The Return of 'Mo'

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- He's back, and he's really happy to be back. Allen Mogridge is brimming with excitement about his return to Chapel Hill. To the Tar Heel football players, he's now "Coach Mo."

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"Yeah, that kind of stuck," UNC's new tight ends coach said Thursday about his nickname. "When I was here I was "Mo," then when I got big I was "Big Mo," now I'm "Coach Mo." It's been a natural progression."

Mogridge's road to the coaching ranks began as a player at UNC (1995-99), where he struggled to find a position, playing four of them in the five years he was in Chapel Hill – defensive end, tight end, fullback, and finally, his senior season, offensive tackle. He counts himself lucky to have had that experience.

"I say this to young people all the time, one of the biggest things I learned in my experience here at Carolina was truly understanding what ‘dying to yourself' means," Mogridge said. "So many times as a young person it is easy to say, ‘What's in this for me?' When you look at playing four different positions in the five years over your span of college football, you can look at it one of two ways, and the way I like to look at is that it has made me the coach that I am today - it's helped get to where I want to get today."

He's had a diverse career since leaving UNC as well. After playing Arena Football, Mogridge wanted to get into coaching. He received a call from Jim Hofher, who coached quarterbacks under Carl Torbush, and landed a graduate assistant job in Buffalo. Mogridge returned to Buffalo after a brief stint at Western Carolina, where he also took on the duties of recruiting coordinator. When Turner Gill took over in Buffalo, he retained Mogridge and made him his recruiting coordinator as well.

All this variety, both as a coach and as a player, made Mogridge an intriguing candidate when Butch Davis and the staff began to search for a replacement for Steve Hagen, who left for the NFL.

"One of the things that was kind of interesting and unique about Allen - not only is he a former tight end at the University of North Carolina, but he's had Division 1 coaching experience of coaching running backs, of coaching the offensive line, as well as coaching the tight ends," David said. "I think his knowledge of having three different positions that he's coached before helps bring insight into a lot different areas. When you are sitting around trying to come up with the game plans, and you're trying to talk about offensive schemes and things, it is good to have guys with a variety of different types of backgrounds and experiences."

From listening to Mogridge and observing him on the practice field, one thing that is also crystal clear is that he is a high-energy coach. "He's got a tremendous enthusiasm, loves North Carolina, graduated from here, so I think that is certainly going to really help our staff," Davis said.

It's also a high-energy that is well-grounded, which he learned from Turner Gill, and it's something he sees in Coach Davis as well.

"Those kids need to know that you're "Mo" every single day," Mogridge said. "They're not going to come in and catch you on a high ride, and then catch you on the low slide. Then the priorities being where they need to be, you know, as with Coach Gill, your faith, your family, and your football - and Coach Davis is the same way."

The other key characteristic that Mogridge brings to the table combines his two favorite things: recruiting and Carolina.

"Recruiting is building relationships; it's fun to recruit - it's fun to recruit," said Mogridge, who will have recruiting responsibilities at UNC that focus on Tennessee, New Jersey and a section of North Carolina. "I mean you've got to love it. You've got to love going out and getting to build relationships with young people. For me being here, it's a dream come true. I'm getting to sell the place that I came, and everything here that I love. "

It's a situation that Mogridge relishes.

"[It's an] opportunity to get to come back and coach guys and sell the program that was sold to me - and a program that I love, and a place that I love and for all the rights reasons…"

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