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Barry Fagan: Goodbye Hillsdale, Hello Naples

Wow, what a loss the Chargers are going to have to endure, just after announcing what is seemingly a very good recruiting class. As the article below states, now FORMER offensive coordinator Barry Fagan, is taking a head coaching position at Ave Maria University.

If you have never heard of AMU don’t feel apologetic — it is a Catholic university in Naples, Fla. that is just starting football and won’t field a team until 2011. Congratulations to Fagan; he is a man of high-character, phenomenal play-calling ability, especially in the red zone, and sorry Hillsdale, Naples sounds like a great retirement spot plus recruiting HAS to be easier down there.

It is an NAIA school, so not quite the D-II game, but with Fagan’s guidance I’m not going to short-change the future of the program. Send him postcards in the coming months as the snow piles up and Otterbein goes through another box of Kleenex trying to replace him.

Here’s the article, by Woody Womack of

Ave Maria University announced on Friday that it will become the first college in Southwest Florida to field a football team, with an ambitious launch date of fall 2011 for the team’s first game.

AMU announced Friday that Barry Fagan, a former Penn State football player and NCAA Division II head coach, will become the school’s first head football coach, and that the team will begin play in the fall of 2011. Fagan left his post as offensive coordinator at Division II Hillsdale (Mich.) College to accept the head coaching position at Ave Maria.

“In many respects, football helps to build character,” Ave Maria chancellor Thomas S. Monaghan said in a press release. “As a team sport, the players must learn to work together and trust each other — both on and off the field — in order to succeed. Football also teaches discipline and the importance of hard work in the pursuit of a common goal.”

Fagan is expected to begin recruiting immediately for the Gyrenes football team, which will compete in the NAIA.

“To place my footprint in the foundation of such an epic endeavor at an institution that holds spirituality, intellect and character in the highest regard, is a dream come true,” Fagan said in a press release. “I look forward to recruiting young men of honor and virtue who will represent Ave Maria University on the field of competition.”

AMU athletic director Brian Scanlan said the goal is to have 30 student athletes on the roster by the 2010 fall semester, 24 of which will be awarded scholarships. The school didn’t specify where the football teams will play its game, or whether it intends to build a football stadium on or near its campus.

“Football is much more than games and practices,” Scanlan said in a press release. “Football builds school spirit and unites the campus. It often acts as a conduit to the surrounding community and therefore is an excellent student recruiting tool. For the players, football builds camaraderie and coping skills. It is our hope that AMU’s football program will be able to do all of these things.”

Naples High football coach Bill Kramer said he’s thrilled about the decision, and guessed that Ave Maria won’t have to look far to find quality players to fill out its football roster.

“This is a great place to start recruiting,” Kramer said. “Southwest Florida is under-recruited every year and there are a bunch of kids that would like to stay home that end up leaving to go play elsewhere across the country.”

Fagan is a Penn State graduate who played for Joe Paterno from 1974-76. The former wide receiver has made coaching stops on the NCAA Division I level at Wisconsin, LSU and Miami (Ohio).

Fagan’s old boss, Hillsdale College coach Keith Otterbein, said that Fagan possesses the necessary skills — and experience — to build the Ave Maria program from the ground up.

“It’s a whole different level of commitment when the buck stops here, but he’s been there, both at the high school and college level,” Otterbein said. “He’s experienced those things. My objective as a head coach and what I’ve hopefully modeled for him is to be very direct and decisive in your communication.”

As a leader, you can’t please everybody, but whatever Barry’s vision of the football program will be, he’s got to control all the controllable factors to allow that to happen.”


About rjwalters

I am what you think I am — a journalist. Actually when I was hired at my current job, which by the way is Sports Editor of the Hillsdale Daily News in Hillsdale, Mich., I applied for a position titled "Wordsmith", so at my best I'll call myself a writer attempting to be a wordsmith extraordinaire.


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