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What you need to know for 01/23/2017

Danes select Gattuso to follow Ford

Danes select Gattuso to follow Ford

The new University at Albany head football coach played and coached at the highest levels of the gam

The new University at Albany head football coach played and coached at the highest levels of the game. Both will come in handy as he becomes only the second head coach in the Great Danes’ 41-year varsity history.

Greg Gattuso, who not only played for the 1982 Penn State national championship team but also was a top assistant coach at both Pittsburgh and Maryland, as well as the head coach at Duquesne for 12 seasons, will be introduced at today’s 3:30 p.m. press conference at SEFCU Arena’s Hall of Fame Room. Gattuso, who signed a five-year contract, takes over for Bob Ford, who retired last month after 41 varsity seasons and 44 overall. Ford, who started the program as a club team in 1970, led the Great Danes through all three NCAA divisions.

“Coach Gattuso is a proven winner who will sustain the legacy created by Bob Ford,” said athletic director Lee McElroy in a UAlbany press release. “His values of integrity, academic excellence, comm­unity service and humility reflect the university’s commitment to quality. Coach Gattuso impressed everyone during the search process with his energy, vision, enthusiasm and understanding of the core values of the University at Albany.”

Gattuso can’t wait to begin his new assignment.

“I am fired up to meet the kids and get started,” said the 51-year-old Gattuso. “I feel the BCS training has sharpened my leadership skills, and I am excited to be a head coach again. The sense of community surrounding UAlbany has really impressed me, and I look forward to having my family be a part of it.”

As Maryland’s defensive line coach for the last three seasons, Gattuso coached current New England Patriots lineman and Christian Brothers Academy graduate Joe Vellano, who earned All-America and All-ACC honors.

Gattuso was at Pittsburgh from 2005 through 2010, and helped turn the Panthers’ defense into one of the best in the nation. Pittsburgh led the nation in sacks in 2009, and Gattuso helped develop three Big East Defensive Player of the Year winners: Jabaal Seard, Greg Romeus and Mick Williams.

Prior to his run at Pittsburgh, Gattuso coached at Duquesne from 1993 to 2004. He was the winningest coach in Dukes’ history with a 97-32 record. Duquesne won eight Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference titles and made five bowl appearances, including a victory in the 2003 Mid-Major Division I-AA national championship.

He was a seven-time MAAC Coach of the Year. The Dukes posted a 66-7 league record and at one point won 33 straight conference games.

Gattuso also coached scholast­ically at his alma mater, Seton-LaSalle, and led the Rebels to a 28-10-1 record.

At Penn State, he was a two-time All-East defensive lineman.

Gattuso and his wife, Colleen, have two daughters, Jacqueline (26) and Kaitlin (21).

Gattuso will inherit a UAlbany team that finished 1-11 overall in its first year as a member of the Col­onial Athletic Association.

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