In surprise, Bagnoli named Columbia football coach

New York, NY ( - During his 23 seasons guiding Penn's football program, no head coach won more Ivy League championships than Al Bagnoli.

He will now try to lift a Columbia program whose only Ivy title occurred in 1961.

Bagnoli was named Columbia's new head coach Monday, coming as a surprise after the 62-year-old retired from coaching following Penn's 2014 campaign.

"It is with great appreciation and excitement that I begin a new chapter in my coaching life at Columbia," Bagnoli said. "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."

Columbia has historically had one of the worst programs in Division I and the Lions have lost 21 straight games since 2012. Pete Mangurian compiled a 3-27 record as head coach over the last three seasons, but he was fired in December amid player claims of abuse within the program.

The hiring of Bagnoli brings a renewed sense of optimism to the Lions' program. He posted a 148-80 record with nine Ivy League titles at Penn, although his final two teams slumped to a combined 6-14 mark. He has a 234-99 overall record, including 86-19 in 10 seasons at Division III Union.

Bagnoli's 112 wins in Ivy games are the second-most in league history behind former Yale coach Carm Cozza.

Bagnoli will be introduced at a news conference on campus Tuesday.

Columbia will host Penn on Oct. 17. Bagnoli's long-time assistant coach, Ray Priore, succeeded him as head coach.