In a press conference on Friday afternoon, newly appointed head coach of the Columbia football team, Pete Mangurian, discussed his plans for the future of the program. The new man at the helm of a program that went 1-9 last season entered into more of the specifics of what is to come in the weeks and months ahead, including an initial assessment of what deserves to stay and what should go from the existing structure. "The first step in this process is going to be an honest evaluation of where we are, how we got here, and what we're going to do to move on to the next step," Mangurian said. "Every single thing is going to be reevaluated." Also on the list of things to reevaluate is the coaching staff. The current staff was chosen by coach Norries Wilson, but Mangurian has the opportunity to keep the staff or start from scratch if he would like. In response to an inquiry about whether the coaches will stay or go, Mangurian said, "Over the next two to three weeks we'll discuss what we're going to do staff-wise, and when we make those decisions we'll let you know." With such a huge overhaul ahead, Mangurian didn't appear at all concerned with stepping on any toes. He acknowledged that many things up to this point clearly haven't been working, and how he intends to go about fixing the program. "We're going to find out what does work and we're going to emphasize those things." Aside from examining the current status of all aspects of the program, Manguarian focused on recruiting as the most major change that will take place over the short-term and long-term. "What does it take to win? It'll take an identity—an identity that'll be created over time, an identity that we will research in the next few weeks," he said. According to Mangurian, this identity will be what the assistant coaches take with them on the road while recruiting the future Columbia football classes. He emphasized how recruiting needs to focus on finding the right players specifically for Columbia. "He's got to fit in this community," Mangurian said of the ideal recruit. "I want the people who are good for us—that fit us." These players, he specified, are not necessarily what other schools like Harvard and Yale are looking for. Once the identity of the program has been solidified, the ideal recruits will simply be those who best exemplify what he thinks Columbia needs in a player. The other, most noticeable aspect of Mangurian's plan is his focus on winning. Though the goal of any program, winning has not always been an ever-present reality in Columbia's past. When it comes to turning the program around though, Mangurian is not holding back his expectations for the team from he get-go. "We need to expect to win," Mangurian said. "It has to become part of who we are We cannot go in with any kind of marginal idea of, 'Okay, this is good enough.'" In trying to change the culture surrounding football and getting a good understanding of the team, Mangurian has already leaned on several important people associated with the team and intends to continue doing so. During the press conference he mentioned recent conversation with notable names like Bill Campbell and Ray Tellier, suggesting the basis of a personal relationship that will only grow in the years to come. Part of turning the program around will be changing the attitude of those around it, and setting high goals. "Excellence in football is measure in wins," Mangurian said. "We're going to use the W-word around here."
Columbia Spectator Staff