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Lehigh's New Head Coach Is... Andy Coen!

Hope your money was on Andy Coen and 5:1 odds!

The decision was in this morning, and... it's Andy Coen, former offensive coordinator at Penn! There's no doubt in my mind that he's an excellent choice for head coach, and I'm already excited for spring football to start!

We are getting a guy that was the one of the architects of the more dominating Lehigh offenses under head coach Kevin Higgins in the mid-to-late '90s. Beloved by former offensive players and an emotional leader, coach Coen boasts a truckload of experience with both the Patriot League and the grant-in-aid scholarship environments.

While at Lehigh, he was the offensive line coach in 1994 and 1995, and went on to become Lehigh's offensive coordinator from 1996 to 1999. He coached future NFL RB Rabih Abdullah ('97), RB Ron Jean ('99), WR Brian Baker('97), WR Brett Snyder ('00), and QB Phil Stambaugh ('00). When you look down the rushing and passing milestones, you see these names over and over again. Coach Coen is the guy who headed the system to make them excel.

At Penn he didn't stop there. He coached the Quakers' all-time leading rusher (Kris Ryan - 3,181 yards), passer (Gavin Hoffman - 7,542 yards) and receiver (Rob Milanese - 3,409 yards). His teams scored piles of points - in 2002, Penn's offense averaged 43 points per game. His offenses were instumental in the three Ivy titles they won during that time.

As a part of Penn's coaching staff, he recruited New Jersey, Georgia, and Florida. Penn's leading rusher in 2005, junior RB Joe Sandberg, was undoubtedly recruited by coach Coen, and this year three linemen were named all-Ivy second team and all-Ivy honorable mention. He knows the importance of recruiting nationally and it's likely we won't skip a beat recruiting.

I saw Penn play last year against Yale, and coach Coen's defense simply was in a different universe than Yale's defense, as they cruised to a 38-21 victory that could easily had been greater had they chose (Yale scored all three TDs against Penn's "B" defense). If the offense I saw that day is any indication about what coach Coen can deliver for us on offense, I'll be one happy camper.

Finally, check this resume out:

1998, Lehigh OC: 12-1, Patriot Champions, Playoffs 2nd r
1999, Lehigh OC: 10-2, Patriot Champions, Playoffs 1st r
2000, Penn OC: 7-3, Ivy Champions
2001: Penn OC: 8-1
2002: Penn OC: 9-1, Ivy Champions
2003: Penn OC: 10-0, Ivy Champions
2004: Penn OC: 8-2

5 championships and 2 I-AA playoff appearances is quite the resume!

By all early indications he seems to be really excited and eager to jump right in and to win Patriot League Championships and get back to the I-AA playoffs. He may need some time to get it all in place, but he seems like a great choice!

You'll read plenty of quotes from yesterday's press conferences in tomorrow's papers, but he says something that is worthy of repeating here:

"It will truly be 'our' program. It's not going to be Andy Coen's program, it's going to be the program of the players... and together, we will work to accomplish great things at Lehigh. I want our program to be something that the entire Lehigh community will take pride in, both in the academic community, [and] certainly our student body, but also, very importantly, I want our alumni to have a real sense of connection with our football program.

"Tradition never graduates. The great tradition of Lehigh will go on and on forever and ever... the faces will change, the guys wearing the uniforms will change, but the tradition... will continue. It's critical that our alumni realize that, and I want them to get involved with this program. I will reach out to them, [and] I certainly want them to have the sense that we want them around... [and] we want them involved.... Once you're Lehigh, you're always Lehigh."

As you may have guessed, I think we're off to a great start to 2006!

Please leave your comments here. The link to the official announcement and the archive of the press conference is here.


Anonymous said…
Looks good to me!

Everything we need, and not a thing we didn't need at this level.

My enthusiasm is back. Whew!
Ngineer said…
An excellent decision. "Dr. Joe" did a very good job with what sounded like a very deep candidate pool. This should generate a lot of excitement back into the program...While he has been called 'emotional and passionate' my sense was 'solid'. He should be a great representative for Lehigh.
Anonymous said…
The site was relaunched late this afternoon...your link to the press conference archive should be changed to

Very excited for the new coach...looking forward to a victory over Lafayette (and just about the same against every other opponent!)

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