VILLANOVA, PA. – Villanova University Director of Athletics Mark Jackson today announced that head football coach Andy Talley will retire following the 2016 season. Talley will stay at Villanova through 2017 in an administrative role, serving as Special Assistant to the Athletic Director.
Jackson announced that beginning with the 2017 season, Mark Ferrante, longtime Wildcats assistant coach, will succeed Talley and become Villanova’s 30th head coach.
“Although the end of an unprecedented era of success for Villanova football is upon us with Andy’s retirement after next season, this is an opportunity to celebrate all that he has built both on and off the field, said Villanova University President Reverend Peter M. Donohue, OSA. “We look forward to one last exciting season under his leadership. Few in this industry ever get to leave the profession under their own terms having accomplished so much and we cannot be more thankful for all that Andy has done for Villanova University.”
“It has been a privilege to be the head football coach at Villanova University for the last 31 years. The Villanova administration has always been forward thinking and supportive as we built the program to a national level,” said Talley. “Academics, character and achievement on the field has always been the foundation upon which we built the program. As we move into my final season, the future is bright. I am proud of all of our players past and present, as well as the assistant coaches that have worked with me. I am thrilled that Mark Ferrante will be taking over as head coach. He has a great understanding of the program and is committed to the Villanova student-athlete philosophy. I look forward to next season and to work with Mark and our staff to ensure a smooth transition.”
“From the moment I arrived on campus, Andy has provided me with wonderful friendship and counsel in all areas of the department,” said Jackson. “I look forward to continuing to lean on him throughout this transition with football and beyond. We are both in complete agreement on having Mark Ferrante take over the reins of the football program and build upon the impressive foundation that Andy has established.”
“I would like to thank President Father Peter Donohue and his administration, our Athletic Director Mark Jackson, and obviously Coach Talley for having the faith and confidence in me to become the next head coach of this great football program,” said Ferrante. “I am extremely honored and privileged to be given the opportunity to be Andy Talley’s successor. I will be forever grateful to Coach for not only convincing me to get into the profession of college coaching, but for having the belief in me to lead this fine program that he built from scratch.”
As Villanova’s head football coach, Talley has put together a Hall of Fame career throughout his 31 years at the University. The winningest coach in school history, Talley’s record on the Main Line currently stands at an impressive 221-133-1. During his Wildcat career, Talley has guided Villanova to 11 NCAA playoff appearances, six conference championships, three Lambert Meadowlands Cups, three ECAC Team of the Year awards, three national semifinal appearances and the 2009 national championship. In addition to winning the Eddie Robinson Award in 1997 as the nation’s top coach at the FCS level, Talley has twice been named the AFCA National Coach of the Year and the AFCA Region Coach of the Year on three occasions.
In addition to the great teams he has built, Talley has developed impressive student-athletes as evidenced by the three Walter Payton Award winners (given to the top player in FCS football), one Jerry Rice Award honoree (given to the top freshman in FCS football), 15 first team All-Americans, 233 All-Conference performers, 62 All-East honorees and 20 Academic All-Americans he has coached at Villanova.
The 2009 season was a special season for Talley as he led the Wildcats to a 14-1 record and the FCS National Championship. Villanova earned the title with a thrilling 23-21 win over previously undefeated Montana. Villanova also won the 2009 CAA championship with a 7-1 league mark and were awarded the Lambert Meadowlands Trophy, the ECAC Team of the Year and the Wanamaker Award which is given to the athlete, team or organization that has done the most to reflect credit upon the city of Philadelphia.
On October 24, 2009, Talley became the 55th coach in NCAA history to reach the 200 win plateau when his Wildcats defeated the University of Rhode Island by a score of 36-7. Talley is already the all-time coaching leader for conference wins in the history of the CAA with 136 league victories.
Before coming to Villanova, Talley served as the head football coach at St. Lawrence University, where in 1982, he led St. Lawrence to the Division III Lambert-Meadowlands Trophy as the top team in the East. That year, Talley was named the AFCA/Kodak Division III Region I Coach of the Year, as well as the Metropolitan New York Sportswriters/ECAC Coach of the Year. His 36-year overall coaching record currently stands at a gaudy 249-151-2. The 249 career victories rank him eighth on the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) active coaching list and he rates 21st in career winning percentage at .618.
Ferrante has been a Villanova assistant for the last 29 years, including 17 seasons as the program’s Assistant Head Coach. Besides serving as Andy Talley’s right-hand man, Ferrante has coached the Wildcat offensive line for 26 seasons. During his Villanova coaching career, Ferrante has coached 11 All-East performers, 15 first team All-Conference players, three All-Americans and a second round NFL draft pick. He has also helped guide the Wildcats to 11 NCAA playoff berths, six conference titles, three national semifinal appearances and the 2009 National Championship.
In December, 2015, Ferrante was named the FCS Assistant Coach of the Year by The American Football Coaches Association (AFCA). The Assistant Coach of the Year Award was first presented in 1997 and was created to honor assistant coaches who excel in community service, commitment to the student-athlete, on-field coaching success and AFCA professional organization involvement.
Joining the Villanova staff in February, 1987, Ferrante was already familiar with Talley’s philosophy having played quarterback for him before joining his coaching staff at St. Lawrence University. As a player, Ferrante was team captain of the 1982 St. Lawrence team that finished 10-1 and made it to the Division III national semifinals. In 1982, Ferrante was named the Division III Player of the Year, as well as earning first team All-East honors.