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Joe Moglia recalls days at Archmere Academy on heels of Coastal Carolina retirement

Joe Moglia is a former Archmere Academy football coach. Photo courtesy CCU Athletics

Moglia Fieldhouse at Archmere Academy houses the Auks’ gymnasium and weight rooms used by student athletes. The building was named in honor of Joe Moglia, a former football coach and teacher at Archmere.

On Jan. 18, Moglia stepped down as head coach of Coastal Carolina’s (CCU) football team after spending six seasons there. He had an overall record of 56-22 and led the Chanticleers to the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) postseason in each of his first four seasons. The university then began the transition to the Football Bowl Subdivision, the highest level of NCAA football. He missed the 2017 season because of health issues.

Moglia’s journey as a coach began when he was 19 and attending Fordham University in the Bronx, N.Y. “I was majoring in economics and had planned to work on Wall Street,” he said. Toward the end of his college career, Moglia realized that he wanted to keep coaching. After applying to 100 schools, he finally got accepted by Archmere. At the age of 22, his name was in headlines that read “Moglia, 22, to coach Archmere.”

“My years at Archmere were some of the happiest I ever had,” Moglia said. In addition to coaching, he also taught European history, political science and economics courses. Because of the coach’s techniques and his “Be a Man” (BAM) philosophy, Archmere’s football teams increased their winning percentages.

“There are guys from Archmere that still come to my games, and I know that some of my players from CCU would show the same respect,” he added. Though Moglia coached at Archmere in the early 1970s, he continues to speak at the Claymont school. On these occasions, he asks if the students can be relieved from their classes, which the school’s administration allows.

“Be a Man” is a phrase that has inspired Moglia’s players for decades. “From very early on, I knew I had to take responsibility for myself,” he said, “I was a father at a young age; my father was an Italian immigrant and my mother an Irish immigrant, and they both lacked high school degrees; two of my friends got into trouble and were killed as teenagers. I knew I couldn’t allow that to happen to me because I had to look after my girlfriend and our baby.”

The philosophy that Moglia has shared with his teams throughout the years encourages players to “stand on their own two feet, take responsibility for their actions, and realize that they will have to live with the consequences of their actions.” He added on to this philosophy, saying people ought to treat others with dignity and respect. BAM is not only applied to men, but to anyone who wants to be a successful leader.

Moglia, who turns 70 on April 1, said the most fulfilling aspect of coaching is “knowing that I have an impact on the lives of these players.” He said gaining experience made him a better coach throughout the years and in turn, it made his players better as well.

The coach’s impressive resume led him to be inducted into the Lombardi Hall of Fame in 2017 and while receiving several other awards for his time devoted to football. He stepped away from coaching in 1983 to enter the business world. He spent 17 years at Merrill Lynch before becoming chief executive officer for TD Ameritrade in 2001. He retired from that job in 2008 but remains chairman of the board. Moglia was also recognized by the American Institute for Stuttering.

“Stuttering was a real problem for me, but I didn’t let it stop me from being a coach,” he said.

Moglia believes perseverance, good character and strong work ethic help people succeed and these qualities can apply to anyone, whether a football fan or not.