Coastal Carolina

‘I’ve never gone back on my word’: Moglia details why he resigned as CCU football coach

Joe Moglia came to Coastal Carolina as a somewhat controversial hire who coached football in his own unique way.

So it should be no surprise that his resignation from the head football coaching position and his reasoning for it were a bit unconventional as well.

Most coaches – most people for that matter – continue working a job until they determine that it’s no longer what’s best for them.

Moglia said his resignation was in part because of his interests, but was perhaps more in the best interest of the CCU football program and his successor.

Coastal president David DeCenzo’s announcement that he would be stepping down in 2021, with a president-elect working alongside him for approximately a year beforehand, triggered Moglia’s decision to resign.

Moglia’s contract was extended through the 2020 season in September 2017, but he resigned in January, handing the reins to offensive coordinator and associate head coach Jamey Chadwell.

Moglia hired Chadwell in January 2017 with a gentleman’s agreement that the former Charleston Southern head coach would be his successor, and he wanted to fulfill that promise before a new president-elect was in place.

“In my heart, I wanted to continue coaching. Would I have liked to coach those two years? Yes,” Moglia said. “But when you need to make a really important decision you always step back and make it intellectually. . . . I’m a really passionate guy, I’m an emotional guy, I’m all those things. But when I have to make a decision I make that with my intellect and I think it through.

“. . . Did I make the right decision for me and our university and Jamey? Yes.”

Moglia said DeCenzo, who hired him in December 2011 despite little coaching experience over the previous three decades, was agreeable to the promise to Chadwell, but Moglia feared an incoming president would want a clean slate to bring in a coach they preferred.

“Any time you bring in a new president, he or she has the right to have the people around him or her that they really want,” Moglia said. “. . . In which case, in my head I would not have the control then in terms of who is going to succeed me, and I gave Jamey my word that was going to be the case barring something unforeseen.

“So if I waited a year I may not have that ability, and frankly I did not want to look in the mirror a year from now and something like that happen and I’m not able to deliver on my word. For five decades I’ve been wrong plenty of times, but I’ve never gone back on my word, and now is not the time for that to happen.”

Moglia was a high school and college coach from 1968-83 before spending 25 years in the business world, rising to chief executive officer of TD Ameritrade, for which he remains chairman of the board. He returned to coaching as a volunteer for coach Bo Pelini at Nebraska in 2009-10 and was president and head coach of the United Football League’s Omaha Nighthawks for a season in 2011 before being hired by CCU.

Moglia said he has made a priority of having input into his successors in both football and business.

“One of the things I think about very seriously, and frankly I don’t know how many other coaches do, I have been fortunate enough in my entire career – football or business – that I’ve normally been able to name my successor,” Moglia said. “I feel you are not just setting up something for now or the season, you’re setting up a program that is supposed to last, and who succeeds you is a very critical part of that.

“So I have a lot of confidence in Jamey, that’s the reason why I brought him here. I knew barring something crazy or unforeseen he would ultimately succeed me.”

Moglia said he wanted Chadwell to have the opportunity to shape the program as it was still growing into the FBS level. The Chants are entering their third season in the Sun Belt Conference and are still catching up to the 85 scholarships afforded to FBS programs.

“I couldn’t imagine somebody that would be a better successor to me than Jamey,” Moglia said. “He worked hard, he’s doing a good job and I think he’s one hell of a coach. I believe in the guy. I think he’s a really good man, I think he’s a good coach, I think he cares about the kids.”

Moglia became self-reflective around the Christmas holiday regarding the completion of his 25th season as a coach and the 25 years he spent in the business world. He reflected on having worked since he was 10 years old, turning 70 in April, the success of the CCU program and its direction, and his two national coaching awards – the Eddie Robinson FCS National Coach of the Year in 2015 and Lombardi Award in 2017.

“It wasn’t like there were a whole lot of other things I would have been able to do [in coaching],” said Moglia, who went 56-22 in his six seasons as CCU head coach. “It would have been big to win a bowl game and that type of thing. I think you can hang on because it gives you something else you want to do but I don’t think that way.”

Moglia is in his eighth year at CCU. He took a medical sabbatical during the 2017 season to treat an infection in his lungs and said he now feels good about his health, and that it wasn’t a factor in his decision to step down.

The announcement of Moglia’s resignation came quickly after his decision. He said he made a decision on a Wednesday, told DeCenzo on Thursday and Chadwell was called in from recruiting on the road for a press conference on Friday. Moglia said the expeditiousness allowed Chadwell to immediately begin duties such as staff decisions and recruiting as the head coach.

“Once I decided this is the way I want to go . . . we decided, ‘Bang, let’s go with it,’ ” Moglia said. “The worst thing that could happen was to drag it out.”

Moglia retains positions at CCU. He is chairman of athletics, executive director of football and an executive advisor to CCU’s president.

He oversees football operations, so Chadwell reports directly to him and Moglia reports to the president, though he said he communicates regularly with athletic director Matt Hogue.

Since stepping down as head coach, Moglia said he drafted both Chadwell’s new four-year contract and the contracts of his assistants, with input from DeCenzo. “I want them clear, I want them transparent,” Moglia said.

He is also working on the financial processes in the athletic department with Hogue. “The philosophies within athletics relative to the rest of the university can be improved. The way we approach our financials can be improved,” Moglia said.

He has also been freed to spend more time on TD Ameritrade commitments: “TD Ameritrade has a lot of exciting things going on so I’m paying a little bit more attention to that than I would if I were coaching,” Moglia said.

Moglia said he plans to write a third book, this one on leadership featuring the Be A Man (BAM) policy he enacted at CCU to join his books on football and investments. He also wants to work on his own investment portfolio, dedicate a sufficient amount of time to fitness, diet and sleep for his health, and spend more time with his six children/stepchildren and nine grandchildren.

Aside from his TD Ameritrade commitments, Moglia said he’s not sure what his next professional move will be. “I have not thought about what I may want to do yet, but I know there will be other things I’ll want to do in my life,” he said.

Moglia intends to remain a resident of Myrtle Beach. “I like the people here. I like Myrtle Beach. I consider it home now. Why would I want to leave?” Moglia said.