News

Harvard Law School Makes Online Zero-L Course Free for All U.S. Law Schools Due to Coronavirus

News

For Kennedy School Fellows, Epstein-Linked Donors Present a Moral Dilemma

News

Tenants Grapple with High Rents and Local Turnover at Asana-Owned Properties

News

In April, Theft Surged as Cambridge Residents Stayed at Home

News

The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained

Learning to lose

By John D. Solomon

Yale alumni treasurer B. Patrick Madden, a member of the undefeated 1969 Bulldog squad, doesn't think any we should have to endure a 1-8 season. "But if you have to go through it with anyone. Carm Cozza would be the best choice," he says.

The only one not getting a finger pointed at him during Yale's worst season ever is the 53-year-old coach, who has compiled a 119-52-3 record in 18 years at the Eli helm.

"He will be here for as long as he wants," Yale Athletic Director Frank Ryan says, adding. "It wouldn't be football without Carm Cozza."

Even the players accept the burden of their losing ways. "We know the kind of teams he has had and the kind of man he is," a starter says, adding. "A lot of us feel bad for the way we're playing because we know it's very tough on him."

With eight Ivy League championships, the sixth-best winning percentage among active college coaches, and the 1981 Coach of the Year award, Cozza instills respect among his charges.

"When you walk into that office as a recruit and you see all those trophies and plaques, you know this guy is successful," says another player.

But in the last couple of years with 4-6 and 1-8 campaigns, things are no longer so rosy in New Haven. As the fortunes of the Blue have declined, alumni criticism has increased. "There have been a lot of had things going on here," says one player.

But the heat has been put on Athletic Director Frank Ryan, not on Cozza.

Most charges of "bad things" have centered around Ryan, a former Cleveland Browns standout quarter back. Alumni charge that he has deemphasized the football program, leading to the disastrous last two years.

"It is my sense that they [the Athletic Department] have been on a program of emphasizing a broader range of sports which has led to taking resources from football," Madden says.

Members of the football alumni group called the Y. Association, have also charged that Ryan, with the blessing of President A. Bartlett Giamatti, has reduced the number of football players that the admissions of fice will accept.

Ryan fends off the criticism, arguing that the team has been a victim of injuries, bad luck, and off recruiting years. "The charge of deemphasization is ludicrous," he says. "There's a lot of frustration over the performance of a perennial winner and with it there is a lot of misinformation over the way the football program has been run."

Giamatti has stayed somewhat in the background throughout the fall, refusing to comment publicly on the controversy involving Ryan. But some alumni believe that the athletic director is simply carrying out his boss's wishes.

In a widely publicized 1980 speech, Giamatti called for a deemphasis on sports in the Ivy League with fewer football recruits admitted and a smaller number of full-time football assistant coaches.

Although Ryan claims that the football budget has not been cut, the administration in recent years has forced all of Cozza's assistants to take additional departmental responsibilities. Some believe this has hampered recruiting. By comparison, four of Harvard Coach Joe Restic's assistants concentrate on the gridiron full-time.

However, Cozza has refused to criticize Ryan and Giamatti publicly, saying repeatedly that he has no problems with the way the administration has treated the football program.

"This whole thing has been absolutely blown out of proportion," he says, adding that he expects the team to rebound in the next couple of years.

"It's been a tough struggle, but most gratifying is the attitude of the players, he says. "They never miss practice and work very hard. In fact, I think we're probably trying too hard."

But while Cozza keeps a very calm outward-presense, the fall has apparently been very tough on him. "This has been a dismal season for him. It sing," says Ryan. "He's not used to these situation so it's not as if he knows how to do this."

Another player, who requested anonymity there was no question that "Dome" (a team nickname for the bald coach) was upset with mandated philosophical shifts in his football program.

"He tries to keep it close to the belt, but it's kind of obvious there is not a heck of a lot of love between Carm and the administrators," he says. Little things- like the team's shower room lacking soap early in the season have magnified and gained political overtones.

Soap or no soap, what remains to be a quick turnaround next year in Yale's record might silence all the criticism that has surfaced this year.

Cozza says he hopes so and adds that two successful freshman squads in a row should brighten the future.

But for now Cozza, who has interviewed for college positions in the past, seems willing to stay at Yale. Says long-time offensive coordinator Seb LaSpina. "I think he's committed to stay. I think he's found a home he likes."

Cozza says he hopes so and adds that two successful freshman squads in a row should brighten the future.

But for now Cozza, who has interviewed for college positions in the past, seems willing to stay at Yale. Says long-time offensive coordinator Seb LaSpina. "I think he's committed to stay. I think he's found a home he likes."

Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.

Tags