Head coach Tim Pendergast had a clear vision of what his future would be. As a high school student in Syracuse, N.Y. he became obsessed by the lifestyle of a well-known coach from a rival district and immediately modeled himself after that coach.


"There was a very successful high school basketball coach in the town I lived in. He worked for Niagara Mohawk," Pendergast describes. "He wore a suit and tie to work everyday. During the basketball season, he was the coach of the basketball team.


"That's what I wanted to be: I wanted to be into business and find someone who would let me leave at three o'clock to coach basketball," he reminisced.


From an early age Pendergast saw his adulthood spent in an amalgamation of business and basketball. His goal was to be successful in both spheres: the office and the court. In doing that, he would be happy.


In his high school years, Pendergast was a multi-varsity athlete lettering at Bishop Grimes High School in football, basketball, track and lacrosse. His first love was basketball, but he also had a natural aptitude for football.


He went to SUNY Cortland, initially recruited as a quarterback but changed position to defensive back his sophomore year, feeling it was the best way to maximize his playing time while being most helpful to the team.


As far as academics, Pendergast entered his freshman year with every intention of majoring in economics and minoring in physical education. His plan lasted for three semesters as he studied GNPs and budget deficits, while taking biology and anatomy classes on the side. It was the end of his second year when he decided the suffering he was putting himself through was not worth it.


"I couldn't see myself behind a desk all day," he candidly stated. On the other hand he confessed, "I dreaded the thought of becoming a high school gym teacher, but I knew that I wanted to coach."


Left with a partially completed track in physical education and economics, Pendergast had to make a career decision and make it soon.


Then came a revelation.


"I woke up one morning and said I wanted to be a football coach," he said.


Pendergast let go of his long-time dream, of what his college education had been geared towards on a whim -- a whim that turned out to be well-founded.


Part of the decision to stick with football came from the lack of closure Pendergast felt after an unsuccessful senior year.


"We had a lousy, lousy team. we won one game. I was not going to quit on that note," Pendergast said, promising himself, "Doggone, I'm going to be a football coach."


After graduating in 1980, Pendergast headed straight into coaching. The same year he became Ithaca College's freshman defensive coordinator and assistant track coach, as he began graduate studies in physical science at I.C. He jumped over from South Hill to East Hill every consecutive year after, acting as a graduate assistant in 1981, head freshman coach in 1982 and secondary coach in 1983. He finished his studies at I.C. in 1986, and returned briefly to Cornell to help recruit in 1989.


Afterwards, Pendergast moved around the college football scene, taking the wide receiver coaching position at Northwestern in 1990. He next went to University of Maine coaching the secondary for two seasons.


In 1993 he went south to James Madison University and took on more responsibility as its defensive coordinator. He was there until 1997 when he gained a more prominent position as the University of Memphis' assistant coach and recruiting coordinator moving from secondary coach to wide receiver coach.


Last year, though, Pendergast won his first head coaching position at Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y where he steered the team to a 2-8 record.


When Pete Mangurian resigned as Cornell's head coach last winter, Pendergast was one of the first names to find its way on to Athletic Director Andy Noel's list. It wasn't long after that Pendergast, his wife and two sons were relocating to Ithaca, a town that he knows well.


Now at 43, Pendergast has assumed his most prestigious position in over 20 years of coaching.

Archived article by Amanda Angel

November 29, 2015

Test Spins: Ty Dolla $ign — Free TC

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There are two kinds of R&B sex jams: those in which the singer seems actually to like the women he sings about and those in which he doesn’t. Unfortunately, Ty Dolla $ign remains a member of the second group. This album, despite its personal touches about Ty’s family, is mostly about racking up as many bitches as possible, and that prevents Ty from ascending to the artistic heights of more inclusive, friendly singers like Frank Ocean and D’Angelo. Yet, Free TC has a lovely orchestral sound, and Ty proves a charismatic and talented singer. Though marred by weak tracks, there’s the skeleton of a great project in here.

Free TC has two themes. The first is familial sadness over the conditions of inner-city LA, and for the imprisonment of Ty’s brother Big TC. The second is Ty’s apparently action-packed sex life. At times, these sentiments are an odd match with each other. For instance, Ty follows his panoramic opener “LA” — which deals with survival in a maad city — with “Saved,” which lays out the mission statement for most of the album: “Dolla sign’ll fuck, but he won’t date her.” Eventually, the knuckle-dragging misogyny wears thin. Ty lacks the female-friendly openness and sex-positive attitude of, say, Miguel. Cuts like “Horses In The Stable,” while musically strong, are marred by their lyrics — the titular horses, of course, referring to Ty’s women, whom he “can ride any time.”

This dichotomy is perhaps best summed up by “Miracle/Whenever,” the epic eight-minute jam around which the album is built. The first half of the track is about the miracle of simply being alive in a violent city, and it features a showstopping verse recorded from jail by Ty’s imprisoned brother. Midway through, the track dramatically switches gears. It seems to ascend, built around a gospel choir and Ty’s lover-man falsetto, and returns to Ty’s favorite theme: getting busy wherever, whenever. The lyrical contradictions inherent to the album are built right into this track.

So, too, is “Miracle/Whenever” representative of the warm, complex sound that comprises the best parts of Free TC. The beats on the first half of this album layer strings, massed choral vocals, acoustic guitars and vocal samples into huge walls of sound. These tracks are mostly great. “Straight Up” moves at a languid pace, pitting Ty’s syrupy tenor against choral “la-la-las” and orchestral touches. Even better is “Solid,” in which Ty’s melody is matched by an acoustic guitar underneath. This is lovely, catchy and thoroughly listenable R&B.

Had Ty produced an entire album around this aesthetic, Free TC might have been stronger, but stylistically it’s all over the map. The second half of the album is dedicated to transparent bids for radio plays, and these songs veer from sound to sound. “Bring It Out of Me” sounds like trap-influenced EDM, and the dark Moog bassline on “When I See Ya” is a far cry from the pleasant, expansive R&B around which the album is built. These tracks are filled with features designed to maximize mass-market appeal, but Ty fails to get the most out of his guest artists. Future’s hook on “Blasé” is, for lack of a better word, stupid, and Fetty Wap, Wiz Khalifa and R. Kelly all stop by without making much of an impression. Bigger names like Kanye and Diddy are featured on “Guard Down”, but prove irrelevant at best.

Free TC has the feel of a project to which more and more was added until its original intent was compromised. Ty’s take on the prison-industrial complex comes from a personal and emotionally effective place, and despite the lyrics his sex jams are melodic and well-written. But the radio singles on this album sound unlike the tracks on the first side, and they’re worse. The beats, too, seem to have been built like wedding cakes, adding layer upon layer to attempt to subdue the listener through sheer excess. Ty himself is a charismatic frontman and a gifted vocalist, with potential star power. His future projects should involve both a narrowing and a broadening: Sonically, his focus should be narrowed to the orchestral R&B he does best, and lyrically, he must expand beyond his “All we do is fuck when I see you” ethos. But despite its flaws, Free TC is an agreeable and listener-friendly experience — at its best moments, the sound of a man transmuting his brotherly grief and voracious sexual appetite into glimmering, symphonic pop.

Max Van Zile is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at mfv23@cornell.edu.

One thought on “Test Spins: Ty Dolla $ign — Free TC

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