Scelfo Reflects On Time At Tulane, Marshall

NEW ORLEANS, La. - In his head, it seemed like just the other day that he became the 36th head coach in Tulane football history on Dec. 7, 1998. But eight years later Chris Scelfo will tie a school record in this weekend's Conference USA game at Marshall as the native of New Iberia, La., will coach his 91st game with the Green Wave.

After becoming the second-winningest coach in Tulane history with last Saturday's 42-28 victory over Army, Scelfo will tie the mark set by Clark Shaughnessy, who coached the Green Wave from 1915-20 and again from 1922-26. Scelfo is tied with Bernie Bierman (1927-31) and Lowell "Red" Dawson (1936-41) with 36 wins each. Shaughnessy holds the Tulane victories record with 59. "It's gone by fast," Scelfo said. "It's been a tremendous journey, it really has. If you think about what this program has been through since we've been here - going back to '03, which was a major thing that went on, and then obviously last year - we've been through a lot. The one thing about it is I think everyone stood up in our football program and has been dependable and accountable.

"There are a lot of games over the years that we'd like to have back and there are some that I'm very proud of. But at the end of the day, I really think we've done things right here. We've graduated our players. We didn't have anyone in trouble off of the field in our community. The staff has done a tremendous job of recruiting character to Tulane University and I really think at the end of the day that is the most important thing." Along the way, Scelfo has gone on to become the only coach in Green Wave history to coach a pair of bowl victories after serving as the head coach in Tulane's 41-27 win over BYU in the 1998 Liberty Bowl and guiding the team to an 8-4 record in 2002 which culminated with a 36-28 win over Hawaii in the Hawaii Bowl.

Last season, Scelfo and the Tulane football team earned the Courage Award from the Football Writers Association of America, the Disney Spirit Award from Disney's Wide World of Sports, and the Keith Jackson Award for Bravery after going through a trying 2005 that saw the team relocate to Jackson, Miss., and Dallas before settling in at Louisiana Tech in Ruston, La., for the fall semester. The Green Wave played 11 games in 11 weeks in 11 stadiums. Since taking the reigns of the Tulane football team, Scelfo has helped 14 Green Wave student-athletes earn first-team All-Conference USA honors while three claimed All-America honors and another two claimed Freshman All-America distinction. Nine of Sceflo's players have been drafted by NFL franchises, including first-round picks Patrick Ramsey (2002, Washington Redskins) and J.P. Losman (2004, Buffalo Bills). Last season, linebacker Anthony Cannon - a seventh-round selection of the Detroit Lions - became the first defensive player drafted out of Tulane since 1994 when Ruffin Hamilton was drafted in the sixth round by the Green Bay Packers in 1994.


Marshall's Dennis Thornton stopped Tulane back Matt Forte for a three-yard loss in last year's Marshall win, 27-26, over the Green Wave in Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala..photo by Rick Haye for Herd Insider

In addition, this weekend's game at Marshall will mark Scelfo's return to his old stomping grounds as he served as the Thundering Herd's offensive line coach from 1990-95 and assumed offensive coordinator the final three years in Huntington, W.Va. During his time with the Herd, Marshall went a combined 64-21, advanced to the NCAA Division I-AA Playoffs five times and won the national championship in 1992. "There were a lot of good days at Marshall," Scelfo recalled. "What we had at Marshall was a tremendous amount of talent. We had a lot of good players there and a lot of them are still playing in the National Football League today."

And while Scelfo is looking forward to making a return to Huntington, he realizes that the job at hand will not be an easy one as Tulane will be taking on a tough Marshall squad that has gotten better each week of the 2006 season. "My expectations for Tulane is to play well," Scelfo said. "I'd like to see us be consistent and react well after a game like we had Saturday because we've shown that we can bounce back. Now the question is how can we handle a win like we had Saturday. The challenge that is going to be presented to our football team is can we do it consistently? Can we do it in spurts? We've done it for a game - Saturday against Army. Now, can we repeat that in an environment that we're not used to playing in?"

The Tulane/Marshall contest is slated to kick off at 7:30 p.m. (EST) and the game will be televised live on College Sports Television (DirecTV Channel 610, DISH Network Channel 152). In addition, the game will be broadcast on the Thundering Herd/ISP Sports Network, locally on WRVC 930 AM and WDGG, "The Dawg," 93.7 FM in Huntington and the Tri-State. Live stats will also be provided free of charge on the internet via GameTracker. Marshall will be at East Carolina on Nov. 11, host UTEP at the JCE Stadium on Nov. 18 and play at Southern Miss on Nov. 25. Marshall is tied for second in the East Division of C-USA with Southern Miss at 2-2 in league play, one-half game behind East Carolina (3-2).


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