Nov. 28, 2006
New Orleans - Tulane University Director of Athletics Rick Dickson announced today that Chris Scelfo will not return as head football coach. Tulane will begin a nationwide search for a new head football coach immediately.
"Today is one those days which no athletic director ever looks forward to," Dickson said. "After much deliberation and consultation with members of the Tulane University community, I have informed Chris Scelfo that he will not remain the head coach of the Green Wave football team.
"During their eight-year tenure, Chris and his staff did many positive things for the Tulane football program. As athletic director, though, I must weigh all aspects when considering the job performance of an individual. In this case, the direction of the football program is not satisfactory. We must do better. We must be competitive in our conference. We must be eligible for post-season opportunities on a regular basis."
Scelfo, who posted an overall record of 37-57 and a Conference USA mark of 18-44 in eight seasons (1998-2006), concluded the 2006 campaign with a 4-8 record and a mark of 2-6 in C-USA games. The Green Wave failed to qualify for a bowl game for the fourth straight season.
"Chris Scelfo and his staff have made many positive contributions to the Tulane University football program and I want to thank them for those efforts," Tulane President Scott Cowen said. "During the last 18 months, Coach Scelfo and his staff have guided Green Wave football through a series of events never before encountered by a university football team. Their contributions and perseverance through this trying time are deeply appreciated.
"I fully support and join in Rick Dickson's decision to hire a new head football coach. Tulane University, along with the rest of New Orleans, has spent the last 15 months traveling the path to recovery and we are doing so with great success. It is time to move forward with our athletics program, including football. We believe our student-athletes, our fans and the community deserve no less."
This past season, Scelfo became the school's career leader for games coached with 94, and ranks second among Tulane's all-time coaches for victories with 37. He is the only TU coach with two bowl victories after guiding the Green Wave to victories in the 1998 Liberty Bowl and the 2002 Hawaii Bowl.
"I want to thank Tulane University, the city of New Orleans and more importantly every player that I have coached during my eight years at Tulane," Scelfo said. "I especially want to thank Dr. Scott Cowen and Rick Dickson for the opportunity to coach at Tulane for eight great years. It is my hope the community will rally together and make Tulane football stronger than ever."
Scelfo became the 36th head coach in school history on December 7, 1998, and less than a month later he led the Green Wave to a victory over BYU in the Liberty Bowl to cap off Tulane's perfect 12-0 season.
During his tenure at Tulane, Scelfo sent nine Green Wave players to the National Football League, including first round draft picks Patrick Ramsey (2002) and J.P. Losman (2004). In the classroom, his teams fared well with an average graduation rate of 75 percent in the last four years and nearly 80 percent of his student-athletes earned their degrees since 2001.
Scelfo's best season came in 2002 when he led TU to an 8-5 record, the school's second-highest win total since 1979, and to a berth in the Hawaii Bowl, where the Green Wave downed Hawaii, 36-28.