He's Back: Coach Moglia returns to Coastal Carolina sideline
By PETE IACOBELLI
CONWAY, S.C. (AP) Coastal Carolina coach Joe Moglia doesn't see what all the fuss is about.
For the Chants, though, it's hard to contain their excitement about having Moglia back in charge after he missed last season because of health problems.
"I think the whole team's morale is high right now," quarterback Kilton Anderson said. "We have coach Moglia back."
Moglia, in his seventh year coaching the Chanticleers, stepped away last July at arguably the biggest time in the 15-year program's history - Coastal Carolina was prepared for its first season in the FBS Sun Belt Conference.
The coach had dealt with a bronchial asthmatic reaction to allergies for several years but it had manifested itself and was mold growing in his lungs. It was something, without treatment, that could have impaired the 69-year-old Moglia for quite some time.
"I wasn't dead. I wasn't dying," Moglia said. "But I could have had a very serious breathing problem for years."
Moglia, the successful former CEO of Fortune 500 company TD Ameritrade, made a calculated decision to take time off. He believes the decision will help him long-term when the Chanticleers are routinely competing for bowl bids.
"When you make those types of decisions, there's always a cost," he said.
For Coastal Carolina, it was a struggling, 3-9 season that was the team's first losing year in Moglia's tenure.
Moglia got the medical OK to return in January and has since thrown himself into improving the Chants' fortunes in the FBS.
Moglia talked and texted with his assistants last year to keep tabs on the team. What he found was a typically buttoned-down team that made too many mistakes on defense and special teams against the increased competition.
"We had like a gazillion missed tackles" last year, he said. "That can't continue."
The players missed having Moglia around last year , so much they requested he come in to talk with them about troubling current events, including the fatal protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, and North Korean leader Kim Jung-un.
Moglia started his career as a football coach in high school and as defensive coordinator at Lafayette and Dartmouth before leaving in 1983 to work on Wall Street.
He spent 17 years at Merrill Lynch before taking the CEO job at Ameritrade Holding Corp., now TD Ameritrade.
In 2008, football called Moglia once more and he joined Bo Pelini's staff at Nebraska as an unpaid assistant. After a stint with the defunct United Football League, Moglia came to Coastal Carolina and turned it into an FCS powerhouse the next four years: three Big South Conference titles, four consecutive trips to the NCAA playoffs and a 41-13 records.
Moglia was anxious to get the Chants off on the right foot in their new Sun Belt home last year until he thought it was best in the long term to get healthy.
Anderson spent two years at Fresno State before crossing the country to join Moglia's program. Moglia is a straight-talking leader who lets players know where they stand, Anderson said.
He said Moglia's attention to detail has paid dividends in helping Coastal Carolina clean up the mistakes that cost it a year ago. "It's good to get those things out or the way," he said.
Moglia is constantly asked what taking time off taught him. It's a question he doesn't fully understand. He made a choice that should, he believes, improve his job for years to come. Much like the decisions he made in the financial world to keep his ventures going strong.
"It's not a new look on life for me," he said. "It's simply the way I look at things.
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Updated August 20, 2018