St. Frances Academy vs IMG Academy

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When Charlotte decided to move from Will Healy last year, it was a necessary change for a program, that had relatively underachieved during his tenure, after his first season on campus. With the Charlotte program set to transition to the American Conference this year, the program had to identify the right coach, to help elevate the program to one that could contend in a tougher conference. They identified, Biff Poggi from Michigan, where he served as the associate head football coach to Jim Harbaugh, and was credited for helping get the Wolverines to back-to-back College Football Playoff appearances. Poggi made his name in the football world at the high school level, coaching for twenty years at the Gilman School, and at Saint Frances Academy, a powerhouse in the high school ranks. His coaching stint followed a successful career on Wall Street, where Poggi made himself a millionaire.

Poggi’s hire breathed life into the Charlotte program, and a fan base that is starving for some sort of success from the athletic department, as the basketball program has become an afterthought over the years. Poggi’s time on Wall Street, paid immediate dividends on the recruiting trail, as he brought in 52 new players over the off-season, and has landed four-star recruits in the process, adding the type of talent that Charlotte could’ve only dreamed of having. He made it known that they were going to be a physical football team, and the defensive issues that have plagued the program in recent years weren’t going to be a problem moving forward. Add in the fact that the program was going to be featured on an HBO docuseries, the hype was through the roof, and Charlotte fans could realistically dream of being consistently competitive on the gridiron for the foreseeable future.

Like with every new hire, at somepoint, the honeymoon phase comes to an end, but it usually takes until the season actually starts for that to happen. As for Poggi, it appears that the honeymoon phase is over, and we’re still over two months away from the season getting underway. The head coach joined the Kyle Bailey Show earlier today on WFNZ, and when asked about his biggest complaint after roughly six months on the job, he replied: “We need more support from the Charlotte community financially, it’s really hard to get guys to write checks, and that’s actually starting to ruffle my Italian feathers.” It was evident right away that Poggi wasn’t joking either, and you can hear the frustration in his voice. He communicated that with all the corporations that are now headquartered in Queen City, he didn’t think it would be this difficult to get money pouring into his program. It’s not a myth that to be highly competitive in college football, you need to have an endless supply of money and resources, and Charlotte is clearly behind the 8-ball, as he also made it known that their budget is five million dollars less than the second lowest budget in the American conference.

What was underlying in his interview, is that while Poggi is frustrated he doesn’t have the resources he thought he’d have, is that he’s still confident in the administration helping him fulfill his vision. More importantly, the self-made millionaire isn’t lacking any confidence, as he stated: “If the team doesn’t perform well, it’s my fault and they should fire me at the end of the year.”

Time will only tell if Poggi was the right hire for Mike Hill and his athletic department. But one this is for certain, we often ask for honesty and transparency from the coaches we cover, and if the first six months are any indication, Poggi will be that, and then some as long as he’s the head caoch at Charlotte