The search for a new football coach is winding down.

The applications are in, all 125 of them, and the winnowing is under way. Williams College athletic director Harry Sheehy said that by the middle of May, a new football coach should be hired.

“I’m pleased with where we are right now,” Sheehy said. “We’re down to a half-dozen folks, and we’re trying to figure out who will be interviewed.


1) This is a mistake. Williams is spending too much money and should cut back on hiring, at least until the policy changes in financial aid are reversed. Perhaps there is no need to fire anyone but, when someone quits, we should not replace them unless we absolutely have to. Both baseball coach Bill Barrale and men’s lacrosse coach George McCormack would do a fine job (although Barrale would get my vote). It was only a few years ago that Williams had 20% fewer coaches than it has now. Were those days so horrible, when head coaches covered two sports? Did the students have less fun? Were the games less enjoyable? No.

2) If we must hire someone, then it ought to be an Eph, or at least someone who we might plausibly believe will spend his career at Williams. How about Kevin Gilmartin ’94 (married to an Eph)? Or combat-veteran Jerry Rizzo ’87? Or Mike Levine ’94? Always remember, you read those names here first . . .

3) Recall this discussion from 6 (!) years ago.

“In my opinion, if Williams’s average SAT scores are 1,450, and we’re taking kids at 1,150, and Trinity’s average SAT scores are 1,250, they should be able to take a kid at 950. That has a lot of merit,” according to Whalen. “But, obviously, the pool of football players with 950 on their SATs is much, much larger. And you’re not competing with the Ivy League schools for those kids. They have their system, we have our system, and I have nothing but good things to say about the work that they’ve done.”

Does Williams football still go down to 1150? I don’t know. Recall that, two years later, the average football tip was over 1400. In any event, Williams should place less emphasis on athletic talent in admissions (as it has been doing over the last decade). If I were Adam Falk, I would continue that trend and want to make sure that my new football coach was aware of the policy and supportive of it.

4) Who remembers the mini-scandal in January when Coach Whalen’s salary was revealed on Morning Joe? Given that Whalen resigned just two months later, I would guess that the salary leak either came from him or someone close to him, either as a signal to Wesleyan or as a last ditch attempt to negotiate through the media with Williams. Then again, I also hear that Whalen’s move was a precursor to his becoming the athletic director, in a few years, at Wesleyan, so maybe the salary leak come from someone unaffiliated with him.

5) It appears that (former) Coach Dan DiCenzo’s attempt to position himself as the top internal candidate failed.

6) Has anyone heard any rumors about who the finalists are or when a decision might be made?

Rest of article below.

“I’m pleased with the football acumen [of the applicants], as well as who will be a good match at Williams.”

The 125 applications came to Sheehy to fill the coaching position that opened when Mike Whalen resigned last month to become head coach and assistant athletic director at Wesleyan, his alma mater.

Last week, Wesleyan announced that Williams football assistant and head wrestling coach Dan DiCenzo will be joining Whalen as assistant head coach. DiCenzo will have additional responsibilities as the school’s strength and conditioning coach.

Sheehy said that a search will be undertaken for DiCenzo’s position, but he expects that to be filled after the new football coach is hired.

“Because that new position is open, the new football coach will have some input,” Sheehy added.

Whalen resigned after six seasons at Williams. He had a 38-10 record and won four Little Three championships. So the new coach has some big shoes to fill — but probably not as big as Whalen filled when he replaced Dick Farley.

Sheehy and five athletic department members will make up the search committee that will interview at least four finalists for the job.

The Williams A.D. said the 125 applicants ran the gamut of football experience. He said he received resumes from high school coaches, Division III head coaches, Division I coordinators and head coaches. Some of those who applied even have NFL experience.

“Eighty percent of our applicants came in the first 10 days,” Sheehy said. “It used to be, with the NCAA News, the applicants would be more spread out.”

Once the committee cuts the 125 down to six, four will be invited to interview on campus within the next two weeks.

Candidates will meet with the selection committee, a group of football players, the entire team, admission staffers and faculty members in what is a day-long process.

“It can be a stressful day,” Sheehy said. “We want to put people through the wringer because we want to see how they respond.

“We want to see who comes out and says ‘Wow.’ I’m not looking to make it easy. I’m looking to make it challenging, because that’s what this job is.”

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