The press conference was reviewed by the local media (and AP as well), and there's nothing but gushing praise from all corners. The Brown & White hasn't checked in yet, but we'll forgive them - after all, it's still winter break.
The jury is in, and Lehigh Nation seems extremely excited. Lehigh Dean of Athletics Joe Sterrett ('76) seems to have made an outstanding choice.
There's still a lot of intrigue left. Coach Coen will need to fill out his staff - part of that is deciding who on the current staff stays or goes - and we'll have to see the all-important "class of 2010" announcement, coming up in only a couple of months. For now, though, here's your press roundup and your press digest.
(Oh yeah, I also need to summarize 2005 too.)
Allentown Morning Call:
Andy Coen Is Named Lehigh Football Coach
Groller: Coen Hopes To Make Football Fun
Mountain Hawks Pick a Familiar Face
Sokoloski: Coen is the right choice to lead Lehigh
From the moment that Pete Lembo's departure for Elon was announced on Dec. 19 — and even before it — many Lehigh University football fans and alumni clamored for the return of Kevin Higgins to South Mountain.
Those fans and alums didn't get their wish, but they may have gotten the next best thing on Tuesday.
"I was looking for fit for this institution and leadership," Sterrett said. "Some people may believe in this institution and may be comfortable here, but may lack leadership. Other people may be leaders, but may not have the same values, structure, experiences that fit this institution. So, those two things need to work together to be a successful coach here and Andy offers that to us."
"The thing that impressed me the most when he was here originally was how hard our kids played for him and how they felt about him," athletic director Joe Sterrett said. "Kids like playing for him, and have great enthusiasm playing for him."
Sterrett is banking on that likability factor translating into big wins and titles, because at Lehigh, that's important as well.
"This is a great place with wonderful pride and tradition," Coen said. ''I'm humbled to now have that responsibility to carry on that tradition... When I left [Lehigh], it was a very, very hard decision," Coen said. "I thought, at the time, for some personal and professional reasons, it was a good opportunity to go to Penn. But all along, I have been preparing myself to be a head coach and the opportunity to come back to Lehigh is wonderful."
"It is my hope that when you see a Lehigh team, the phrases you throw out will be 'well-coached, and mentally and physically tough,'" Coen said. "I pride myself on what I've accomplished as an offensive coordinator at Lehigh and Penn, and we've been very creative and innovative.
"My sincere hope is that we will have an environment in which the players will have the best experience of their lives and they will have a lot of fun playing college football," Coen said. "I look back at my own career and it was the best time of my life. My sincere hope is for every player that's in the program right now to look back at their time at Lehigh under Andy Coen and feel the same way.
"It's also my message to our incoming recruits. I'll tell them that if they come here, they will get a great education, win a lot of football games and they will look back at their time spent as one of the most positive things that will ever happen in their life."
"But I steadfastly believe that football is still a game of blocking and tackling, first and foremost, and we've got to be good at those things. We've got to be fundamentally sound and, hopefully, we'll excite the crowd with some of the things we do. But we'll never lose sight of the fact that football is a physical game."
"The challenges are many," Coen said. Then he squared his jaw and said, "but I know I'm up to every one of them."
Later, after he was finished speaking to a crowd that included a lot of alumni and boosters, he was talking about winning championships, not getting in position to play for them near the end of the regular season.
"Those are the expectations," Coen said. "That's the way it has been every year."
Phil Stambaugh, the former Pius X star who became a record-setting quarterback for Lehigh under Coen's tutelege: "I had a very good relationship with Coach Coen. We were successful, too. He's an approachable coach. And he's firm when he talks to you. For him to be back and be part of the family again, I'm excited. Nothing against Coach Lembo but having Coach Coen come back to Lehigh is something I was hoping to see."
"Sedale Threatt will benefit the most from this," said Cody Fedorcha, a star receiver under Coen at Lehigh in the 1990s. "He (Coen) is an Xs and Os guy. He'll find a way to utilize all of his (Threatt's) talents. He (Coen) is just an infectious person to be around. He's going to win games. He's going to bring his own personality to this program. I think it's going to be a lot different than what we've seen.
"He's a genius on offense," Fedorcha said. "He and Coach Cecchini could find any holes in defenses. Look at his points on the first drive of the game. He's got a high level of success on those scripted plays. His second-half adjustments are definitely solid. He's a great recruiter. He's a disciplinarian but he never makes you feel like you're being disciplined. You just conform to his philosophy."