Since Columbia announced the appointment of Bob Shoop ’87 as head football coach Jan. 8, Shoop has met with players, gotten to know them and discussed coaching strategy.
Shoop was a letter-winning wide receiver for the Bulldogs between 1985 and 1987 and earned both honorable mention All-Ivy his senior year and Yale’s Robert Gardner Anderson Memorial Award. He played under legendary Yale coach Carmen Cozza, a recent inductee into the College Football Hall of Fame.
In addition, Shoop was a four-year letter-winner on the Eli baseball team, captaining the squad his senior year. He was twice awarded Yale’s Ducky Pond Award for outstanding pitching.
After graduating from Yale with an economics degree, Shoop went on to coach at various colleges around the country, a decision he has not had any occasion to regret.
“Today as a football coach, I don’t use a tremendous amount of my economics degree,” Shoop said at a press conference following his appointment. “I feel our student-athletes can learn just as much from their experiences on the football field as they do from the classroom environment.”
Shoop first served as assistant coach under Cozza at Yale in 1989. From there, Shoop went on to assist George Welsh at Division I-A University of Virginia. With Shoop’s help, Welsh became the winningest coach in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
From 1991 to 1993, Shoop assisted as a coach at Northeastern University. He then returned to Yale as defensive coordinator for three years. During Shoop’s tenure, the Bulldog defense led the Ivy League in pass defense.
From Yale, Shoop moved to his main coaching stint before Columbia: the defensive secondary coach at Boston College. Boston College’s defenses won awards under Shoop. The Eagles won bowl games in each of Shoop’s years at the school. This past year, BC was nationally ranked No. 13 in pass defense and No. 17 in passing efficiency defense.
Columbia Director of Athletics John Reeves praised Shoop’s coaching record and said his history of success was a major reason he got the job.
“[Bob Shoop] is the perfect man to lead the Lions to the next level,” Reeves said. “He is a smart, driven winner.”
Junior wide receiver Brent Donieli said he does not know Shoop extremely well yet, but in a team meeting, Shoop appeared driven and competent.
“He impressed me in the way he was organized, with his passion and the assistants he’s chosen,” Donieli said. “Everyone’s really excited right now.”
Donieli also said he agrees with some of Shoop’s initial strategy to “keep it simple on defense.”
This week, Shoop and his coaches are recruiting off campus, one of two main ways Shoop told the Columbia community he would improve the football team. During his career, Shoop has visited 22 different states to recruit his players.
He may need to visit all 50; Columbia won its first game last year before losing its remaining nine contests to finish in the Ivy League cellar.