Report: DeCenzo, Moglia met before Bennett’s firing

For those who thought there was something fishy about Coastal Carolina’s firing of football coach David Bennett and hiring of Joe Moglia, you’ve got a good nose.

Despite the fact that both CCU President Dr. David DeCenzo and Moglia are on the record denying knowing one another before the interview process, it turns out that the good doctor was recruiting the mulit-millionaire well before Bennett received a pink slip.

Credit the Carolina Forest Chronicle for breaking the story and staying on the paper trail, which turned out to be the paperless trail of e-mails. Under the Freedom of Information Act, the CFC obtained e-mails of DeCenzo, who is a public employee, courting Moglia a full five weeks before he was introduced as Coastal Carolina’s second-ever coach and three weeks before CCU had fired its first-ever coach.

Many suspected there was something up with the events that unfolded when Bennett was fired on Dec. 9 and when Moglia was hired 11 days later. Not much time to collect resumes from all over the country, interview the top five and settle on a guy who has spent more time in a board room than a locker room.

People also were suspicious that both DeCenzo and Moglia have homes in Pawleys Island, but that appears to be a coincidence. According to the CFC report, DeCenzo first made contact with Moglia on Nov. 14, the Monday after Coastal’s 45-38 victory over Charleston Southern, introducing himself and requesting a meeting about CCU’s football program.

According to the CFC report, DeCenzo’s e-mail said the following: “Sadly the past few years we have gone in the opposite direction. I have some grave concerns as to where we are heading. I would be more than happy to fill you in on all the other details when we speak.”

One week later, DeCenzo and Moglia set up a meeting over breakfast at Eggs Up Grill in Pawleys Island. On Nov. 23 the two met and discussed the job, with DeCenzo all but offering Moglia the job in a follow-up e-mail that afternoon. After Moglia sent a message saying he enjoyed their meeting, DeCenzo responded:

“Thanks Joe. Really enjoyed our time together this morning. I do hope we are able to make this work for all of us – and have you leading the Coastal Football program. … “I will work on a schedule of time so we can meet on campus with the AD, and a few other key people. I’d like to get this moving quickly.”

Looks like Bennett’s days were numbered before his final ballgame, a 45-21 win over Western Carolina on Nov. 26, not during the postseason review process as DeCenzo and AD Hunter Yurachek claimed in the Dec. 9 press conference announcing Bennett’s hiring. And the party line about launching a search to find the best candidate – poppycock.

DeCenzo wisely didn’t take questions after the Dec. 20 press conference introducing Moglia but he later claimed to have no previous contact with Moglia. In a Jan. 4 story in The Sun News, DeCenzo dismissed claims about having a priot relationship with Moglia: “The first time I met Joe Moglia was when this interview process started,” DeCenzo said.

I suppose the “process” started earlier than the public knew – over grits and coffee at the Eggs Up Grill more than one month earlier. And the charade of bringing in respected candidates and wasting their time under the guise of conducting a fair search, treating Bennett like a stooge after all he has done for the school and outright lying to the community underminds DeCenzo’s office.

This bombshell probably won’t be enough to undo the damage that has already been done. It’s too late to reverse the process, although Bennett’s case for a contract settlement suddenly looks a lot stronger. DeCenzo’s actions will do more harm to the football program and the school’s relationship with the community now that the truth of the matter has come out.

 

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One response to “Report: DeCenzo, Moglia met before Bennett’s firing”

  1. Ryan says:

    Was there really ever a doubt? Good luck to Bennett and I hope he gets all he deserves and Coastal handles the AD and President the way they need to.

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