Coastal Carolina

‘Keep on ticking’: The plan behind Coastal Carolina’s move from Moglia to Chadwell

CCU football coach Joe Moglia steps down

Coastal Carolina University's Joe Moglia stepped down as head football coach Friday afternoon, giving the program over to offensive coordinator Jamey Chadwell.
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Coastal Carolina University's Joe Moglia stepped down as head football coach Friday afternoon, giving the program over to offensive coordinator Jamey Chadwell.

Aside from having the New York Giants throw millions of dollars at him, Joe Moglia said Friday his days as a football coach are over.

The man known as much — if not more — for his business dealings as leading teams on the gridiron stepped down from his post at Coastal Carolina to make way for offensive coordinator and associate head coach Jamey Chadwell to be his successor. And barring a dream opportunity with the Giants, Moglia said he will retain his position as CCU’s chairman of athletics while leaving coaching behind for good.

Moglia said this will be the first time in a long time that he will not be in charge of an institution, organization or team, leaving him in an unfamiliar spot, yet one he’s at peace with.

“That will be a load off my shoulders and allow me to do other things in a little bit more of a relaxed way,” said Moglia, who will also serve as executive adviser to CCU President David DeCenzo and have executive authority over football. “Having said that, let’s say two years from now the New York Giants of my hometown come to me and offer me $35 million for five years and my job’s to bring them the Super Bowl and I get a chance to go back to my home, where I grew up, where I have tremendous media and business connections and my family, I would have to consider that.

“So the answer is, I’m pretty sure my coaching career is over, but if there were an exceptional opportunity for me to do something else, I’d have to think about that.”

Moglia’s comments drew laughter from those in attendance at Friday’s press conference during which he, Chadwell and others from Coastal’s brass discussed the changes within the football program.

Moglia spoke of how the decision came from intellect rather than emotion and how that’s a strategy he’s used in nearly 50 combined years of coaching and leading financial institutions.

“When you have an important decision you have to make, you’ve got to be able to make that decision intellectually,” he said. “Because too often an emotional decision will lead to a mistake.”

CCU football coach Joe Moglia speaks with the media Friday at Brooks Stadium in Conway. Moglia stepped down as heach coach after seven seasons at CCU. Josh Bell

Moglia, athletic director Matt Hogue and DeCenzo each talked about how they’d developed a plan approximately three years ago to transition to Moglia’s successor once this day came.

In January 2017, the Chanticleers hired Chadwell from Charleston Southern, where he was 35-14 in four years as a head coach, won Big South Conference titles in his final two years, and was a two-time FCS National Coach of the Year finalist and three-time Big South Coach of the Year. His record and accolades reportedly earned him consideration for multiple head coaching jobs, including at Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) programs Furman and Tennessee-Chattanooga.

He has been serving as CCU’s offensive coordinator and spent the 2017 season as acting head coach when Moglia was away on a medical sabbatical for a condition that was causing inflammation and damage to his lungs.

As Friday showed, CCU believes Chadwell is the man they were looking for.

“We were fortunate to get him to join our staff understanding that one day this could be an outcome,” Hogue said. “Fortunately, because you have someone that’s already embedded in the program and that understands the culture of the institution and the culture of the athletic department I think right now is not particularly as hard. We can kind of keep moving without losing much energy or momentum on a variety of fronts because Jamey’s been here, he knows the personalities, he knows the staff, he knows everyone within our department administratively.

“So you kind of keep on ticking. I think that’s the beauty of having a planned succession.”

Moglia, who also serves as the Chairman of the Board at TD Ameritrade, said that he is in good health and that it was not a factor in the decision. He said upon his return from his medical leave in January 2018 that he intended to coach through at least the 2020 season.

“The reality is ‘What’s the best decision you’re going to make for your program?’” he said. “That was true with TD Ameritrade. It’s true here at Coastal Carolina.”

Moglia was a perceived risk that worked out for CCU.

He has a record of 56-22 in his seven years (six coaching considering the sabbatical) and led the program’s transition from the FCS to the Football Bowl Subdivision and Sun Belt Conference.

He was a four-time FCS National Coach of the Year finalist and the 2015 Eddie Robinson FCS National Coach of the Year Award winner, led CCU to the FCS playoffs in each of his first four seasons and the No. 1 national ranking for a combined 10 weeks in 2014-15.

Aside from his success on the field, Moglia also developed the BAM (Be A Man) motto and Life After Football (LAF) program, which focus on success beyond athletics.

When DeCenzo hired Moglia, many were surprised the businessman was chosen because he had little college football coaching experience over the previous two decades and his most recent coaching job had been with the defunct Omaha NightHawks of the United Football League. Nonetheless, DeCenzo said he had a gut feeling about Moglia and knew that “everything he’s touched he’s made successful.”

“It goes back to the first day that Joe Moglia was on this campus. He had a vision; I had a vision. He implemented that vision and it has proved to be wonderful for this institution,” DeCenzo said. “Anytime you go forward, you can’t unless you have a solid foundation. I think what he’s done not only athletically on the football field, but what our athletes have done in the classroom just speaks volumes to the success he’s brought to our program.”

Now Chadwell is taking over, hoping to help the program further build on what Moglia has put in place. Chadwell said winning Sun Belt Conference championships is the main goal, adding that getting CCU to its first bowl game would be a byproduct of that.

New CCU football coach Jamey Chadwell Joe Moglia speaks with the media Friday at Brooks Stadium in Conway. Former head coach Joe Moglia stepped down as heach coach after seven seasons at CCU. Josh Bell

“It’s a big responsibility, but you’ve got to be who you are. I’m confident in the coach I am. I’m confident in the way I can communicate to our team and the vision that I’ll have for them and I’m confident that it will work,” Chadwell said. “I know there’s big shoes, but if you’re not being challenged, you’re being stale and you’re not getting better. So this is a big challenge for me. I know there’s pressure with this job because of what he’s done and what his staff has done.

“But I wouldn’t be sitting here if he didn’t feel like I could meet that challenge and help take this program to the level that he wants it to get to. I’m excited to build on the legacy that he’s put in place — the championships, the winning tradition, the Life After Football, the academic success. All those things that are in place and we’ll continue to build on and hopefully achieve new goals.”

The Chants went 3-9 overall and 2-6 in the Sun Belt Conference in Chadwell’s season as coach in 2017, and improved to 5-7, 2-6 this past season in their second year in the league and first bowl game eligibility.

Chadwell said he’s excited to move the program forward and credited Moglia with further preparing him for this opportunity in the last couple years.

“In the two years that I’ve been here, to be able to learn under Coach Moglia is something you couldn’t put a price tag on,” Chadwell said.

And he’ll still have Moglia in his corner — unless, of course, a particular NFL team comes calling.

“I’m still here. I’m still on campus,” Moglia said. “I’m still very much a part of our university and very much a part of our football program.”

Staff writer Alan Blondin contributed to this report.

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David Wetzel serves in both editor and reporter roles for The Sun News. An award-winning journalist, he has reported on all types of news, sports and features stories in over a decade as a member of the staff. Wetzel has won awards for sports column, feature and headline writing.