CONWAY — Even before the dominoes started falling in place last weekend for Coastal Carolina to potentially secure a NCAA FCS playoff berth, before Liberty upset league-leading Stony Brook to make such thoughts possible for the surging Chanticleers, the CCU athletic department had made a bid to host any potential opening-round playoff game just in case.
Bids were due to the NCAA last Friday, and athletic director Hunter Yurachek said Wednesday that Coastal made a competitive bid in hopes the team would indeed find itself in such a position.
“We did submit a bid in hopes that this scenario would present itself where we would have an opportunity to host again if we made the playoffs,” Yurachek said. “We submitted a bid last week similar to what we did two years ago, and hopefully things will work out Saturday and then Sunday during the selection show that we’ll get an opportunity to host again this year.”
The Chants (6-4, 4-1 Big South) host Charleston Southern on Saturday at Brooks Stadium in the regular-season finale, but the program now has plenty of reason to hope that won’t be the last game in the stadium this fall.
If Coastal wins and Liberty also defeats VMI to force a three-way tie atop the Big South standings between the Chants, Flames and idle Stony Brook Seawolves, Coastal will win the tiebreaker of best road record in league play and claim the conference’s automatic playoff berth.
The NCAA solicits financial guarantees from potential host sites in advance of selecting the tournament field. Yurachek couldn’t recall what the minimum bid requirement was, but he said the Chants exceeded it.
Coastal did the same thing two seasons ago when it hosted Western Illinois in the first home playoff game in program history.
“I think it’s very important to have home-field advantage so we can practice here, have Thanksgiving here and then play here in front of our home crowd,” Yurachek said.
CCU head coach Joe Moglia has made an effort this week to the keep the Chants’ focus on beating Charleston Southern (5-5, 3-2) and not worrying about that which they cannot control. But if it happens, yes, he likes the idea of staying put in Brooks Stadium for any potential playoff matchup.
“It would be phenomenal if we had the chance to be able to play [here],” Moglia said. “First of all, let’s take care of business this weekend. But if we are fortunate and everything works out right this weekend, to be able to play our playoff game here, that would be great. That would be terrific.”
More playoff-related questions
Moglia’s contract, which he signed in August, calls for a $40,000 bonus to be paid at his discretion to he or his staff if the team wins the conference championship and $40,000 additional for each FCS playoff win.
He was asked during his weekly news conference Wednesday how he would allocate such bonus money, and he responded that it would go to his assistant coaches – while also poking fun at the persistent talk of his own wealth. Earlier in the day, for instance, Yahoo! posted a video feature about him titled “Richest coach in college football.”
“I will probably give every nickel to our staff,” Moglia said before a well-timed comedic pause. “Because I’m rich.”
His contract was structured to allow his staff (or he) to receive bonuses for reaching certain on-field and academic performance standards, and as long as the money is paid directly from the school to the assistants and not through Moglia, it is within the NCAA bylaws governing such matters.
One more record of note
Lost in all the gaudy stats the Chants put up collectively in their 65-7 win Saturday at Presbyterian while causing plenty of shuffling in the program record book, junior Niccolo Mastromatteo set a new Big South standard of his own.
With his 87-yard punt return for a touchdown, the veteran special teams standout became the conference’s career leader in punt return yards – now with 536 – while passing Liberty’s Wynton Jackson (525 from 2003-07).
Mastromatteo had long ago set the Big South record for career punt returns, now with 60, and that 87-yarder Saturday tied for the third-longest in league history. He owns that record too with a 91-yard punt return accomplished during the 2010 season.
Contact RYAN YOUNG at 626-0318.