Someone at Columbia pulled some serious strings this offseason, because the Lions officially announced today the acquisition of a new head coach. Al Bagnoli managed the University of Pennsylvania (note: NOT Penn State) football team for 23 years and became one of the winningest coaches in Ivy history. Bagnoli received praise and tribute last season after announcing his retirement. But now he’s returning to the game, not for a historically dominant Penn team but for a Columbia squad with a losing streak old enough to drink. Perhaps our new athletics director’s time at Villanova gave him some Philadelphian clout.
This is good enough news for Bwog to officially break its longstanding promise to stop covering football until something good happened. This is fantastic, but confusing, news for the program. Former head coach Pete Mangurian was notoriously gruff with alumni and the media, and allegations of abusive behind-the-scenes behavior didn’t do him any favors. Hopefully the Lions will be able to turn things around a bit this season, whether that manifests as a win at Baker or a single point scored against Harvard. On joining the Columbia team, Bagnoli explains, “I eagerly await the opportunity to work alongside a talented group of student athletes, a passionate alumni base and a dedicated university administration.”