Article Image
Columbia Spectator Staff

Dear President Bollinger and Chairman Campbell:

As alumni of Columbia and the Columbia football program, we feel compelled to speak out about the current state of the program and the disastrous job performance of its current head coach.

In fewer than two years, Pete Mangurian has done what many thought impossible. He's taken a program with a very sad recent history and made it clearly worse. The scores and statistics tell a woeful story. This team is performing worse than even the squads at the height of the infamous 44-game losing streak of 1983-88. We will almost surely go 0-10 this season for the first time since 1987.

That alone would be unacceptable, but we can also see that much of this futility is not an accident. Coach Mangurian has deliberately enacted policies that are not only making it impossible for us to win but are also putting the players in physical danger.

We refer to the deliberate practice of forcing the team's linemen to slim down to weights sometimes 50 to 60 pounds lighter than the Ivy League norm. We also refer to the deliberate benching of experienced upperclassmen, some of them All-Ivy awardees, in favor of first-year players who have not been given a chance to develop their skills and boost their strength. As much as we hate to see the team continue to lose, we hate even more to see our current players put in a totally unnecessarily dangerous situation.

We know of no other solution to this problem but to replace Coach Mangurian as soon as the season ends. It pains us to publicly embarrass the program in this way, but it's essential that the athletics department cut its losses and move on. Many of us were dismayed two years ago when we saw the hiring process for Mangurian not being carried out in the open way we were all promised. We know of several candidates willing to coach at Columbia who were not even interviewed. Some of those candidates include excellent former Columbia players and assistant coaches. In short, we believe the hiring of Coach Mangurian was not conducted properly, and thus the current poor results should not be a surprise to anyone.

To that end, we also strongly request that an outside group be brought in to assess the entire athletics department and conduct the hiring process for a new head football coach. We believe too many of the same people in and outside the department have failed in the past in this endeavor, and it's time to look elsewhere for this crucial decision.

We remain ever loyal to Alma Mater, and that is the main reason we have decided to make this plea in this way. The signatories below include three Columbia Athletics Hall of Fame members and several substantial donors to the University. We all know that football and athletics in general can be more successful at Columbia provided our teams and athletes get the proper leadership. We are ready and willing to do whatever we can to help you make that happen.

Sincerely,

Greg Abbruzzese, '91; Chad Andrzejewski , CC '94, three-time letterwinner; Rod Azar, '93; Billy Basso, '93; Rob Carey, CC '92; Joe Calcagno, CC '93; Thomas Chorba, '66; Jim Daine, CC '92; Gary Edmonds, '95; Rich Forzani, '66; Brett Hixon, '03; Jennifer Jackson Strange, manager 1988-90; John Jennings, '94, three-time letterwinner; Quinn Kayser-Cochran, CC '91; Bob Kent, CC '92, letterwinner; Alberto Marconi, '93; Chad Moore, '93; Dean Mothard; Lawrence Nelson; Kiernan O'Connor, CC '92; David Ramirez, CC '96; Tom Samuelson, '84; Matt Swyers, '93; Jason Tarbart, '93; Matt Thompson, '93; Bob Walcott, SEAS '92; Desmond Werthman, CC '93, Columbia Athletics Hall of Fame; Rory Wilfork, CC '97, Columbia Athletics Hall of Fame; Stephen Wolfson

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

football Pete Mangurian athletics
ADVERTISEMENT
Newsletter