My rants and insight into Colgate athletics and Patriot League sports

Monday, December 19, 2005

The Big News from Bethlehem

In case you've been under a I-AA rock, Pete Lembo, formerly head coach at Lehigh, takes the head coaching job at Elon.

Unless you're a I-AA diehard, you might find yourself repeating that name: Elon. Elon? Elon?!?!?!?

The short and sweet: it's a Southern Conference school in North Carolina with scholarships and fairly good academics. Want more detail? It's not been a good program of late and is coming off back to back three win seasons.

Why would Lembo take it? I think there are plenty of reasons from money (I bet it was a raise), different expectations (no one is going to be calling for his job with 8 win seasons), different challenges (it's the SoCon folks) and different advantages (scholarships and lower academic hurdles). The only real head scratcher is leaving a premier winner like Lehigh for a struggling program like Elon. Lembo is young; so if he turns this one around he's going to be going places I bet.

So what does Lehigh do? I think they've got about 3 weeks to get a coach announced or recruiting takes a hit. It might even be less than that. I bet the Mountain Hawks have moved fairly quickly on Dave Cecchini, offensive coordinator at Harvard and former Engineer All-American. Cecchini is young too (34) but he's got the resume and the Lehigh connection. There are other possibilities, most of them already floated by Lehigh Football Nation, but I'll also add newly hired defensive coordinator for The Citadel Isaac Collins. Collins was the defensive coordinator for Holy Cross in 2004 after leaving Lehigh with Tom Gilmore. He left the Crusaders (for reasons unknown) and turned up at Delaware this year. Former Lehigh head coach and current Citadel coach Kevin Higgins thought enough of Collins to hire him last week. Perhaps he'd be interested in a head job? It's risky since he's only been a coordinator for one season, but he might be on the list.

I'll also add a name that will make Leopard fans cringe: Bob Heffner. Heffner is across the valley at Lafayette as the offensive coordinator. Word is that Heffner has turned down a move up (most recently to Illinois last year) because of family concerns. A head coach job at a Patriot League school that did not require a family move just might make that Lehigh/Lafayette hatred dissipate.

It will be an interesting few weeks ahead and an interesting season in 2006 with both Fordham and now Lehigh dealing with new coaching staffs. More to come!


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