The Coastal Carolina Chanticleers have fielded a football team since only 2003, competing in the Big South Conference in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). In the nine seasons since, they have had a rather successful run.
The Chanticleers are 63-39 since their inception in 2003, with four Big South Conference titles and two FCS playoff appearances. One of those playoff berths was the first at-large bid ever given to a team from the Big South. Not too shabby for a fledgling program.
Presiding over all of this was head coach Dave Bennett. He built Coastal Carolina's football program from scratch and turned them into a contender in the Big South. He was recognized for his efforts by twice being named Big South Coach of the Year, including last season.
The nation was introduced to Coach Bennett earlier this season when he gave an entertaining and somewhat bizarre response during a press conference. The video quickly went viral.
Evidently Coastal Carolina University President David DeCenzo and Athletic Director Hunter Yurachek were not as enthralled with Bennett as the rest of the nation was. They fired him in early December after the Chanticleers finished the season 7-4 and missed the playoffs.
Bennett's dismissal was somewhat surprising, considering he built the Chanticleers football program out of nothing and turned them into winners. Plus, Coastal Carolina is not exactly LSU or Alabama and the Big South is a far cry from the SEC, where a high level of winning is expected and coaches are held to a higher standard when it comes to wins.
Nevertheless, the administration at Coastal Carolina decided that Coach Bennett couldn't take the team to the "next level" and that the football program had plateaued under him. So, they needed to find a high-quality coach who could lead them to unprecedented success.
What happened next was both shocking and disheartening not only for Chanticleer fans, but for college football fans in general.
The school hired Joe Moglia as their new head coach. If you've never heard of him, you are definitely not alone. His most current coaching position was as the head coach of the Omaha Nighthawks of the UFL, a team he led to a measly 1-5 record.
His most recent college experience consisted of being a voluntary unpaid assistant for the Nebraska Cornhuskers in 2009. Prior to that he had worked as the defensive coordinator at Dartmouth from 1981-1983.
What was he doing during that nearly 30-year absence from football, you may ask? Well, he was busy becoming a billionaire while working for business giants Merrill Lynch and TD Ameritrade. From 2001 to 2008 he was the CEO of TD Ameritrade.
Moglia stepped down as CEO in 2008, citing his desire to return to the world of football. However, he stayed on with the company as chairman, further adding to his immense fortune.
Joe Moglia certainly has an impressive career resume. How many of us have been responsible for the fortunes of some of the wealthiest companies in America, after all? The only problem with that resume, however, is that there is absolutely nothing on it that makes him remotely qualified to be the head coach at any Division I school, let alone a successful one like Coastal Carolina.
So how then did Moglia manage to get a job for which he is completely unqualified? The obvious answer is his wealth.
Most FCS schools struggle to support their athletic departments financially. They rely on wealthy donors to help support the school's athletic teams. By adding a well-connected billionaire as head coach of the football team, Coastal Carolina significantly improved its prospects for receiving quite a bit of donations in the future.
It's a shrewd business deal, but completely tramples the integrity of college sports. If the NCAA is all about athletic and academic integrity and amateurism, it sure doesn't show in Coastal Carolina's hire.
How are the Chanticleer football players supposed to trust their own head coach when they know that he isn't qualified to lead them and essentially bought his way into the position? How are they supposed to believe their own school when it comes time for the annual presentation about NCAA rules and the importance of integrity and amateurism?
Let's not sugarcoat what Coastal Carolina's administration has done. They fired a successful coach and replaced him with with an unqualified billionaire who has plenty of money but almost no coaching experience or success.
Coastal Carolina's hire of Joe Moglia is an absolute travesty, completely trampling on the integrity and amateurism of college sports. Hopefully no other schools follow Coastal Carolina's lead, for it is a dishonorable and slippery slope that the school has begun to tread.