Patricia and Shepard Alexander Head Coach of Football
Al Bagnoli, a nine-time Ivy League Football Champion and the all-time winningest head coach in NCAA Football Championship Subdivision history, was named Columbia’s Patricia and Shepard Alexander Head Coach of Football on February 23, 2015.
Bagnoli came to Columbia after 23 years at the University of Pennsylvania, where he totaled a 148-80 overall record and 112-49 record in the Ivy League. His Penn teams won nine Ivy League Championships, including six undefeated conference marks (1993, 1994, 2002, 2003, 2009, 2010) and three perfect seasons (10-0 in 1993 and 2003, 9-0 in 1994).
“Al Bagnoli is one of the most successful coaches to ever work in the Ivy League," said Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Peter Pilling. "He is a proven winner whose record speaks for itself -- and who teaches his student-athletes to win on the field, in the classroom and in life. We are thrilled that he has decided to commit his widely admired leadership to building the long-term success of Columbia Football.”
Bagnoli made an immediate impact in his first year at the helm, guiding Columbia to a win over Wagner and breaking the programs 24-game losing streak. The 2015 Lions had eight representatives on the All-Ivy League team, while Columbia also saw a win at Yale.
Between 2009-2012, Penn won three of four Ivy League titles outright – a feat which had not been accomplished since 1977-80, but Bagnoli has done twice since 2000. He is the only coach in Ivy League history to win back-to-back undefeated Ivy League titles and he has done so three separate times.
“It is with great appreciation and excitement that I begin a new chapter in my coaching life at Columbia,” said Bagnoli. “I am very grateful to have been chosen to represent one of our nation's premier academic institutions that is also committed to excellence in athletics. I eagerly await the opportunity to work alongside a talented group of student athletes, a passionate alumni base and a dedicated university administration.”
In 32 years as a head coach, Bagnoli currently stands at 232-91. His career winning percentage (71.8%) is third among active FCS coaches.
During his tenure at Penn, Bagnoli built winning records against all seven Ivy League teams. He has coached more than 186 All-Ivy League players, including seven first-team All-Americans, four NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship winners, two Ivy League Rookie of the Year, five Asa A. Bushnell Cup winners as the Ivy League’s Most Valuable Player, three players drafted to the National Football League and 14 NFL free agents.
Paul Ferraro Defensive Coordinator/Assistant Head Coach
Paul Ferraro joined the Lions in March 2015 as their defensive coordinator. Prior to Columbia, Ferraro spent the previous two seasons at Maine and was on NFL coaching staffs from 2005-11.
The Columbia defense was one of the best in the country under Ferraro in 2015, ranking 11th in the FCS in total defense at 291.1 yards per game, and 18th in scoring defense at 19.8 points a game. The Lions held opponents to 13 points or less four times, as five defensive players earned All-Ivy League honors, led by defensive linemen Toba Akinleye (first team), Niko Padilla (second team) and Chad Washington (second team).
Darin Edwards Defensive Line Coach
Darin Edwards comes to Columbia in March 2015 to coach the defensive line. Edwards spent the past year in the Bronx, coaching the defensive line at Fordham. Before Fordham, Edwards spent seven years with the Sacred Heart football program.
Columbia had arguably the top defensive line in the conference during 2015 season, as three Lions earned All-Ivy League accolades. Edwards coached Toba Akinleye to first team all-conference honors, while Niko Padilla and Chad Washington were second team All-Ivy League representatives. Line play was crucial in a Columbia defense that ranked 11th in the FCS in total defense at 291.1 yards per game, 18th in scoring defense at 19.8 points a game, and held opponents to 13 points or less four times.
Jon Poppe Secondary Coach/Recruiting Coordinator
Jon Poppe joined the Columbia football staff in March 2015 as the secondary coach and recruiting coordinator. Poppe spent the previous four seasons coaching the defensive backs at Harvard.
The Columbia secondary proved to be one of the toughest to throw against in the Ivy League, leading the conference with 187.7 passing yards allowed per game. With a hand from the defensive backfield, the Lions ranked 11th in the FCS in total defense at 291.1 yards per game, and 18th in scoring defense at 19.8 points a game. Poppe coached two defensive backs that earned All-Ivy League honors, as both safety/cornerback Matthew Cahal and cornerback Jared Katz found a spot on the honorable mention team, while safety Travis Reim was tied for fifth in the conference with three interceptions.
Justin Stovall Linebackers Coach/Special Teams Coordinator
Justin Stovall came to Columbia in March 2015 to coach the linebackers and will also coordinate the special teams units.
Two Columbia linebackers were among the top-20 tacklers in the Ivy League during the 2015 season, as Christian Conway and Keith Brady both put up 57 tackles on the year. Stovall also tutored a punter to All-Ivy League honors, as Cameron Nizialek was the second best punter in the conference with a 42.8 yard average, while also going 8-for-14 on field goals.
Mark Fabish Offensive Coordinator/Tight ends
Mark Fabish came to Columbia in March 2015 as the associate head coach/wide receivers coach. The former Penn football standout spent six years on the Quakers' coaching staff, with his first four seasons coaching tight ends, and his last two as the passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach.
After winning two Ivy titles as a player at Penn in 1993 and 1994, Fabish has helped guide the Quakers to three Ivy championships in five years as a coach.
Todd Gilcrist Wide Receivers
Todd Gilcrist was added to the Columbia staff in March 2015 to coach the running backs. Gilcrist comes to Columbia after spending the 2014 season at Carnegie Mellon as the wide receivers coach, while also overseeing video editing and recruiting.
The 2015 season saw a resurgence in the run game, with senior Cameron Molina earning first team All-Ivy League honors. Gilcrist coached up the running back who ran for 805 yards on the season, leading the conference in rushing yards during Ivy League play.
Jon Mclaughlin Offensive Line/Associate Head Coach
Jon McLaughlin was named offensive line coach and run game coordinator in March 2015. McLaughlin comes to Columbia after nine years at the University of Pennsylvania as the offensive line coach, while also serving as the offensive coordinator his last six seasons with the Quakers.
The Lions running game was on display in 2015, as McLaughlin help produce two All-Ivy League selections. Running back Cameron Molina was a first team honoree after leading the conference in rushing during league games. Molina had lead blocking from senior offensive lineman Billy Lawrence, who earned a spot on the honorable mention All-Ivy League team.
John Audino Running Backs/Pass Game Coordinator
Audino spent the past 24 seasons as the head coach at Union, replacing the current Patricia and Shepard Alexander Head Coach of Football, Al Bagnoli, in the 1992 season after Bagnoli left the Dutchmen to take over at Penn. The former running back at Notre Dame took the Dutchmen to the D-III playoffs five times, and led the team to four Liberty League titles during his tenure.
Altogether, Audino posted the most wins in school history with a record of 152-89, winning eight or more games on nine different occasions. Throughout his time at Union, Audino coached 16 All-Americans, including Gagliardi Trophy finalists Noah Joseph (2012, linebacker), John Peters (2009, linebacker), Tom Arcidiacono (2005, running back), and Marco Lainez (1993, linebacker). He coached a total of 145 Liberty League all-academic student athletes, and 146 all-conference players.
Ricky Santos Quarterbacks Coach
Santos spent the 2013-15 seasons at the University of New Hampshire as the wide receiver coach and punt return coordinator. During his time with the Wildcats, the team advanced to the FCS Playoffs all three years, as he helped UNH to a 29-12 record.
On the sidelines, Santos helped to advance the career of R.J. Harris, a two-time All-CAA wideout, who garnered first team AP All-American honors and was a Walter Payton Award finalist after breaking a conference record with 4,328 career yards, to go along with 36 career touchdowns.