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The New Haven Register sports department is celebrating our 200th birthday by sharing 200 of the most interesting stories relating to sports in Greater New Haven over the past 200 years. Check back daily for historical updates.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Carm Cozza: Yale football coaching legend

Register file photos

In retrospect, the “what ifs” barely warrant a mention in the telling of Yale football history.

However, there were a couple of instances when the legendary Carm Cozza almost walked away from Yale before coaching his first game.

A decade ago, when Cozza was on the eve of being inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, the winningest coach in Ivy League football history recalled a time when he wasn’t sure Yale was the place for him.

“I was leaving a beautiful country setting (Miami of Ohio) and when I came to Yale, it was a dreary day,” Cozza said in a 2002 interview. “I remember thinking, ‘Oh boy, I don’t know if this is my cup of tea. Am I doing the right thing bringing three young girls and my wife into a new environment?’”
That was in 1963. The following year Cozza had another chance to head off to greener pastures. Cozza was offered the head job at the University of New Hampshire and seriously considered it.

Delaney Kipputh, Yale’s athletic director at the time, wanted Cozza to replace the departing John Pont as Yale’s coach, beginning in the 1965 season. Kipputh asked Cozza to give him 24 hours before committing to take the UNH gig. Cozza obliged and the next day he became Yale’s head coach.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Cozza spent the next 32 seasons at the helm of the Bulldogs. Cozza won 179 games, posted 19 winning seasons and led Yale to 10 Ivy League championships.

Three part tribute to Cozza from YouTube


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