Cats turn to Wagner

There are 61 comments on the Asheville Citizen-Times story from Dec 31, 2007, titled Cats turn to Wagner. In it, Asheville Citizen-Times reports that:

Roughly 18 years ago, Dennis Wagner was hired to take over a struggling college football program that had won two of its last 29 games.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Asheville Citizen-Times.

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TerryCat77grad

United States

#1 Jan 1, 2008
Looks like a winner to me!

get ready app for here we come..........

I appreciate WCU spending the bucks to bring in a highly qualified coach.

Go Cats!
PICKENS COUNTY CATAMOUNT

Huntersville, NC

#2 Jan 1, 2008
WOW. Sounds like a guy that wants to be at WCU and I can't wait to see this thing get rolling.

welcome coach dennis wagner!!!
Cat In-Law

Toronto, Canada

#3 Jan 1, 2008
Perhaps he can bring the Nebraska Walk On tradition to Western . Holding some of the scholarships open until the Fall and letting recruits know that they would have a real chance at earning a Full Ride might draw players who really want to be at WCU and would help erase the late recruiting start for this year.
disgruntled

United States

#4 Jan 1, 2008
Academic departments have been flat-funded for years during a time of rapid student growth, meaning that WCU is spending less and less per student and charging more and more. I guess we can see where the Chancellor's interest lies.
AppSt97

Black Mountain, NC

#5 Jan 1, 2008
Glad to see that exhausting debacle over!!!! Happy new year for sure in Whee. Hopefully Coach Wagner will bring a little respect back to WCU, and within a few years they will be challenging for 2nd place in the SoCon.
Katmandu

Leicester, NC

#6 Jan 1, 2008
Dennis Wagner was 44-37-1 as a head coach.
He was unemployed after Nebraska had a bad year.
Wagner has no ties for recruiting in the South.
Does not look like a great hire.
Dennis Justice

United States

#7 Jan 1, 2008
I think pesonally any coach in this situation gets one year to establish his order. The real question will be years 2 and 3 when he has a chance to really recruit like he wants to.

I'm willing to give him a year to shake things up. I wonder if WCU will give him that power.

This was a great embarrassment to WCU, if coaches follow a protocol like hiring firms, they should have done that from day one. We need to stop thinking only coaches in western North Carolina can be good coaches for WCU. I'll hire a coach from the Sudan if he can help us beat App. State.

The coach simply HAS to have the power to run things his way or he WILL be undermined. I also wonder if WCU will actually make the committments in catching up to App. St. with facilities. Just having a cute campus ain't going to cut it when high school players see what App St. is doing not just in football but other sports.
Catamount for Life

Taylors, SC

#8 Jan 1, 2008
Katmandu says it best. College football is about recruiting. He has no relationship with the high school coaches in the Carolinas and Georgia. I'm sure coach is a good family guy. He wants to be in Cullowhee because he is unemployed. The Cats need help on the line, speed at the linebackers and a quarterback. How do you get that from someone coming to Western from Nebraska? He can have an immediate impact if he can talk some of his old lineman to transfer to WCU.
Dennis Justice

United States

#9 Jan 1, 2008
Oh, I don't doubt it's a liability for year one. I think after a year he'll be settled. Maybe he'll get a player or two that were committed elsewhere who knows? I guess hiring him a few weeks ago could have helped as he could have everything in order in time for recruiting.
fast eddie

United States

#10 Jan 1, 2008
I wish Wagner only the best. I am sure that it will take him time to set up a program. If this person is the right person he could set up a great program in a few years. Look at how fast Elon has come up in the last few years. The coach that they have was not from around here. The coach that they had before was. If he is the right guy he will be fine. Elon might challenge App State next year.
Make it all NEW

United States

#11 Jan 1, 2008
Smith said the contract includes incentives for beating an NCAA Division I Bowl Subdivision team, winning a conference championship, winning playoff games and attaining certain academic progress achievements.

at least the goal is something more than just getting a JUG back, GREAT
hope it works.
ASU sat their goal higher than just beating WCU A LONG TIME AGO
we need to get over our need to only beat ASU. and get rid of that silly whee stuff. we are WESTERN CAROLINA UNIVERSITY which is at a post office Cullowhee NC (cherokee word)(have some respect). The "town" is not even incorporated!!!!really is nothing;some broken down buildings and trashy looking on OLD 107..on the way to Sylva. think about that when you "get in the whee".
school spirit will come when there is something to be proud about. we will be loud and choose to wear purple. marketing silly solgans does not make it so.
Welcome new coach, may you and your family like it here.HAPPY NEW YEAR
Big Cat Fan

Columbia, SC

#12 Jan 1, 2008
We finally did something right and got away from hiring the "good ol boy". Since when has the Carolins's, especially WNC; been a hot bed for recruiting? We had how many state champs this year? And, oh by the way; I think there was a man named Moore that came to the mountains from the big Red.
Georgia Cat 75

Alpharetta, GA

#13 Jan 1, 2008
Hate to say I told you so, but a couple of weeks ago when everyone was crying "Bardo and Smith want the death of Catamount football," and "nobody will step in to this mess," I think I commented that there are plenty of coaches with egos and talent that will take on the challenge of a losing team.
Will he be successful? That is the $64000 question. If his past is an indicator, we brought on the right guy.
GO CATS!

Since: Jan 08

Marietta, GA

#14 Jan 1, 2008
Big Cat Fan wrote:
We finally did something right and got away from hiring the "good ol boy". Since when has the Carolins's, especially WNC; been a hot bed for recruiting? We had how many state champs this year? And, oh by the way; I think there was a man named Moore that came to the mountains from the big Red.
You are right Big Cat Fan. I was not sure hiring an outside search firm was a good idea, but we don't need more inbreeding in the Catamount Nation either. Hope we finally join the hunt for the SoCon title soon.
And thanks for the good wishes from the BooneGoon above. Some of us were happy you beat Michigan. Just remember, all things change - eventually.
Clicker

United States

#15 Jan 1, 2008
He's already informally announced some of his staff. Read here:

http://www.omaha.com/index.php...
Clicker

United States

#16 Jan 1, 2008
Wagner's pick for offensive coordinator Keith Heckendorf.

bio from Nebraska website:

Keith Heckendorf returns for his second season as a graduate assistant with the Nebraska football team where he will again assist the offensive coaching staff and work extensively with the Husker kickers. Heckendorf was elevated to the position in January 2006 after spending the previous season as the Huskers' offensive video intern.

Before joining the Nebraska football program, Heckendorf had a standout collegiate career as a quarterback at St. Cloud State University from 2000 to 2003. A native of Mosinee, Wis., Heckendorf was a two-time finalist (2002 and 2003) for the Harlon Hill Trophy, given annually to the top player in Division II, and was a consensus All-America pick each season.

Heckendorf owns numerous St. Cloud school records, including career school records for passing yards (9,695), pass completions (761), completion percentage (58.2), touchdown passes (101) and total offensive yards (9,997). As a senior, Heckendorf led the North Central Conference and ranked 10th nationally in total offense at 289.9 yards per game, while throwing for 30 touchdowns.

Heckendorf was also accomplished in the classroom during his time at St. Cloud State. He was a two-time College Division Academic All-America selection, was a 2003 National Football Foundation/College Hall of Fame Scholar-Athlete and was the Division II Men’s Winner of the 2003 Woody Hayes Award.
Clicker

United States

#17 Jan 1, 2008
Recruiting coordinator Andy Follett:

Bio from SW Missouri State

Follett was one of half a dozen newcomers on the 2004 MSU coaching staff as the Bears logged their first winning season since 2001. Follett came to Missouri State after five years at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, the last four as receivers coach. Prior to that, he coached tight ends at St. Cloud (Minn.) State University as a graduate assistant in 1998-99. In addition to working with the tight ends, Follett served as the off-season strength and conditioning coach and worked with the defensive scout team.

Follett was third in career receptions as an undergraduate gridder at Wayne State University, where he was part of an offense that averaged 581.5 yards a game in 1993. Follett had his best season in 1996 setting the single season record for receptions with 86, finishing second in the nation in receptions per game with 8.6 a contest. Follett has his undergraduate degree from Wayne State and his master’s from Nebraska-Kearney.

Follett also has responsibilities in locating summer jobs for the Bear gridders. He assists with summer football camps, housing, the postseason banquet, serves Greek liaison and NFL liaison and works with area youth organizations.
cat fan-ws

Kernersville, NC

#18 Jan 1, 2008
Katmandu wrote:
Dennis Wagner was 44-37-1 as a head coach.
He was unemployed after Nebraska had a bad year.
Wagner has no ties for recruiting in the South.
Does not look like a great hire.
So because a head coach gets fired and the new coach does not keep the fired coach's staff that means the asst coaches are no good. We need to give Coach Wagner a chance. Would you want Coach Wagner to keep the old defensive co-ordinator under Briggs.
Dennis Justice

AOL

#19 Jan 1, 2008
I've always wondered why ASU and WCU doesn't do a tradition like having the team with the Ol' Mountain Jug touch jug before coming out on the field on home games (and the WCU/ASU game), like Clemson does with that rock at Death Valley? I think it would be a great touch myself.
77 Grad

Princeton Junction, NJ

#20 Jan 1, 2008
Good luck coach! Let's make Western football respectable again!

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