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Football Coaching Staff
Al Bagnoli
Patricia and Shepard Alexander Head Coach of Football
Coach Info:
Position: Patricia and Shepard Alexander Head Coach of Football
Phone: 212-854-7062
Email: football@columbia.edu

Al Bagnoli, a nine-time Ivy League Football Champion and one of the all-time winningest head coaches in NCAA Football Championship Subdivision history, was named Columbia’s Patricia and Shepard Alexander Head Coach of Football on February 23, 2015.

Bagnoli came to Columbia after 23 years at the University of Pennsylvania, where he totaled a 148-80 overall record and 112-49 record in the Ivy League. His Penn teams won nine Ivy League Championships, including six undefeated conference marks (1993, 1994, 2002, 2003, 2009, 2010) and three perfect seasons (10-0 in 1993 and 2003, 9-0 in 1994).

“Al Bagnoli is one of the most successful coaches to ever work in the Ivy League," said Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Peter Pilling. "He is a proven winner whose record speaks for itself -- and who teaches his student-athletes to win on the field, in the classroom and in life. We are thrilled that he has decided to commit his widely admired leadership to building the long-term success of Columbia Football.”

Bagnoli made an immediate impact in his first year at the helm, guiding Columbia to a win over Wagner and breaking the programs 24-game losing streak. The 2015 Lions had eight representatives on the All-Ivy League team, while Columbia also saw a win at Yale.  

Between 2009-2012, Penn won three of four Ivy League titles outright – a feat which had not been accomplished since 1977-80, but Bagnoli has done twice since 2000. He is the only coach in Ivy League history to win back-to-back undefeated Ivy League titles and he has done so three separate times.

“It is with great appreciation and excitement that I begin a new chapter in my coaching life at Columbia,” said Bagnoli. “I am very grateful to have been chosen to represent one of our nation's premier academic institutions that is also committed to excellence in athletics. I eagerly await the opportunity to work alongside a talented group of student athletes, a passionate alumni base and a dedicated university administration.”

In 34 years as a head coach, Bagnoli currently stands at 236-107. His career winning percentage (68.8%) is third among active FCS coaches.

During his tenure at Penn, Bagnoli built winning records against all seven Ivy League teams. He has coached more than 186 All-Ivy League players, including seven first-team All-Americans, four NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship winners, two Ivy League Rookie of the Year, five Asa A. Bushnell Cup winners as the Ivy League’s Most Valuable Player, three players drafted to the National Football League and 14 NFL free agents.

Bagnoli won his 100th game at Penn at the start of the 2006 season with the Quakers knocking off No. 22 Lafayette on the road in the season opener. In the final week of the 2008 campaign, the Quakers captured the 200th career win in Bagnoli’s illustrious career. There have been only five other FCS coaches in NCAA history to have accomplished that feat.

The 2010 season did not just mark another championship year, but also another undefeated season for the Quakers under Bagnoli. For the third time in his tenure, Penn had back-to-back undefeated Ivy seasons, going unbeaten in 2009 as well. No other coach in Ivy history has ever led a team to back-to-back perfect seasons in League play, while Bagnoli has done so three times.

Penn set an NCAA record with an even more impressive streak that carried Bagnoli and the Quakers through nearly three seasons. The program won 24 consecutive games between 1993-95, the longest winning streak in in FCS history, en route to winning back-to-back undefeated Ivy titles in 1993 and 1994.

Bagnoli's Quakers own the three longest Ivy winning streaks in league history, including a 20-game Ivy unbeaten streak from 2001-04 and more recently, a string of 18 straight Ivy wins from 2008-2011. 

Bagnoli was introduced as the 21st head coach Penn in January of 1992. His mission was to restore the pride of a program that, despite winning six Ivy banners in 10 seasons, had slipped with three consecutive losing campaigns.

Prior to his time at Penn, Bagnoli was the head coach of Union College in Schenectady, New York, where he amassed an 86-19 overall record in 10 seasons.

Bagnoli made his collegiate head coaching debut at Union College in 1982, guiding the Dutchmen to their first winning season in 12 years with an 8-1 record. The following season, Bagnoli guided the program to an NCAA Division III title-game appearance and a 10-2 record, garnering East Region Coach of the Year honors.

The Dutchmen were named the ECAC’s Team of the Year for the 1983 campaign. Union reached the NCAA playoffs six times and posted 10-consecutive winning seasons during Bagnoli’s tenure in Schenectady. In 1989, Bagnoli guided the Dutchmen to the program’s greatest season ever, rolling to a 10-0 regular-season record and three-straight NCAA playoff victories en route to the NCAA Division III National Championship game (Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl). Two years later, Bagnoli received the Eastman Kodak Award as the American Football Coaches Association Region I Coach of the Year.

Before being named head coach of the Dutchmen, Bagnoli served as Union’s defensive coordinator from 1978-82. Bagnoli is a two-time recipient (1993 and 1994) of the Scotty Whitelaw Award as the Division I-AA Coach of the Year, voted by the Metropolitan New York Football Writers Association.

While at Union, Bagnoli’s 1991 team had the nation’s top scoring offense, averaging 46.1 points per game, while his 1984 squad boasted the top defense, allowing a measly 4.6 points per game.

Bagnoli is a member of the FCS rules committee for the AFCA. In 1989, he was the selection chairman of the Albany Chapter of the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame, which he established. From 1987 to 1991, Bagnoli served as a panel member of the New York State Task Force on Athletics. In addition, Bagnoli was also the Eastern Regional Chairperson for the NCAA Division III All-America teams from 1984 to 1986.

Bagnoli’s coaching career began while he was pursuing his master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Albany. He served as a graduate assistant coach for one season before becoming Albany’s defensive coordinator from 1976-77.

Bagnoli earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education and history from Central Connecticut State in 1975. During his undergrad years, he played three seasons of varsity football. Central Connecticut State’s record during that span was 23-5.

Bagnoli and his wife, Maryellen, reside in Mt. Laurel, N.J. Their oldest son, Jeff, graduated in 2003 from Penn’s College of Arts and Sciences at Penn, while youngest son Greg graduated from the Penn in the spring of 2005. Both lettered and served as captains for the sprint football team with the Quakers, and also played on the club ice hockey team. Jeff was a member of the Penn’s 2000 undefeated sprint football championship team, while both won a title on the club hockey team in 2002. Bagnoli’s daughter, Amanda, graduated from Penn in 2008 and was a member of the Quakers’ cheerleading team.