It was officially announced on Wednesday afternoon that Andy Talley, long-time football head coach of the Wildcats, will retire at the end of the upcoming 2016 season.
“It has been a privilege to be the head football coach at Villanova University for the last 31 years,” Talley said. “The Villanova administration has always been forward thinking and supportive as we built the program to a national level. Academics, character and achievement on the field has always been the foundation upon which we built the program.”
In his 31 years as the football program’s head coach, he compiled a record of 221-133-1.
His post-season accomplishments are just as impressive: 11 NCAA play-off appearances, three national semi-final appearances, and a national championship in 2009.
Talley has also garnered many awards for his coaching performance, including two AFCA Coach of the Year awards and three AFCA Region Coach of the Year awards.
Under his leadership, there have been three Walter Payton Award Winners, and one Jerry Rice Award recipient.
He has also coached 15 first team All-Americans, over 200 All-Conference players, 62 All-East honorees and 20 Academic All-Americans.
The plethora of success hadn’t always been there. In fact, he built the entire football program from scratch once he rebooted the football program in 1984.
“When I got here there were no offices, players, or coaches,” Talley said. “There was nothing.”
Now, the program is one that is recognized at the national level in the FCS and as a member of one of its best conferences in the CAA.
“I have been extremely fortunate to work with hall of fame caliber coaches throughout my career and Andy stands out amongst that group”, said Athletic Director Mark Jackson. “He stands out not only because of his many wins, championships, and outstanding academic achievement his teams have secured over the last four decades, Andy stands out for all that he does off the field.”
In addition to his accomplishments within the football program, Talley was recognized for his off the field accomplishments as well, especially his heavy involvement in the American Bone Marrow Foundation.
In 1992, he founded the Andy Talley “Be the Match” Bone Marrow Foundation. To date, the foundation has identified 52,000 potential marrow donors across 50 universities nation-wide. It’s something that he cherishes and continues to keep up even after retirement.
“As far as the foundation is concerned with the bone marrow, I am so committed to saving lives that it’s something I almost can’t do,” he said. “We can save lives if I can do just one more thing. I’m addicted. I need to do this because I can, and I have the strength of college football. It has amazing strength. Mark [Ferrante] is on my board and I hope he will continue to process and use the good name of Villanova”.
Although Talley is retiring from his head football coach position, his involvement in Villanova athletics will continue into 2017. Once he steps down from his post as head coach, he will serve as a special assistant to Mark Jackson in the athletics department.
Succeeding Talley is his long-time offensive line coach Mark Ferrante.
Ferrante, the 2015 AFCA Assistant Coach of Year, has been one of Talley’s long standing assistant coaches. He played quarterback at St. Lawrence University, where Talley was the head coach at the time.
Upon graduation, Ferrante became one of Talley’s assistant coaches at St. Lawrence briefly in 1983. He rejoined Talley in 1987, after coaching gigs at Wagner and Lafayette.
He has been Talley’s right-hand man ever since.
“I really didn’t have a plan for my future beyond graduation”, said Ferrante. Coach (Talley) is truly the most significant person in my life who has convinced me into coaching college football and I joined his staff immediately after graduation in the spring of 1983″.
As a coach of the offensive line, he’s seen numerous All-Conference and even some All-Americans during his time at Villanova.
One of his best players that he helped produce is offensive tackle Ben Ijalana, the a first round pick of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts.
“Mark understands Villanova culture and is excited to take on the challenge of following Andy’s footsteps,” Jackson said. “Mark will do it in his own way with his own style, but the core principles that make out football program great both on and off the field will be in good hands under Mark’s leadership.
Ferrante is eager, but knows that it isn’t his job just yet. He’s already looking forward to next season.
“I would like to say I am extremely excited about this 2016 season, with Coach Talley being our leader,” he said. “I’m equally excited and perhaps a little nervous about becoming the 30th head coach here at Villanova in the 30th year that I’ll be on this campus as a member of this community”.