December 14, 2018
By: Steve Degler
Andy Coen's 13 seasons as head coach of the Lehigh football team were record-setting and full of team and individual accomplishments. That fine career ended last week when the Mountain Hawks announced that Coen is stepping down to spend more time with his family and to battle Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease.
To those of us who have crossed paths with Coen, the news is devastating. It's no secret that many football coaches can be uptight and not willing to disclose too much information about their teams. That's very understandable. There is a lot of pressure that comes with the job.
Andy Coen was not like that. He wouldn't give you the game plan but he was very forthcoming about his teams, in good times and bad. He would always answer your questions and I really admired how he would do his halftime and post-game interviews on our Service Electric telecasts whether his team won by 30 or lost by 30.
His career numbers are certainly worth noting but they don't tell the whole story. His 85 wins tie Bill Leckonby for most by a Lehigh football coach. Coen's teams won five Patriot League titles but he was only named coach of the year twice. That one is a little hard to figure. He coached 25 All-Americans and six Patriot League major award winners. He had 236 players named to the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll and 135 Mountain Hawks were selected to All-Patriot League teams. He went 9-4 against Lafayette and picked up his final win against the Leopards to close the 2018 season.
On a personal note, I really enjoyed covering Lehigh football for the last 13 seasons. Lehigh holds a media luncheon every Wednesday before a game. Once you get the football stuff out of the way, there is time to sit and chat with Coach Coen and other media members. Andy was just a regular guy. He was the head coach of a very good FCS program but you wouldn't necessarily know that. The luncheon didn't revolve around him. He didn't have to command the room. He just sat down and joined the conversation.
We all know life is not always fair. What has happened to Andy and his family certainly is not fair. I appreciate the fact that I've had the chance to work with Andy Coen during the last 13 seasons. He is going to be missed by all of us who cover the Mountain Hawks. Let's hope that the medical world will soon make a breakthrough in the fight against this terrible disease.
It won't be the same when the Mountain Hawks kick-off their 2019 season. Andy Coen will definitely be missed on the sidelines. We are all rooting for him.