deserves greatness, not pretty goodness, for the investment the school is making.

That may well be the case, but fans also deserve an honest answer about how this all transpired. Exactly how close were DeCenzo and Moglia before the subject of coaching the Chanticleers came up, and was this the gameplan all along?

It’s OK, although a bit shady toward Bennett and his supporters, if DeCenzo believed he had a hand-picked successor for Bennett and he felt now was the time to make a change, but own up to it. Say you have a good friend you believe in and want him to run the program.

Until those questions are cleared up, fans have every right to be suspicious of this move and will have a hard time getting behind the new guy if they think Bennett was stabbed in the back to bring in a buddy through the back door.

You don’t have to be the Church Lady to be judgmental about this move.

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2 responses to “DeCenzo, Moglia neighbors for full year before hiring”

  1. Andy Drew says:

    I apologize in advance, but I feel like I MUST respond to some things in this article. For starters, I see no “conspiracy” in two people knowing each other. As connected as Dr DeCenzo is in the business world, after all he led the Wall School of Business for years before becoming the president, it is entirely reasonable to assume he knew Joe Moglia long before Moglia bought property here.

    Additionally, if Moglia bought property on Nov 4, 2010, then it would have been 5 days after a CCU WIN over G-W in overtime, not a loss. The record improved to 3-5. Also, if DeCenzo was talking to Moglia last season he probably should have been, or at least talking to somebody, because CCU was embarking on its 4th straight season of mediocrity (where they wound up anyway as it turned out).

    Were charges of fan apathy “trumped up”? I have to ask this question: have you been to games from 2007-2011? Nobody had to trump anything up. The ticket sales numbers speak for themselves. The attendance at the playoff game last season spoke for itself. Numerous games over the years of empty seats, students leaving early and a general malaise cast a pall over the program.

    Bennett’s 7-4 record in 2011 wasn’t exactly the gold nugget it has been made out to be because the Chants did not play the schedule they were originally supposed to play. How come I never read about that? Had CCU played the original 2011 schedule of at Georgia Southern, home to Towson and home to Ga State, how many of those games do they win? One, at best. Instead, CCU feasted on a bad D-II in Catawba, a sub-500 MEAC team in NC A&T and perhaps the worst FCS team out there in Western Carolina.

    Everybody points to Bennett’s 63-39 (not 66-39) mark and screams “how could you fire the man”? How come nobody points to the last 5 years of 29-28, with the program going nowhere, fans staying away, players acting with little discipline or accountability and unexplainable, embarassing losses to teams CCU should never have lost to. G-W this season just being the latest example. Or losses where CCU simply failed to compete (Liberty and Stony Brook). Where else in the country could you play .500 football for 5 years and have that be acceptable?

    Administration “rooting for him to fail”? How come I don’t see anybody in the media asking Bennett “why didn’t you consider staff changes” when they were so clearly needed? Again, nobody had to root for anything. The obvious point is Bennett stood by for years and did virtually nothing to snap his program out of a 5 year funk.

    As cash-strapped as CCU is (along with other state institutions), if DeCenzo did talk to Moglia in advance then I consider that a pretty smart move, particularly given that insane contract Bennett received that DeCenzo had to shoulder when he assumed command.

  2. mark Gray says:

    I think this guy deserves a chance and even though I like coach Bennett you have to wonder if the be a dog video with a million hits had anything to do with this.The people who like coach Bennett know he has a colorful way of talking and liked it other people thought he looked like a fool.The D coordinator and offensive coordinator do the majority of the recruiting and coaching this guy can afford the best so his chances are great.Coach Moglia is capable of learning international finance but not football he has coached successfully before Bennett came from Catawba who was he when he got here.I would not have fired coach Bennett but this hire has more potential than any other they could afford .Money is running college sports coastal maybe found a short cut my hope is they did .Coach Bennett may have gotten coastal a championship one day but when you look at what their up against it wasn’t likely.Google top 15 fcs stadiums to see what I mean also those teams have traditions to fall back on Coastal doesn’t Bennett will end up with a better job chances are even if its being a AD or linked to his charity .

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