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Archive For The “Andy Coen” Category

A Farewell to Brett Snyder, The Bravest Guy I’ve Ever Known

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A Farewell to Brett Snyder, The Bravest Guy I’ve Ever Known

Too often, we define football players by statistics.

As sports obsessives, we try to come up with figures and metrics to measure people, their contributions and their relative worth.  QB rating, yards per carry, tackles for loss – all numbers of measurement.

Fans forget that there are human beings behind all of those numbers.  They don’t encapsulate what it is to be a football player, teammate, person, fighter, boyfriend, husband, and father.

Brett Snyder, who passed away this past Sunday at the age of 41, spent his entire life proving, successfully, that numbers don’t matter. 

He spent a lifetime going beyond mere numbers and showing that heart, fight, perseverance, and touching as many lives as possible in a positive way is much more important.

It is the toughness you bring to life, the faith you show, and celebrating life’s blessings that mean everything. 

I learned this through Brett’s extraordinary life.
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Remembering Andy Coen’s Time As Head Coach As He Steps Down as Lehigh Football Head Coach To Address Health Issue

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Remembering Andy Coen’s Time As Head Coach As He Steps Down as Lehigh Football Head Coach To Address Health Issue

I read the announcement that head coach Andy Coen was stepping down as head football coach late Friday evening.

It was an announcement that I was expecting, to some degree. 

Those of use who have been following the program closely knew that something was amiss with Andy. 

And yet, the reason for him needing to step down was devastating.

“Life has thrown me a curveball,” Coen said in the press release on Friday, December 7th, 2018. “I am in the early stages [of early onset Alzheimer’s disease] and it is best for me to eliminate stress and concentrate on my health and well-being.  My wife, Laura, and my children, Molly, Nolan and Finn have supported me throughout my career and are my biggest fans.  This is a very difficult decision for all of us, but it is what is best at this time.”

It was the gutting, pit-in-the-stomach diagnosis nobody wanted to be true.  Just like that, a bigger challenge than simply winning football games faces the man who has been heading the program for the last thirteen years.

As the reality of the diagnosis sunk in over the weekend, the players who played for him and the people he touched poured out their gratitude on Twitter and Facebook.  I did too, feeling a jumble of emotions and memories that have been difficult to process.
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How The End of the 2009 Season Set Up Success For The Mountain Hawks

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How The End of the 2009 Season Set Up Success For The Mountain Hawks

There aren’t any books detailing the 4-7 2009 Lehigh football season, nor is it likely that the exploits of that season will be etched in stone at the base of a statue for head football coach Andy Coen.

Yet it’s a time and place which I return to often when I think back on Lehigh seasons past, and it’s where I find myself today as well.

The 2009 season felt like an inflection point for Coen’s coaching tenure.  His first three seasons, 6-5, 5-6 and 5-6, boasted one Patriot League co-championship, but had fallen short of the lofty expectations that had been set during the Kevin Higgins and Pete Lembo eras of undefeated seasons, playoff wins, and basically scaring the pants off of Lehigh football opponents up and down the East Coast.

And when the Mountain Hawks limped to a 1-5 start, the fifth being an awful 7-0 loss to Yale whose only points resulted from a fake punt, it felt like Andy’s time at Lehigh was nearing an end.  Nobody actually said officially that Andy’s job was in jeopardy, but you felt like the season was on the brink of falling completely off the rails, especially if the team truly had lost their will to play football.

But then, after bottoming out against Yale, something clicked against Bucknell.
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How Lehigh Can (Maybe) Unbreak a Broken Season

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How Lehigh Can (Maybe) Unbreak a Broken Season

There really aren’t any other words to use.  The season is currently broken.Anyone who bravely worked their way to the game last weekend in rainy, windy Worcester, Mass had to have come to the same conclusion.The only thing keeping 2-6 Holy C…

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2018 Week 4 Players of the Week and Report Card: Penn

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2018 Week 4 Players of the Week and Report Card: Penn

Can you tell that I haven’t really wanted to finish this report card for last week’s game?

Like a teacher a hour before pacing break, I didn’t want to go through the film, the grades, and the play-by-play of the Penn game, but eventually, I did, even though it wasn’t exactly pretty.

The true hope with this report card, more than usual weeks, is that it’s seen as a springboard to getting to the season that all folks associated with Lehigh will want.  With nationally-ranked Princeton looming ahead this week, it takes on added importance.

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Improved Defense Shines In 23-21 Win Over Offense in Brown/White Game

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Improved Defense Shines In 23-21 Win Over Offense in Brown/White Game

The Lehigh coaching staff took a page from Ole Miss’ spring game in their annual Brown/White scrimmage at Murray Goodman stadium.

The scoring system Ole Miss used was to spot their defense a 23-0 lead, and the scrimmage’s goal was to  have the offense drive on the defense just like a regular football game.

It is the hope of every Lehigh football fan in every game in the upcoming 2018 season that the offense scores more than 23 points a game.  Last year, the Lehigh offense averaged for than 35 points per contest.

But the Brown defense this Saturday was up to the challenge of containing the White offense.

Twelve times, the offense lined up with a potential drive to score points, and nine of those times, the defense forced the offense to punt or stuffed a 4th down conversion.

It’s true that the offense scored three touchdowns, one from rising senior QB Brad Mayes, one from junior QB Tyler Monaco, and one from sophomore QB Addison Shoup.   It is also true that the offense had some really good moments.  But on Saturday the main story was the defense, who looked really good in holding the offense to only those three scores – almost getting two pick sixes, and getting a blocked field goal attempt in another drill to boot.
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Improved Defense Shines In 23-21 Win Over Offense in Brown/White Game

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Improved Defense Shines In 23-21 Win Over Offense in Brown/White Game

The Lehigh coaching staff took a page from Ole Miss’ spring game in their annual Brown/White scrimmage at Murray Goodman stadium.

The scoring system Ole Miss used was to spot their defense a 23-0 lead, and the scrimmage’s goal was to  have the offense drive on the defense just like a regular football game.

It is the hope of every Lehigh football fan in every game in the upcoming 2018 season that the offense scores more than 23 points a game.  Last year, the Lehigh offense averaged for than 35 points per contest.

But the Brown defense this Saturday was up to the challenge of containing the White offense.

Twelve times, the offense lined up with a potential drive to score points, and nine of those times, the defense forced the offense to punt or stuffed a 4th down conversion.

It’s true that the offense scored three touchdowns, one from rising senior QB Brad Mayes, one from junior QB Tyler Monaco, and one from sophomore QB Addison Shoup.   It is also true that the offense had some really good moments.  But on Saturday the main story was the defense, who looked really good in holding the offense to only those three scores – almost getting two pick sixes, and getting a blocked field goal attempt in another drill to boot.
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Pelletier, Casey, Mayes, And Lehigh Offense Put On A Show In 59-29 Loss To Stony Brook

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Pelletier, Casey, Mayes, And Lehigh Offense Put On A Show In 59-29 Loss To Stony Brook

(Photo Credit: Alec Turner c/o Lehigh Athletics)

For those that care about these things, Lehigh entered the first round FCS playoff matchup 21 1/2 point underdogs.

And if we’re being fair, that was probably the right number.

The Seawolves were 9-2, nationally ranked with seven conference wins in the tough CAA and one of their losses coming to a very strong FBS team in South Florida.  In contrast, unranked Lehigh came into the game 5-6 and only were here because they upset Colgate 41-38 on the road and won enough Patriot League conference games to win the autobid.

Yet a young Lehigh team was game to put their best foot forward and to have a heroic sendoff for potential NFL prospect senior WR Troy Pelletier, and in that, the game was a rousing success.

With junior QB Brad Mayes expertly picking apart one of the top defenses in FCS, time after time he’d find Troy for reception after reception, each one highlighting his impressive skill set as an audition for the next level.

It wouldn’t be enough to win the game, but it was enough to keep the Mountain Hawks within striking distance until the Seawolves would pull away in the 4th quarter.

It was also enough to establish Troy as the all-time greatest receiver in Patriot League history.
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Pelletier, Casey, Mayes, And Lehigh Offense Put On A Show In 59-29 Loss To Stony Brook

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Pelletier, Casey, Mayes, And Lehigh Offense Put On A Show In 59-29 Loss To Stony Brook

(Photo Credit: Alec Turner c/o Lehigh Athletics)

For those that care about these things, Lehigh entered the first round FCS playoff matchup 21 1/2 point underdogs.

And if we’re being fair, that was probably the right number.

The Seawolves were 9-2, nationally ranked with seven conference wins in the tough CAA and one of their losses coming to a very strong FBS team in South Florida.  In contrast, unranked Lehigh came into the game 5-6 and only were here because they upset Colgate 41-38 on the road and won enough Patriot League conference games to win the autobid.

Yet a young Lehigh team was game to put their best foot forward and to have a heroic sendoff for potential NFL prospect senior WR Troy Pelletier, and in that, the game was a rousing success.

With junior QB Brad Mayes expertly picking apart one of the top defenses in FCS, time after time he’d find Troy for reception after reception, each one highlighting his impressive skill set as an audition for the next level.

It wouldn’t be enough to win the game, but it was enough to keep the Mountain Hawks within striking distance until the Seawolves would pull away in the 4th quarter.

It was also enough to establish Troy as the all-time greatest receiver in Patriot League history.
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Down by Double Digits, Halftime Speech Sparks Lehigh’s #Rivalry153 Rally As Lehigh Wins 38-31

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Down by Double Digits, Halftime Speech Sparks Lehigh’s #Rivalry153 Rally As Lehigh Wins 38-31

For the first time all season, it was a dark, wet day for a Lehigh football game.

It was not at all ideal for the more than 15,000 fans, and countless tailgaters that made it to the tailgates but not in the stadium, partying and tailgating outside the gates of Murray Goodman.

It was also not at all ideal for Lehigh’s high-powered passing game, and during a disastrous second quarter with three turnovers, it felt like the wheels were coming off the Mountain Hawks’ chances at successfully defending their Patriot League title.

It seemed like everything that could go wrong, was actually going wrong.  Three fumbles resulted in three Lafayette recoveries.  A third down conversion incompletion by Lafayette QB Sean O’Malley became an unexpected first down, thanks to an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that kept their drive alive.  A 14-7 first quarter lead became 17 unanswered points, leading to a 24-14 deficit against the best defensive team in the Patriot League.

In this most important of football games for many of the Lehigh faithful, it seemed like they were losing it by shooting themselves in the foot.

Then halftime happened, and everything changed.  More rain, and worse weather, did not deter Lehigh from their goal.   And a couple of Rivalry legends were made in the process.
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