In many ways, Hofstra's comeback victory was a microcosm of this season for the team and the entire school. A little more than a year ago, Hofstra announced it was dropping football because it was swamped in red ink trying to compete on the division I-AA level. Last March, Tom Pecora left after nine seasons as men's basketball coach to take the Fordham job. He was replaced by Tim Welsh, a hire greeted with great enthusiasm because Welsh had enjoyed success in the Big East while at Providence and great success at Iona prior to that.
That joy didn't last long. One month after he was introduced as the new coach, Welsh was charged with driving while intoxicated when police found him asleep at the wheel of his car at a stoplight at 1 a.m. on April 30. He resigned three days later.
"When Coach Pecora left it was really tough," Jenkins said. "He was the one who recruited me, who I'd played for, who I'd become close to. Then I was really happy when Coach Welsh came because I liked him a lot. All of a sudden, he was gone too."
While Jenkins and his teammates were without a coach, Mo Cassara was without a job and - he believed - without a future in coaching. He had been on Al Skinner's staff at Boston College for four years and had figured he would be there a while longer because Skinner was negotiating a contract extension.
"Then one day I went to lunch, and when I came back Al said to me: 'I just got out of a meeting with the AD. They're making a change,' " Cassara said.
Hirings and firings are part of the deal when you are a coach. All coaches have some kind of network and Welsh was a big part of Cassara's: He had been Cassara's counselor at a basketball camp run by his father, Jerry Welsh, in Upstate New York when Cassara was a 10-year-old.
Not long after Cassara lost his job at Boston College, Welsh was hired at Hofstra and called Cassara to offer him a job on his new staff. Naturally, he jumped at it. Because recruiting was in full swing, he found someone to watch his dogs at his home in Worcester, Mass., and headed to the road. He would worry about moving and finding a place to live later. In fact, he never even signed a contract. Which is why things didn't look very good when Welsh packed up his office to leave.