Holy Cross Announces Football Coaching Staff

Holy Cross Athletics   01-02-2018

WORCESTER, Mass. – Holy Cross head coach Bob Chesney has announced his football coaching staff for the 2018 season. Liam Coen will serve as the Crusaders’ offensive coordinator, while Scott James will take over as the defensive coordinator. Other coaches on the offensive side of the ball with include Drew Canan (running backs coach / special team coordinator), Ari Confesor (wide receivers coach), Anthony DiMichele (tight ends coach) and Chris Smith (offensive line coach). The defensive coaching staff will include Anthony Barese (secondary coach), Matt Colangelo (safeties coach), Charlie Noonan (defensive line coach) and Brian Vaganek (linebackers coach).

Coen comes to Holy Cross from the University of Maine, where he served as the offensive coordinator from 2016-2017. The Black Bears averaged 24.6 points and 388.4 total yards per game during the 2017 season, after putting up 22.3 points and 357.6 total yards per contest in 2016. Prior to his time at Maine, Coen spent the 2015 season as the pass game coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the University of Massachusetts, where he mentored first team All Mid-American Conference quarterback Blake Frohnapfel. He was previously the quarterbacks coach at Brown University in 2010 and from 2012-2014, while serving as the pass game coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the University of Rhode Island in 2011. Coen earned his bachelor’s degree in communications from UMass in 2008, and was a four-year starter at quarterback for the Minutemen.

James joins the Crusaders after spending five seasons as the safeties coach at the University of New Hampshire from 2013-2017. During that time, he helped the Wildcats to an overall record of 46-22 with one Colonial Athletic Association championship and five trips to the NCAA playoffs. Prior to his time at New Hampshire, James served as the defensive coordinator and secondary coach at the University of New Haven from 2008-2012. His other coaching stops include time at Northeastern (2005-2007 / outside linebackers), Boston College (2003-2004 / defensive graduate assistant), Holy Cross (2002 / defensive line), Albany (2001 / defensive tackles) and Norwich (1999-2000 / defensive line). James is a 1999 graduate of Norwich with a bachelor’s degree in sports medicine. He went on to earn master’s degrees from Albany in 2002 and Boston College in 2005.

Barese joins the Crusaders after spending the last 10 seasons on the coaching staff at Assumption College. He served as the Greyhounds defensive coordinator from 2014-2017, helping the team to an overall record of 38-11 during that time with three trips to the NCAA playoffs. Barese was previously Assumption’s linebackers coach from 2008-2013, in addition to serving as the team’s recruiting coordinator from 2011-2017. Prior to his time at Assumption, he served as an assistant coach at St. Anselm College for two years, as the co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach in 2007 and the defensive line coach in 2006. Barese is a 2005 graduate of St. Anselm with a bachelor’s degree in English.

Canan comes to Holy Cross from Assumption College, where he served as the wide receivers coach and special teams coordinator under Chesney from 2014-2017. He helped the Greyhounds to an overall record of 38-11 during that time, with three trips to the NCAA playoffs. Prior to his time at Assumption, Canan served as the wide receivers coach and special teams coordinator at Endicott College from 2011-2013. He coached five All-Conference receivers during that time, while helping the team to the 2013 New England Football Conference championship. Canan was previously a graduate assistant at Endicott from 2008-2010. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Johnson & Wales University in 2005, and received a master’s degree from Endicott in 2010.

Colangelo joins the Crusaders after spending the 2017 season as the assistant linebackers coach at Villanova University. He previously served as the assistant secondary coach at Yale in 2016, after beginning his coaching career as the linebackers coach at Assumption from 2014-2015. The Greyhounds went 18-6 during his two years on the staff, including the school’s first trip to the NCAA playoffs. Colangelo is a 2014 graduate of Assumption with a bachelor’s degree in English. He served as a team captain for the Greyhounds during his senior year, when he earned first team All Northeast-10 Conference honors at linebacker.

Confesor comes to Holy Cross from the University of Rhode Island, where he has served as the wide receivers coach and co-special teams coordinator since 2014. He coached two players who earned All-Colonial Athletic Association honors in 2017 (Marven Beauvais and Aaron Parker), while he helped the Rams rank 27th in the nation in yards per completion in 2016. Confesor was previously Rhode Island’s linebackers coach in 2013, while working in the scouting department of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2012. He was also a member of the Rhode Island coaching staff from 2009-2011, coaching wide receivers (2010-2011) and assisting with the secondary (2009). Confesor is a 2004 Holy Cross graduate, and was a two-time All-America selection for the Crusaders.

DiMichele will be in his second season as an assistant coach at Holy Cross in 2018, after previously serving as the assistant secondary coach in 2017. Prior to joining the Crusaders, he was the secondary coach at the University of New Haven from 2015-2016, helping the Chargers to a 13-5 record in Northeast-10 Conference play during that time. DiMichele was previously an assistant coach at Sto-Rox High School in McKees Rocks, Pa., for three seasons. A 2011 graduate of Holy Cross, DiMichele was a three-year starter and four-year letterwinner in the secondary for the Crusaders. He earned a master’s degree in sport management from New Haven in 2016.

Noonan enters his fourth season as the defensive line coach for the Crusaders in 2018, where he guided the career of two-time first team All-Patriot League defensive end Dewayne Cameron. He joined the Crusaders after serving as a graduate assistant coach at Rutgers from 2013-2014, where he worked with the rush ends. Prior to his time at Rutgers, Noonan spent one season as the defensive line coach at Thiel (Pa.) College in 2012. He began his coaching career in 2011 as a volunteer assistant coach with the defense at the Haverford School (Pa.). Noonan is a 2010 graduate of Rutgers with a bachelor’s degree in economics. He earned four letters for the Scarlet Knights from 2006-2010, and was elected as a team captain his senior year.

Smith will be in his second year as Holy Cross’ offensive line coach in 2018, after helping James Murray earn second team All-Patriot League honors in 2017. Prior to joining the Crusaders, he served as the offensive line coach and run-game coordinator at the University of New Haven from 2014-2016. Smith helped the Chargers to a 19-8 record in Northeast-10 Conference play during that time, while coaching three All-Americans and eight All Northeast-10 selections. He was previously the offensive line coach at the University of Northern Colorado from 2012-2013, after spending two years as a graduate assistant at Buffalo working with the linebackers. A 2009 Holy Cross graduate, Smith was a four-year starter at center for the Crusaders.

Vaganek enters his second season as linebackers coach for the Crusaders in 2018, after helping Nick McBeath earn All-America honors in 2017. He came to Holy Cross after serving as the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at the University of New Haven from 2014-2016, helping the Chargers to a 19-8 record in Northeast-10 Conference play during that time. Vaganek previously spent three seasons at the University of Rhode Island from 2011-2013, including two years as the defensive coordinator, and was the associate head coach at Christopher Newport University from 2007-2010. His other coaching stops including time at Hofstra (2001-2003), William & Mary (1995-2000), Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College (1994, 2004-2005) and Highland (Kan.) Community College (1993). Vaganek is a 1993 graduate of Temple University.

Holy Cross will be entering its first year under Chesney in 2018. The Crusaders finished the 2017 campaign with an overall record of 4-7 and a 3-3 mark in the Patriot League.


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