Ivy coaches salute Bagnoli before his last season

Al Bagnoli said "it's been 22 great years" as Penn's head coach. He's retiring after this season.
Al Bagnoli said "it's been 22 great years" as Penn's head coach. He's retiring after this season. (DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer)
Posted: August 07, 2014

One by one, the Ivy League football coaches took turns praising the coaching career that Al Bagnoli has fashioned in 22 seasons at Penn.

Bagnoli will retire at the end of the season, and his counterparts paid tribute Tuesday in a conference call with reporters.

"The pleasure has been all mine," said Bagnoli, whose Quakers will open their final season under him against Jacksonville on Sept. 20. "It's been 22 great years, and hopefully we'll have a 23d great year."

The Quakers, winners of three of the last five Ivy titles, were picked to finish fourth in the league by a panel of reporters who cover the team. Penn (4-6, 3-4) finished in a tie for fourth last season.

In 32 seasons overall as a head coach, Bagnoli has won 232 games, which ranks eighth among Football Championship Subdivision coaches all-time. His career winning percentage (.718) ranks third among active FCS coaches. He has earned a school-record 146 victories at Penn.

Penn announced Bagnoli's decision in the spring, nearly a month after former athletic director Steve Bilsky was replaced by M. Grace Calhoun. Bagnoli was the only football coach during Bilsky's 20-year tenure.

On Tuesday, Bagnoli dismissed rumors that he was leaving because of the change at the top.

"We wanted to do it early enough so it didn't seem as though we were unhappy with the new AD, and as a result, that's why I announced my retirement so early," Bagnoli said. "It's something I've been thinking about the last couple of years.

"I think we all at some point in time get the feeling that we've had enough and that's it's time to move on and try something else in your career," he added. "I've had the good pleasure of being a head coach since 1982. So now I'm just trying to get the program in good shape and pass it along to [longtime assistant] Ray Priore, who we're confident will do a great job."

Preseason Poll

Results of the 2014 Ivy League football preseason media poll, with rank, total points, and first-place votes in parentheses.

Rk   School   Pts.   

1.    Princeton (9)   128   

2.   Harvard (8)   127   

3.   Dartmouth   91   

4.    Penn   79   

5.   Yale   68   

6.   Brown   65   

7.   Cornell   34   

8.   Columbia   20   

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