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Columbia coach quits amidst reports of abusive behavior - New York Daily News

New York Daily NewsColumbia coach quits amidst reports of abusive behaviorNew York Daily NewsPete Mangurian, under fire for allegedly abusive behavior and his team's 21-game losing streak, resigned Friday as the head coach of Columbia University's football program. Mangurian's resignation comes days after 25 players sent a letter – since withdrawn ...Columbia University Football Coach Pete Mangurian ResignsCBS LocalColumbia coach Mangurian resignsFox NewsColumbia coach resigns; school reviews allegationsMiamiHerald.comall 56 news articles »
Pete Mangurian, a former NFL assistant coach, is out as head coach at Columbia.Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images Pete Mangurian, a former NFL assistant coach, is out as head coach at Columbia.

Pete Mangurian, under fire for allegedly abusive behavior and his team’s 21-game losing streak, resigned Friday as the head coach of Columbia University’s football program.

Mangurian’s resignation comes days after 25 players sent a letter – since withdrawn - to Columbia president Lee Bollinger and other university officials that accused Mangurian of pressuring players to remain on the field after suffering concussions.

“I have accepted Pete Mangurian’s resignation because we have all come to the conclusion that it would be in the best interests of Columbia athletics,” Bollinger said in a statement. Under (athletic director) Dianne Murphy, Columbia teams have built a new winning tradition across our men’s and women’s sports and we expect no less of our football program. We are committed to providing our dedicated student athletes with the best possible opportunities to succeed both on and off the field.”

The players’ letter also accused Mangurian of physically abusive behavior, creating divisions between older and younger players, alienating injured athletes and imposing drastic and unrealistic weight regimens, the Columbia Spectator reported.

"Pete Mangurian has consistently denied the diagnoses of concussions," the letter said. "There are several players who will speak to the fact that Mangurian told them to return to practice, that they are faking their concussions, and that they are being soft if they sit out for their concussion injury."

The campus newspaper also said that Mangurian, whose team has lost 21 straight games, was particularly abusive after the team's 42-7 loss at Albany earlier this season. "You are terrible (expletive) people," Mangurian told his players, according to the report. "The world would be a better place without you."

The letter, sent to Bollinger, board of trustees chairman Jonathan Schiller and former chairman Bill Campbell, adds fuel to calls by alumni for the school to fire Mangurian, whose team is 3-27 in his three seasons as head coach.

The Spectator said the letter has since been withdrawn and requests for comment from players have been declined. But Mangurian's football program, which has gone 0-10 in each of the past two seasons, remains in disarray. Bollinger announced last month that former college coach and athletic director Rick Taylor would be brought in as a consultant to help fix the program.

“We will now look forward to completing consultant Rick Taylor’s expert review of our football operations that will help us chart a new direction under a new coach,” Bollinger said.

Columbia's losing streak in football has reached 21 games and counting. Neil Miller /for New York Daily News Columbia's losing streak in football has reached 21 games and counting.

Mangurian, like previous coaches, faced several issues that make the Columbia job difficult. Columbia’s practice facility is in Inwood, 100 blocks north of the campus. Mangurian, who lived in university housing by the gate to campus on 116th St., met his players at 8 a.m. by the Miller Theatre. The team would then file onto two coach buses to travel to the Robert Kraft Field. Mangurian worked in a new-age facility while his team lifted weights in one building and changed in the locker room next door.

His players’ time constraints chafed at Mangurian, who worked under New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick. Mangurian kept Belichick’s favorite phrase, “It is what it is,” prominently placed in his second-floor office.

Mangurian’s future at Columbia also became clouded after quarterback Brett Nottingham, once a highly touted prospect who transferred from Stanford, resigned from the team in October.

The coach flew to California in December 2012 to recruit the Nottingham, a backup to then-Stanford starter Andrew Luck, and got his prized commitment quickly. Nottingham could not practice that spring due to transfer rules but then was given the reins immediately as he was the best prospect on the roster.

But Nottingham’s season was done when he broke his wrist in the season opener against Fordham. Asked whether Nottingham was injured afterward, Mangurian said, “He’s fine. He’s fine.”

Nottingham, however, was not fine. He spent the night in the hospital, and was operated on for three hours the next morning. He suffered a schaphoid fracture; the cashew-shaped bone fragmented. There was a screw put in to hold the bones together. Columbia lost its only quarterback option and went winless for the season.

The program was also embarrassed after players posted racist and sexist comments on Twitter last year, following the arrest of a player accused of assaulting and threatening a student with racial slurs. 

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