Hofher Heads for Tar Heel Country
* Coach departs Ithaca after eight years, 47-43 record
ITHACA, N.Y. -- It looks like Jim Hofher won't mind if someone calls him a Heel.
Hofher, who had been the Cornell football coach for the past eight seasons, has accepted a job with the University of North Carolina. He will be the Tar Heels' quarterbacks coach and will also coordinate the passing game.
Hofher had been at the helm since Jan. 15, 1990 and guided the Big Red to a 47-43 overall record (33-23 Ivy).
Hofher is familiar with new Tar Heels coach Carl Torbush from when the latter coached at Louisiana Tech from 1979 to 1982. Torbush recently replaced Mack Brown as the head coach in Chapel Hill.
Brown left North Carolina after defeating Virginia Tech 42-3 in the Gator Bowl.
"I cannot express how grateful I am to Cornell for the opportunity I have for the last eight years," Hofher said.
Hofher has been a candidate for other coaching jobs, and according to some of the gridders, the announcement did not come as too great a shock.
On Saturday, Hofher called a team meeting for all returning players and told them he was going to Chapel Hill.
"I think we pretty much expected it, although it was still surprising," said freshman wide receiver Joe Splendorio.
"It was a bit out of the ordinary," said senior running back Brad Kiesendahl about the timing of the meeting. "Our program is pretty steady--you know what you get."
Hofher was the fourth head coach at Cornell since the job was endowed in 1982. Roger J. Weiss '61, a member of the University Board of Trustees, attached his name to the position in March of that year.
According to Weiss, however, he has no inside track on the decision-making process regarding the next coach, and all the moves are made by Athletic Director Charles H. Moore '51 and his department.
"I'm sure Charlie would give me an update, as he would any friend," Weiss said about Moore. "I was not prewarned about his departure. I knew after Charlie and Jimmy told me simultaneously. They knew of my interest. I have tremendous confidence in the job Charlie Moore will do.
"I expect Cornell to be extraordinarily competitive in 1998. I try to be a resource and offer help when I can. If anyone looked at the job Charlie did finding coaches, they would see he doesn't need too much help."
In an interview on Monday, Moore said Associate Athletic Directors generally handle searches for coaches, such as the one Andy Noel is leading to replace Dave Sarachan '76, who left the men's soccer program for the D.C. United of Major League Soccer in December. But, Moore said, the football program warranted his full attention.
"Football is such a big program," Moore said. "The truth of the matter is football is our most important program. It's the most important thing I have to do."
Moore said he anticipates the search lasting two to three months. He added that final player-recruiting visits would normally be done by the end of January, and those will most likely take place without anyone in the Big Red's top spot.