Sports | Football

Mangurian remains determined to make football a winner

  • Kiera Wood / Senior Staff Photographer
    still standing | Columbia head coach Pete Mangurian remains resolute in his quest to turn the Lions into a winner.

With the football team’s season record finishing at a winless 0-10 on Saturday, there is palpable unrest from those around the Columbia community—evidenced by the flying banner calling for the removal of head coach Pete Mangurian and Athletic Director M. Dianne Murphy.

In the immediate aftermath of concluding his second season as coach, Mangurian said that dealing with the barrage of negativity is “the most distasteful part of this whole process,” especially because a good deal of it comes from the program’s alumni.

“I’d be less than honest if I said it isn’t more difficult than I thought it would be, and it’s because of all the people out there that want to tear the program down for whatever reason,” Mangurian said after the game. “Unfortunately some of them are our own. And that is really disappointing.”

[Related: Columbia drops final game, finishes winless for sixth time]

Columbia’s dismal season was the first time the Light Blue went winless since the height of its 44-game winless streak in 1987, but it is the sixth time in program history that the Lions finished a season without a victory. Still, Mangurian said that he’d refuse to carry the baggage of the past as he continues to build the program.

“History is history—I can’t answer for that,” he said. “I told the players that today. We’ve had a common experience with the class that left last year and the class that left this year, and we’re tied together for the rest of our lives on one level or another. And that’s all that matters.”

Kiera Wood/ Senior Staff Photographer
it's over | The Lions went out with a whimper on Senior Day, ending their terrible season with a loss to the Bears.

But history matters as well, and part of the perception is that things are worse than ever before. It is true that this season marked the first time Columbia gave up 50-plus points to four different opponents, but Mangurian said that some of the criticisms he’s heard about the state of the program are unfounded. And although he didn’t directly address those critiques with the team, Mangurian said he knows the players have read them.

“Unfortunately, we have to spend some of our energy dealing with people that don’t know what we’re doing and are hell-bent on destroying what we’re trying to create,” he said. “The people that aren’t around this program daily, that don’t know our kids personally, don’t know the problems, don’t know the things that have happened before, really don’t know the facts at all, are the ones with the loudest opinions.”

“I think, in all honesty, that kind of attitude, and that kind of behavior, and that kind of speak is somewhat at the root of the problems that have held this program back for so many years,” Mangurian added. “I just think it’s a shame that people feel compelled to tear something down in the name of building it back up.”

The head coach also said that he noticed the negative narratives picking up as the team moved closer to finishing 0-10.

“There’s an emotional reaction to that stuff—there is for me too,” Mangurian said. “The emotion in that really stems for me feeling bad for the players. I know where we’re going.”

[Multimedia: Highlights, analysis of Columbia's season-ending loss to Brown]

Despite the ugly nature of the situation, senior linebacker Brian East said that he’s found much value in going through the program’s struggles in his four years on the team.

“You can win a bunch—I had the pleasure of doing that in high school [and] I don’t think I learned half of what I did from this season,” East said. “It’ll be fun to watch this program continue to grow.”

Though clearly not reflected in the Light Blue’s 2013 record, that progression within Mangurian’s blueprint is what the head coach said differentiates this season from the past.

“It’s not the same. It may feel the same, but it’s not,” Mangurian said. “There’s a plan in place that’s based on empirical data, and a lot of knowledge and observation, and a great team of people that’s a lot larger than anybody realizes, working to make this program and these kids successful.” 

myles.simmons@columbiaspectator.com@MSmmns210

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sageman posted on

Keep blaming the past Mangurian! There are multiple references in Mangurian's interview to blaming the past including the alumni!
This guy is beyond words. Well the distant past looks a lot better than the recent past(last two years).
I pity any kid who has to play for this joker. 3-27 after next year-will this guy still blame "history"?
He is not only a bad coach he has no fortitude.

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Anonymous posted on

Not just alums. He sounds like he's also attributing some of it to Wilson's recruits, which makes sense, considering he barely plays any of them.

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Anonymous posted on

No one is blaming the football program. Everyone is blaming the coaches, and rightly so. After ten blow out losses including multiple shut outs, he is surprised at the "negativity?"

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Big Sean posted on

Eagerly awaiting his blog post on the 2013 season!

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Rich Forzani 66C posted on

One must remember that the nay-sayers described by PM above began this season with a positive, hopeful outlook. But observation of the coaching decisions, coaching deficiencies on the field, negative reports from players and parents re locker room attitudes and treatment thoughout the season, and bewildering tactical directives such as mandated weight loss, have radically altered attitudes.
There are many valid reasons for alumni, and especially football alumni, to feel as they do. This is not carping over a bad season; this has to do with far more serious issues.

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Anonymous posted on

Bravo, totally agree with the whole article! Sure, we should all be very disappointed with a winless season and looking for answers in hope of avoiding this again next year is natural and expected. But the rumors and scope of negativity from many of our fans/alum is outlandish! The unfortunate issue is that they don't even realize how low they have gotten. You like or dislike the coach and AD is one thing but flying over the stadium and allowing the players to see that sign was probably the lowest of lowest things I have ever seen! The sad thing was I heard those fans/alum (the guys wearing the buttons) looking up at the flyover sign laughing in the stands thinking it was a great thing. I do feel your pain of the past 50-60 years but PLEASE don't spew it over everyone else!

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Anonymous posted on

The Mangurian Candidate has now morphed into Captain Queeg in blaming outside forces-many of whom are alums -for the season. I bet he's meeting with Lady M right now busily counting chin straps.

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Anonymous posted on

I still think that the way to go is emulate the over matched, under sized programs( See: Navy, Army, and Air Force.) All have had various success and will continue to in the future. Navy is the one... What is the solution? TRIPLE OPTION OFFENSE! Who else plays it in the Ivy League? How can you prepare for it in one week? Does it have a proven track record? WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR? If Mangurian won't do it why not et someone who will? Navy asst.?

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Anonymous posted on

Columbia is still determined to make itself peaceful, law-abiding, and ethical. And it is the appointed broker for the sale of the Brooklyn bridge.

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Anonymous posted on

What can the football morons learn from the baseball morons?

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whatev posted on

To paraphrase the estimable James Joyce: You are as clever as a shithouse rat.

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Mighty Duck posted on

I agree with Coach Mangurian that I'm not close enough to the program to give an opinion on it, so I won't. I believe there should be a detailed enquiry by competent Columbians, knowledgeable on football, AND who have played the game (not just armchair strategists,) and find out how to fix this mess.

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Puzzled Alum posted on

Mangurian's comments in the article, as ridiculous as they may sound, are strategically chosen to attempt to deflect blame. Unfortunately, he flunks--as do Murphy and Bollinger.

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Anonymous posted on

THANK YOU. THEREFORE, FIRE ALL 3 OF THEM.

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Anonymous posted on

Alot of this problem lies in the recruiting of the kids to Columbia. I myself intended on transferring into Columbia from a top tier school and I had all the ambitions of helping build a power house team there. On my official visit Mangurian stated that I was too ambitious and that the kids were uncomfortable of my work ethic and ambition. I am intense and passionate about football, most coaches love me for it, and that is why I am now playing at a top 20 d1a program. But to Mangurian and Columbia it was "intimidating"... in a sense wanting to win is intimidating for them. It is the culture that Mangurian is instilling in football there that makes the program weak. It is kids not training hard and working when coaches don't require them to work hard. It is wanting to win instead of coaches telling the kids what to do. The culture at Columbia is backwards period as long as a guy like Mangurian is there.

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