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Columbia University’s Football Coach Al Bagnoli on Building a Championship Team for the 2019 Season

September 19, 2019


[MUSIC PLAYING] I’ve often found that the
final step of this whole thing is trying to win a championship. That’s what we’re all in it for. And to me that’s going
to be the hardest thing that we try to do. It’s within our grasp. But we’re going to have
to play really well, because the league is really
tough, really balanced. And it’s going to be
really competitive. And leading by three
here in overtime. Two receivers to the
left, one to the right, out of the pocket. [CHEERING] Hill over the middle into
the end zone for a touchdown! We’re past the, we
want to win some games, then we want to go 500, and
kind of build it slowly. Remember when we got here, we
inherited an 0 and 20 team. So I think you have
to start modest. You don’t want to publicly state
goals that are not achievable. This has been, really
a class that we’ve become really close to, because
it was our first recruiting class. And so they had to take a leap
of faith and go to Columbia. Where they had plenty
of other opportunities to go to other places. And so I’m really
happy for them, because they have been the
foundation of our turnaround. And so when you
fast forward it now, if we can get another
really successful season that’ll be three in a
row, which has never been done at Columbia University. It’s remarkable for any college. So let’s start off
on the academic side, they’re taking the
exact same courses as any student would take here. So they’re not getting
any relief there. They had the exact
same assignments due. And yet, they’re also trying to
become a legitimate Division 1 football player, which requires
a lot of time, preparation, commitment. And then, you fast
forward on top of that, majority of our kids
also want to be socially aware, so they want to give back. And they feel very fortunate. And so when you
look at everything that a Division I student
athlete at Columbia or in the Ivy League
has to do to succeed, it’s a remarkable story. It’s the model for
today’s college football. And it’s something I’m so proud
of what our kids have achieved. The most satisfying thing
was the Penn homecoming. Some of it was because
I used to work at Penn. But just to win at homecoming
in such dynamic fashion in front of that crowd. And it was great to see
how the crowd reacted. Their reaction of
storming the field and embracing our kids, to me– and I told the coaches this the
next day at our staff meeting– really has kind of made all
of our of efforts worthwhile. I thought it was outstanding for
the program, for our players, for our alumni, for
the entire family.

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