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Columbia Coach Calls it Quits

Garrett Steps Down After Turbulent Year

By Jeffrey A. Zucker

Columbia football Coach Jim Garrett, who earlier this season called his players "drug-addicted losers," resigned yesterday after one season.

The departure of Garrett--who never recovered from the attention that followed that early-season comment--brought to an end one of the shortest but most turbulent tenures of any Ivy League football coach.

Lured to Columbia last January as part of an effort to bolster the college's slumbering football program, Garrett had promised a 10-0 record for this year's Lion squad.

The Lions finished 0-10.

It marked the second straight year without a victory for Columbia, whose 0-10 record was the poorest by an Ivy League football team since the Ivy colleges began playing in 1869. The Lion losing streak stretched to 21 games, the longest among National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I-AA teams.

Garrett, who had two years remaining on a three-year contract, drew sharp criticism earlier this year from the Columbia administration for his postgame comments following the season-opening 49-17 loss to Harvard.

After watching his team lose a 17-0 third quarter lead by giving up seven consecutive touchdowns in just over 15 minutes, Garrett called his players "drug-addicted losers" who had been unable to deal with adversity, and blamed the loss on senior punter Peter Murphy, who the Columbia coach said would never kick for him again.

In a lengthy meeting after that game, Norman N. Mintz, Columbia's executive vice-president for academic affairs, and Al Paul, the school's athletic director, told Garrett that "his postgame comments were inappropriate" and that they didn't expect it to happen again.

Paul, who said at the time that he was "disappointed" by Garrett's performance, added that only time would tell whether the former NFL assistant coach would abide by the administration's warnings.

Garrett never again openly criticized his team, but consistently felt a need to apologize for his harsh criticism of the team.

Sources close to the team said that the need to apologize culminated in yesterday's resignation.

No Columbia officials could be reached for comment, and no word on a search for a successor was readily available.

But Paul did tell The Columbia Spectator, the campus newspaper, that Garrett's decision was based on more than just the squad's won-loss record.

"It's been a difficult year in different way than just winning and losing," Paul said.

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