*This story appeared in the 2011 Joke Issue.
For Penn Athletics, the golden era is about to begin.
Monday, Penn President Amy Gutmann announced that football coach Al Bagnoli will succeed Steve Bilsky as director of athletics.
“I can’t think of a more suitable choice to take over my post after my retirement,” said Bilsky, who has held the position since 1994. Though Bilsky said he has no plans to retire any time soon, a source close to the situation said the transition would likely occur soon after the completion of Penn Park, which is slated to open at the start of the next academic year.
“Al Bagnoli represents everything we look for in an athletic director,” Gutmann said. “You know, like a perfect, bronzed tan.”
After compiling an impressive record at the helm of the back-to-back Ivy champion football team, “Fun Bags,” as he is affectionately known, will leave behind his duties on the gridiron — basically calling timeouts and the occasional field goal — for the prestigious alumni shmooze-fest of a Division I athletic director.
“You’ve basically gotta be good at everything,” said Bagnoli, who was busy Monday picking out carpet patterns for his new office.
“I think he’s going to go with the paisley,” said the source, who asked to go by the moniker ‘Chas.’ “It looks fabulous.”
Bagnoli said his first order of business would be to move the Quakers out of the Football Championship Subdivision and into the Bowl Championship Subdivision, much as Villanova plans to do.
“If we can’t beat ‘em in D-I AA, maybe we can do it in the Big East,” he said.
Reactions to the news around the Ivy League were mixed.
“If it ain’t broken, what you gonna try and fix it for,” Columbia football coach Norries Wilson said.
But Ivy League executive director Robin Harris applauded the move, saying that Bagnoli really has a face for television. Though little has materialized yet, Harris said when she was named director that she wanted to get more TV exposure for the Ancient Eight.
The Penn community is similarly excited for the move.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for that very evenly tanned man,” basketball coach Jerome Allen said.
Meanwhile, the coach-turned-AD is looking forward to hitting the ground running. His second order of business? To change Penn’s drink sponsorship from Powerade to Gatorade.
“Riptide Rush,” Bagnoli said. “That purple stuff is tasty.”