There is considerable panic these days in Collegeville, Minn. Perennial Division III football power St. John's has lost three times this season -- sequentially: a blowout to UW-Eau Claire, a heartbreaker at the gun to Augsburg and this past Saturday's 63-7 shellacking at rival St. Thomas. As happens when a program suddenly struggles, fans are wondering if the head coach is still up to the task. These voices tend to get louder, fair or not, when the head coach -- even a living legend like John Gagliardi -- approaches his 85th birthday (he will turn on Nov. 1). Is Gags overmatched? Here is a voice from the TV Fury web site saying "no way," as pointed out to us by a noted Johnnie alum who played under Gagliardi and goes by Local Quipster on this blog. Here is how the piece ends:
Everything you do is compared to what you’ve done, and when what you’ve done is win four national titles and more games than any coach in college history – all while utilizing the most unique coaching methods the game’s ever seen – failure is always one loss away, catastrophe three.
John Gagliardi has seemingly been around forever but it’s absurd to think he’ll coach forever. No way he’ll be on the sidelines when he celebrates his 98th birthday on November 1, 2024. But this isn’t simply about nostalgia or history or doing what’s right or letting a legend go out on his own terms – though all of those things are applicable. He remains the best coach for the Johnnies now, in 2011 and beyond, and not just because of what he’s done the previous six decades. He remains the best coach for the Johnnies because he’s still sharp and hungry, and, yes, a little arrogant, even after Saturday. He’s also in charge of a struggling team, but one that’s still a superior program. And he remains motivated. Sixty-three points won’t eradicate that motivation – it might even spark it.
The school’s not named after him, but the football program is him. It’s been an ugly season. Could get uglier. But it’s happened before – yes, it’s happened before in Collegeville. And the Johnnies always bounce back. The Johnnies are down. But John Gagliardi won’t ever be out.
Check out the entire post, if you are interested. Your thoughts, as usual, are welcome in the comments.