Joe Moglia is back.
The Coastal Carolina football program once again has its four-time Eddie Robinson FCS National Coach of the Year finalist leading the team.
Moglia, 68, has returned from a five-month medical sabbatical that was taken to treat a condition that was causing inflammation in and damage to his lungs.
“I couldn’t be more excited about rejoining my staff and team,” Moglia said Friday. “From Aug. 1 through the rest of the year, I only met with them three times, and especially the first two were incredibly emotional for me. It wasn’t easy watching the team on game day from either the press box or on television.”
Moglia has the titles at CCU of head football coach, executive director of football operations, and chairman of the athletics department.
Moglia’s medical leave began on the eve of the team’s first preseason practice in late July. He had a fungal infection that went untreated for a few years and resulted in inflammation in his lungs, and he said doctors believe they have relieved the situation.
“I never thought I wasn’t coming back, but I wasn’t focused on that, I was focused on making sure I got through the various protocols I needed to do to handle the infection,” said Moglia, who changed his diet and exercise during his leave to further improve his health. “The infection is gone and my doctors have given me an all systems go.
“Understood with that is the awareness that if I sense it coming back, I don’t wait two years to have it looked at and it should be easily treated.”
The infection is gone and my doctors have given me an all systems go.
CCU head football coach Joe Moglia
Moglia went 51-15 in his five years at the helm of the CCU program from 2012-16, including a 2-4 start to his inaugural season.
He led the Chanticleers to the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs in each of his first four years – they were not eligible for the playoffs during a transition year to the Football Bowl Subdivision in 2016 – and was a four-time finalist from 2012-15 for the Eddie Robinson FCS National Coach of the Year, winning the award in 2015.
He directed the Chants to the FCS No. 1 national ranking for a combined 10 weeks in the 2014 and 2015 seasons before the Chants’ moved up to the FBS level this past season, and to the FCS quarterfinals in both 2013 and 2014.
He leads a unique program, which features a Be A Man philosophy. The program doesn’t necessarily have rules, it has the BAM behavioral standard that requires players to treat others with respect, be accountable for their actions and live with the consequences of their actions.
The Chants went 3-9 in 2017 under interim head coach Jamey Chadwell, the team’s associate head coach and offensive coordinator, in their second year of transition to the FBS level and first year in the Sun Belt Conference. The Chants won their final two games of the season.
They will be eligible for a conference championship for the second straight season in 2018 and for the first time will be eligible to participate in a bowl game.
“I think we can learn a lot from the 2017 season,” Moglia said. “I have never thought in terms of the record, I think in terms of the process, which for us, a big part is to fix the mistakes that are creating problems for us.”
The Chants signed 18 players in the new early signing period in December and have at least another 12 scholarships to give in the signing period that begins Feb. 7, so recruiting will be among Moglia’s priorities over the next month.
He remained involved with the recruiting process during his leave, speaking to recruits remotely and meeting with them on campus without traveling to their homes.
“I feel good about the guys we have signed already,” Moglia said. “I will have my first meeting with the staff this coming Thursday morning and then meet with the team that evening.
“The No. 1 priority for all of us will be to bring in the best players we can that have the character to live up to BAM by Feb. 7.”
The No. 1 priority for all of us will be to bring in the best players we can that have the character to live up to BAM by Feb. 7.
CCU head football coach Joe Moglia
The Chants have a new defensive coordinator in Marvin Sanders, who worked with Moglia for two years at Nebraska in 2009-10 and a year with the Omaha Nighthawks of the United Football League in 2011. Sanders, 50, has replaced two-year defensive coordinator Mickey Matthews, who retired from coaching in December.
Moglia said he intends to at least fulfill the terms of a contract extension that was finalized in September and goes through the 2020 season.
It pays Moglia a base salary of $400,000, up from $175,000 in his previous agreement, and the salary will be reviewed annually by CCU president David DeCenzo.
Moglia has a unique story among college head coaches. Prior to his hiring at Coastal, Moglia last held a paid college football position in 1983 as the defensive coordinator at Dartmouth, which culminated 16 years of college and high school coaching.
He then transitioned into business, rising to the position of CEO of TD Ameritrade from 2001 until his resignation in 2008 to return to coaching. He remains chairman of the board for the successful online brokerage firm and assisted with its 2016 acquisition of Scottrade for an estimated $4 billion and the assimilation of the company that has followed.
Moglia spent two years as an unpaid executive advisor to Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini before becoming the head coach and president for a year of the Nighthawks in 2011.
Coastal began football in 2003 and the program enjoyed quick success under coach David Bennett, going 28-6 from 2004-06 with an 11-1 record in the Big South Conference. But the program regressed from 2007-11, going 29-28 overall and 15-12 in the Big South in the five years before Bennett’s firing and Moglia’s arrival.