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Columbia Spectator Staff

To the editor,

Columbia football is in the midst of a historic failure that goes well beyond public embarrassment. It should go without saying that head coach Pete Mangurian and Athletic Director Dianne Murphy, who hired him, must be relieved of their duties.

The Lions aren't fielding a competitive team at all. But this is Columbia, and some use our history of losing as an excuse to give Mangurian and Murphy more time to turn the situation around. I can't say just how wrongheaded that thinking is.

That's because this isn't about bad luck. Even compared to the worst Columbia teams of all time, this squad is statistically worse. The most egregious part is that Mangurian is knowingly putting Columbia players in a dangerous situation as he has deliberately put a lineup that is undersized and too young on the field.

Mangurian is the only coach in football who seems to believe lighter offensive and defensive lines can produce better results. This was an intriguing theory when he introduced it, but the results have been scandalous. Columbia is allowing a historically high amount of quarterback sacks and hits for the second straight year. The team's new commodity, Stanford transfer quarterback Brett Nottingham, didn't last one game with that kind of "protection." Last year's starter Sean Brackett was badly battered, too. It's a miracle the other quarterbacks haven't suffered more serious injuries.

The Lions are also putting a team on the field made up of way too many first-years and sophomores. This, too, is by the design of Mangurian, who eliminated the JV program. This isn't about a "Columbia curse." Mangurian has had more than enough time to see that his strategy doesn't work. He must not be allowed to coach Columbia players again.

Dianne Murphy hired Mangurian under questionable circumstances. She used an "executive search team" with no experience in finding athletics professionals. Better candidates eager to coach here were not interviewed.

In her tenure, she has delivered a dead-last-in-the-Ivies average number of championships, and absolutely no winning Ivy records in football and men's basketball. Not one. This alone should be more than enough to end her employment here.

But most seriously, she has now failed in her essential duty to keep our student athletes safe. She must never be allowed to hire another Columbia coach.

The deliberate malpractice we're witnessing is so clear that even someone as admittedly disinterested in athletics as University President Bollinger must take notice and act immediately.

Jake Novak
Columbia College '92
Owner, culions.blogspot.com

To respond to this letter, or to submit an op-ed, contact opinion@columbiaspectator.com.

football coach Manguarian Dianne Murphy failure
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