December 20, 2011
Coastal Carolina has found the secret to constructing a successful football program: Find a head coach with the resources to singlehandedly build new facilities, buy new uniforms, court new sponsors, make the school more attractive to recruits and revitalize the entire operation. It's genius, if you can find a billionaire with limited coaching experience and nothing to do.
Joe Moglia, former CEO and current chairman of TD Ameritrade, was named the Chanticleers' new head coach Tuesday in a surprising but profitable move, to say the least. Moglia was the president and head coach of the UFL's Omaha Nighthawks and an unpaid "executive advisor" to coach Bo Pelini at Nebraska for the past two seasons. Prior to that, he was the defensive coordinator at Dartmouth… in 1983.
But what he lacks in background, he makes up in backing. When Moglia retired as the CEO of TD Ameritrade in 2008, he was making a salary of $21 million and held $100 million in Ameritrade stock. There are no NCAA regulations limiting how much the nation's wealthiest college coach can spend on the Coastal Carolina program either directly or through donations.
Essentially, Coastal Carolina is making a major return on its investment, which is exactly what athletic director Hunter Yurachek said he wasn't getting with former coach David Bennett, who was 7-4 this season and finished third in the Big South. Bennett is the only coach the Chanticleers have ever known and in his nine seasons, he posted a 63-39 record with four conference titles.
But he also was costing the program $160,000 a year, which was unacceptable when their new coach keeps that in a change jar on his kitchen counter.
Moglia didn't exactly wow suitors with his coaching resumé. The Nighthawks were 1-5 last season, and Moglia spent more time dispensing investment advice to Nebraska draftees than doing any actual coaching with the Cornhuskers. However, the Nighthawks did lead the UFL in passing offense, sacks, tackles for loss, punt returns and blocked kicks. They also boasted the league's defensive player of the year.
Moglia also sports quite a few football-related accolades:
In 2010, Cornhusker football student-athletes elected Moglia to receive Nebraska's prestigious U.S. Grant Sharp Admiral's Trophy for Leadership and Service.
Moglia has been inducted into two high school halls of fame and the Omaha Business Hall of Fame while receiving the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, Columbus Citizens Foundation Leadership Award, National Italian American Foundation Special Achievement Award in Business, American Institute for Stuttering Lifetime Achievement Award and National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame's Man of the Year.
Moglia is the only person to publish books on both football and investing, including "The Key to Winning Football: The Perimeter Attack Offense" (1981) and "Coach Yourself to Financial Success: Winning the Investment Game" (2005), while contributing to numerous national football coaching journals. He has also been a keynote speaker at the 2011 American Football Coaches Association ("It's About Being a Leader") and 2010 National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics ("Leadership in a 24/7 Stress Filled Environment").
But it's a big risk dumping a proven commodity —and awesome soundbyte — like Bennett, who was given another undisclosed position on campus, to hire a coach who has more potential in his wallet than in his playbook.
Still, Coastal Carolina will look like geniuses if Moglia can remake the Chanticleers into an attractive commodity a la Oregon and Oklahoma State on the FBS level, which also have the financial backing of two of the world's wealthiest men in alums Phil Knight and T. Boone Pickens. If Moglia's investment in the program can lure some of the top FCS products and in turn make Coastal Carolina an FCS powerhouse, then CEOs with a passion for football might be leaving their position in droves to become the next great college football coaches.