January 22, 2001

New Football Coach Meets Media at Press Conference

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While the coaches and members of the Cornell football team continue to meet with their new head coach all this week, the media got a gander at the new Robert J. Weiss ’61 Coach of Football, Tim Pendergast, Friday afternoon at the Schoellkopf House.

Beaming a smile that could have melted the fresh snow covering Schoellkopf Field, Tim Pendergast spoke passionately about his past experience at and future aspirations for Cornell adding that he hoped to continue the commitment to winning that has characterized this Big Red team the last few years.

“I’ve seen some of the good in college athletic and I’ve also seen some of the bad,” the new coach said. “Right now, I’m at one of the places that’s good. At Cornell University, there is no question that academics comes first and foremost.”

Despite the speed of the search — Pendergast was named only 12 days after the departure of former head man Pete Mangurian — Athletic Director Andy Noel felt that the department’s choice was the correct one.

“The first goal [in the search for a new coach] is to get the right person,” said Noel. “We identified the right person; Tim was very interested and it worked out. I’m thrilled he was available and he’s accepted the offer.

“We made it a point to be as expedient as we could be, but without diminishing the thoroughness of the search,” Noel added.

Despite the fact that many players had already met with the new coach, several recruits and current players turned out to hear Pendergast’s plans for the team. Still others will meet with the coach this week to talk about a variety of issues.

“His main goal right now is to recruit us [the current players] and makes sure he knows us, before he recruits the new guys,” said junior running back Justin Dunleavy. “We’ve got a lot of seniors right now that don’t want a rebuilding year … We’re ready to win this thing,” he added.

Pendergast seems prepared for the type of football that Cornell fans are used to seeing.

When asked about a specific style of play that he’d bring to the Big Red, Pendergast said his style would be, “exciting and aggressive on both sides of the ball.”

Exciting seemed to be the buzzword for the day.

Dunleavy used it to describe the team’s perspective of the new coach and Pendergast described his own emotions and feelings as “exciting” on the day he officially returned to Cornell after he left his position as head of recruiting ten years ago.

Archived article by Charles Persons