As multiple local outlets are reporting and sources have confirmed to FootballScoop, former Penn head coach Al Bagnoli is expected to be the next head coach at Columbia. A formal announcement could be made as soon as Monday. The hiring would fill the last open job in Division I.
Hiring Bagnoli gives Columbia an experienced, successful head coach at a time the program desperately needs one. The Lions have lost 21 straight games, won just four games over their past four seasons and posted two winning seasons since the end of the 1971 season. Yes, two winning seasons in more than 40 years. The reality of a football program located in the heart of New York City requires the team to devote a significant amount of time commuting too and from practice, and former head coach Pete Mangurian left behind a toxic atmosphere orbiting the program.
This is where Bagnoli, 62, comes in. He's posted just three losing seasons in 33 years as the head coach at Union (N.Y.) and Penn. (Though, to be fair, two of those three losing campaigns came in 2013 and 2014.) Bagnoli announced his retirement last spring in advance of the 2014 season. “I’ve been fortunate to be part of some really good moments,” he said at the time. “I’ve been blessed to deal with a great institution and it’s an honor to do this for so long.”
Bagnoli's Quakers won nine Ivy League championships - more than any other program has claimed since the Ivy League's founding in 1954. His teams twice won three Ivy League crowns in a four-year span, including 2009-12, and went 32-3 in conference play from 2000-04.
The winningest coach in Penn football's 137-year history, Bagnoli stands as one of just six coaches in FCS history with 200 career victories.
There is quite literally not another coach in football that knows more about how to win at an urban, Ivy League school than the coach Columbia is about to hire.