"Billionaire coach" at Coastal Carolina proves critics wrong with playoff bid

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COLUMBIA — Coastal Carolina coach Joe Moglia increased the stock value of a company from $700 million to $10 billion in seven years. So he doesn’t think anyone should be surprised he could get the Football Championship Subdivision Chanticleers to the playoffs in his first year.

First-year Coastal Carolina coach Joe Moglia, whose background was more on Wall Street than in coaching, has a playoff team.  FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
First-year Coastal Carolina coach Joe Moglia, whose background was more on Wall Street than in coaching, has a playoff team.

Plenty of people questioned Coastal Carolina when the school hired the man nicknamed the “Billionaire Coach.” Moglia coached a bit in high school and was an Ivy League assistant before heading into the business world in 1984.

After nearly two decades as a stock broker that were wildly successful, Moglia’s recent coaching resume included only two years as an unpaid executive adviser at Nebraska and a 1-4 record in 2011 as head coach of the UFL’s Omaha Nighthawks.

But Moglia sold the school on a simple idea – that putting together a successful business or a successful football team isn’t all that different.

“When I became a leader in the business world, I was a far better business leader because of my experience as a coach. I think frankly I am a better head coach at the college level because of my experience as a business leader,” said Moglia, who is best known for a 500 percent return as CEO of TD Ameritrade from 2001-08.

Coastal Carolina (7-4) won a share of the Big South Conference title and an automatic bid to the playoffs on a tiebreaker.

The Chanticleers will be on the road Saturday for an opening-round game against Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champion Bethune-Cookman (9-2).

It is the third playoff bid in Coastal Carolina’s 10 years of football, and it came as a bit of a surprise. Moglia took over for the man who got the program off the ground, David Bennett. His teams had hovered around .500 for the past five years, and fans braced for a tough season as Moglia put his coaches and his ideas in place.

The Chanticleers started the season 2-4.

But one of those losses was to Toledo, and two came to other teams that made the FCS playoffs.

The bye week was during the losing streak, and Moglia said he changed some of what he was doing. Coastal Carolina finished the season winning its last five games and got some help when Liberty beat the best team in the Big South, Stony Brook.

All three teams finished with a 5-1 record in the conference, and the automatic playoff bid went to the fourth tiebreaker, away victories, which the Chanticleers won because they swept their three road games.

“We really could have given up. But it was a great job by the coaches and the whole staff – everyone at Coastal Carolina – to keep us pushing,” said former Strom Thurmond High quarterback Aramis Hillary, a senior transfer from South Carolina.

“The ability to be able to put together a program or an organization and lay that foundation is something I’ve really been doing for the past 25 years of my life,” Moglia said.


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