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Reno Announces His First Staff

Reno Announces His First Staff

128 Combined Years of Experience


NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Tony Reno, introduced as the Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach of Football on Jan. 12, announced his nine-man staff today. One member of the previous staff was re-appointed and another returns to his alma mater, while seven of the new Yale coaches will work in New Haven for the first time. Three Bulldog coaches - including Reno - worked at Yale under former coach Jack Siedlecki. The new assistants have a combined 128 years of college coaching experience.

"I am very excited about this group of men. They combine a tough and disciplined approach with an ability to mentor and mold our players," said Reno.




Tony Reno, Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach

Joe Conlin, Associate Head Coach/Run Game Coordinator - OL

Larry Ciotti, Assistant Head Coach - RB

Rick Flanders, Joel E. Smilow '54 Defensive Coordinator - LB

Kevin Morris, Joel E. Smilow '54 Offensive Coordinator - QB

Kevin Cahill, Special Teams Coordinator - WR

Dwayne Wilmot, Recruiting Coordinator - DL

Steve Vashel - DB

Kris Barber '97- TE

Drew Petzing – OLB




Joe Conlin

Associate Head Coach, Run Game Coordinator, Offensive Line

Joe Conlin, who spent the 2011 season helping Harvard win an Ivy title while setting a school scoring record, is Yale's associate head coach, run game coordinator and offensive line coach. Most of Conlin's coaching experience was at FCS power New Hampshire, where he helped the Wildcats to seven straight NCAA playoff appearances from 2004 to 2010.


During his tenure at UNH, Conlin also worked with the defensive line, safeties and special teams for a program that went 65-25 and won one conference championships.


Conlin, a three-year starter at defensive tackle at the University of Pittsburgh, coached the defensive line at West Virginia Tech in 2003, a year after graduating. His Pittsburgh head coach, Walt Harris, selected him as a game captain four times. Conlin earned a degree in administration of justice.


He also gained coaching experience at Greensburg Central Catholic High School from 2002-03 where he worked with the tight ends and defensive ends while also handling strength and conditioning.


Conlin and his wife, Karen, currently reside in Milford, Conn.


Larry Ciotti

Assistant Head Coach, Running Backs

Yale's new running backs coach is not new to the position. Larry Ciotti has 18 years of collegiate coaching experience, having worked primarily as the running backs coach for former Yale head coaches Carm Cozza and Jack Siedecki.

Ciotti, who has not coached since the 2008 season, began at Yale in 1991 and served two seasons as the head coach of the freshman squad.  Since then he helped Rashad Bartholomew '01 become Yale's career rushing leader before he signed with the Tennessee Titans. He also mentored two-time All-Ivy back Robert Carr '05, who surpassed Bartholomew in the record books. He continued the trend by coaching Ivy MVP and All-American Mike McLeod '09, who holds every major rushing record at Yale.

Ciotti, who had an 8-4 record coaching the Bullpups, is a Connecticut high school coaching legend. In 19 seasons (1970-88) as the head coach at Daniel Hand in Madison, Conn., he compiled a 141-41-2 record and won five state titles. Ciotti then served as director of athletics at Hand from 1988 to 1992. In 1993, he was inducted into the Connecticut High School Coaches Hall of Fame.

The captain of the 1965 Southern Connecticut State University football team (graduated in '66), Ciotti earned All-New England and All-Eastern League honors as a center/linebacker. He was inducted into the SCSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1998.

His son, Mike '90, was a center for the 1989 Ivy Champion Bulldogs. Ciotti and his wife, Barbara, reside in Madison. They also have three daughters, Susan, Deanna, and Cathryn and 12 grandchildren.


Rick Flanders

Joel E. Smilow '54 Defensive Coordinator, Linebackers


Rick Flanders, who coached his 15th season at Yale in 2011, returns to the job of defensive coordinator, a position he held under former Yale mentor Jack Siedlecki for 12 seasons. He was promoted to associate head coach in 2007, has been on the staffs of the last three Yale head coaches and has 21 years of experience coaching in the Ancient Eight.


Flanders has handled defensive backs and linebackers during his Yale tenure. Under his watch, Yale was ranked No. 1 in the FCS in scoring defense in 2007 and 2008.


He came to Yale from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was secondary coach for five seasons (1992 to 1996), including Ivy titles in 1993 and 1994. Flanders' defensive backs helped the Penn defense rank nationally in both seasons, including No. 1 in pass efficiency defense for 1994.


Before heading to Philadelphia, Flanders was head coach of the undefeated 1991 Dean (Mass.) Junior College team and was the linebacker and special teams coach at Lafayette from 1987 to 1990.


In 1986 he was the defensive coordinator at American International College, after three seasons as linebacker and defensive back coach at SUNY-Albany, where he also served as head lacrosse coach for one year.


Flanders graduated from the University of Maine in 1979 and earned a master's degree in education from the University at Albany.


A Concord, N.H., native, he and his wife, Wendy, live in Madison and have three children: Ashley, Lindsey and Alexander '14.



Kevin Morris

Joel E. Smilow '54 Offensive Coordinator

Kevin Morris, the former head coach at both the University of Massachusetts (2009 to 2011) and at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (1993 to 1998), brings 26 years of college coaching experience to Yale as its new offensive coordinator. 

Before taking over the Minutemen program in 2009, Morris spent five years - the most successful span in the history of UMass football - as the offensive coordinator. He helped UMass go 43-19, win two conference titles, reach a pair (2006, 2007) of NCAA Tournaments and play in the 2006 national championship contest.

Morris went to UMass from Northeastern University, where he was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for four seasons (2000 to 2003). Morris directed one of the most explosive offensive attacks in the Atlantic 10 Conference, breaking 24 school offensive records in four years. During the 2003 season, the Huskies led the A-10 in total offense (431.8), while ranking second in scoring offense (34.5).

Morris also had assistant coaching jobs at Stony Brook (1999), Union (1991 to 1992), WPI (1988 to 1990) and Albany (1986 to 1987) after graduating from Williams College (1986), where he played quarterback and pitched for the baseball team.

He and his wife, Rebecca, reside in Belchertown with their son, Ryan.

Kevin Cahill

Special Teams Coordinator, Wide Receivers


Kevin Cahill, Yale's new special teams coordinator, spent the last four years as an assistant coach at the University of Maine, the last three working with special teams. He was a three-year starting quarterback at Springfield (Mass.) College, who led the team to two NCAA Playoff appearances.


Cahill also coached the Black Bears' running backs and wide receivers while serving as the director of personnel and the NFL liason. He coached two All-Americans (Jared Turcotte, Jhamal Fluellen) and six all-conference players while at Orono.


A two-year assistant at Murray State, Cahill coached the wide receivers, assisted in the passing game and served as recruiting coordinator for the 2007 and 2008 campaigns. He mentored a pair of All-Ohio Valley Conference players.


Before going to Kentucky, Cahill was a wide receivers coach for Tennessee-Martin for 2004 and 2005, helping the program engineer its first winning season in 13 years.


The new Bulldog staff member also spent time coaching at Maine Maritime Academy (2001) and at Springfield (2002, 2003).


Cahill and his wife, Carah, have two sons, Patrick and Thomas.


Dwayne Wilmot

Recruiting Coordinator, Defensive Line


Dwayne Wilmot, a former star receiver and football captain at the University of Maine, is Yale's new defensive line coach after coaching five seasons at his alma mater and then helping Harvard win a 2011 Ivy championship.


Wilmot was the Black Bears' defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator. His 2006 unit led the nation in rushing defense. Jovan Belcher, a 2008 Colonial Athletic Association Defensive Player-of-the-Year, All-American and Buck Buchanan Award Finalist, was one of three (Mike DeVito, Matt King) Wilmot players to sign as an NFL rookie free agents.


Prior to returning to Orono, Wilmot spent three seasons as the recruiting coordinator and assistant defensive coach at Tennessee-Martin.


A 2001 graduate of Maine with a degree in broadcast journalism, Wilmot finished among the school's top 10 career leaders for receptions and receiving yards. He was signed by the Indianapolis Colts and played in the Arena Football2 League with the 2002 Charleston Swamp Foxes, leading the team with 80 catches, 1,100 yards and 20 touchdowns.


Dwayne and his wife, Barbie, reside in Hamden with their three daughters: Brianna, Mikaella and Chloe.



Steven Vashel

Defensive Backs


Steven Vashel, who has coached football at seven different schools in the Northeast and is a graduate of Springfield College, is Yale's new defensive backs coach.


Vashel spent three years (2009 to 2011) as the defensive backs coach at the University of Maine, where his charges led the Colonial Athletic Association in pass defense in 2011.


He worked with the DBs and kickers at Bucknell for three seasons, from 2006 to 2008. The Lewisburg, Pa., work followed a seven-year (1999-2005) stint as defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator at Bates College.


Vashel also worked at King's College (1995-98), Harvard (1994), Springfield (1992-93) and Trinity (1991), while getting his master's degree in sports management from Springfield in 1994.


Vashel and his wife, Cathy, have two sons, Ethan and Cole.



Kris Barber

Tight Ends


Kris Barber '97, a former Yale quarterback, returns to New Haven as the Bulldogs' tight ends coach. Barber, who spent the majority (2007-10) of his coaching career as the passing game coordinator (one season) and receivers coach at Colorado School of Mines, helped Harvard win a 2011 Ivy title with the second best scoring offense in the FCS during his one year in Boston.


During his four seasons in Colorado he also served as the Orediggers' video coordinator while working with all the pass catchers. Barber helped run a 2009 offense ranked fifth in passing, 13th in first downs and 18th in total offense. The 2010 CSM squad reached the Division II playoffs. He coached eight All-Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference picks in his three years, including the school's single-season and career leader in touchdowns, Adam Saur.


Barber, who served as an assistant football coach for the 1997 United States Coast Guard Academy team, was a player/coach for the Oslo Trolls (Oslo, Norway) in 1997 and the 2002 Arlanda Jets (Stockholm, Sweden).


Barber played for college hall of fame head coach Carm Cozza after two seasons at Fort Scott Community College in Fort Scott, Kan.


Barber, who spent seven years in the investment banking industry, was vice president of two Denver companies between 2003 and 2008.

He and his wife, Elizabeth, and their daughter, Avery, live in Branford.



Drew Petzing

Outside Linebackers


Drew Petzing, a defensive graduate assistant coach on the 2010 and 2011 Boston College football teams, is Yale's outside linebackers coach.


Petzing, who also served as a recruiting assistant for the Eagles, was a volunteer assistant on the 2009 Harvard football staff, helping with video and recruiting while supporting the other coaches.


Prior to his year with the Crimson, Petzing was the student volunteer assistant defensive backs coach at Middlebury College from 2007 to 2009.  He is a 2009 Middlebury graduate who played two seasons as a defensive back but had his career cut short by injuries.


Petzing is a Wellesley (Mass.) High School graduate who captained the football team and earned the Jordan E. Sax Award for character.