Moglia knows pork bellies, but what about pigskin?

So now that the news is finally starting to sink in that billionaire businessman Joe Moglia is the new head football coach at Coastal Carolina.

Now it’s time to answer the only question that really matters.

Can he coach?

Forget how many millions he made on Wall Street, or whether a CEO’s skills translate to coaching, or if he had a secret deal with CCU president David DeCenzo to replace David Bennett. Those things are fine to talk about but won’t mean anything once the Chanticleers kick off next fall.

Ultimately the success or failure of his tenure will be based on what transpires on the football field, so let’s judge the hire based on those merits alone. That’s tough to do since he spent the majority of his professional career in the board room instead of a locker room, but here’s what we have to go on.

Moglia has been a head coach for exactly five games over the past quarter-century in a brief stint with the financial-troubled UFL’s Omaha Nighthawks. Not much of a track record to make a full diagnosis, but it’s better than nothing.

The Nighthawks, which featured former NFL players like former Nebraska quarterback Eric Crouch and Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett, played against similar talent led by former NFL coaches like Dennis Green, Jim Fassel, Marty Schottenheimer and Jerry Glanville.

Moglia’s bio says his team led the five-team league in passing offense, but 2011 stats are unavailable on the financially strapped league’s web site. His offense averaged a league-worst 16 points per game, and it’s hard to believe that an option QB like Crouch led the top passing game.

The Nighthawks fared better on defense, allowing 24 points per game and, according to his bio, leading the league in sacks and tackles-for-loss. Moglia also has a knack for special teams, with the Nighthawks also leading the UFL in punt returns and blocked kicks.

The Nighthawks lost its opener 23-13 to the Virginia Destroyers, the team Moglia was originally hired to coach, before getting its first and only win of the season in a 33-30 shootout over the Sacramento Mountain Lions.

Omaha’s offense then stalled in back-to-back losses to Las Vegas, 30-10 and 13-6, and Sacramento avenged its earlier loss to the Nighthawks with a 25-19 victory in the season finale. Not exactly Vince Lombardi, another Fordham grad who had zero college head coaching experience.

That’s another huge factor for which we have no background for comparison. College coaching is another animal all together. You don’t call agents to hire free agents. You have to go to the home’s of an 18-year-old kid and convince his “agents” should entrust their child to you for four years.

Recruiting is a different ballgame from the business world, where fresh-out-of-college kids are competing for a job in the mail room of your Fortune 500 company, or you’re trying to steal the best brokers away from their firms with champagne dinners and junkets to Aruba. The NCAA frowns upon such practices.

College football recruiting means driving to places in rural Marlboro County that isn’t on your GPS, sitting in the living rooms of shotgun shacks with families whose annual household income is less than you paid for your suit and selling yourself to kids who are hearing the same spiel from dozens of other coaches.

Of course, that’s why you hire good assistants, as any good CEO knows, but the head coach also has to be the face of the program in the community. Can you hang with the fine folks at a pancake supper in Conway while schmoozing potential boosters at The Dunes Club?

Again, none of that will really matter as long as Moglia can produce more wins (make that a lot more wins) than losses. Not saying he can or won’t, only that he hasn’t.

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2 responses to “Moglia knows pork bellies, but what about pigskin?”

  1. mark Gray says:

    Football is coloring with crayons compared to the Mona Lisa that is high finance ,The coordinators offense & defense are what will make the difference and that is true of every coach ask Mack Brown .I do not understand why him being a billionaire is a bad thing he’s self made not a spoiled rich kid with a new toy.Compare his resume to coach Bennett’s before he came to coastal. Coach Bennett should not have lost his job but this coach has even more potential.Coastal football has been all over the news Yahoo & sports center and not for a stupid be a dog video.Winning fixes everything so we will see the new coach being a yankee & not mentioning the Lord in every sentence it will be a uphill battle hopefully the fans don’t sabotage him.I would love to see the local team be great.

  2. Andy Drew says:

    “Can he coach?”

    Very fair question. Good to explore it. You hit on the important factor I think – recruiting. I think it’s imperative he find coaches that have connections or ties to this region of the country who know the HS coaches. You what they say: it’s not about the Xs and Os, it’s about the Jimmy’s and the Joe’s.

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