2013 COACHING STAFF
Mike Whalen - Head
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Beginning his long-standing collegiate coaching career at his alma
mater in 1983-84 as an assistant coach in both football and
wrestling, Mike Whalen, a 1983 Wesleyan graduate, returned to the
Cardinal staff to become head football coach and associate athletics
director in April, 2010. Now in his fourth season at the helm of Cardinal football, Mike moves into his second year as the college's athletics director. He is the only athletics director in the NESCAC who also serves as a head coach.
Mike had been head coach at Williams College for six
seasons (2004-09) with a cumulative record of 38-10, leading the Ephs to only
their sixth undefeated season (8-0) in 2006. He won four Little
Three titles and had a perfect 6-0 mark against Wesleyan.
Along with being named the 2006 NESCAC Coach of the
Year, Mike is the recipient of many coaching honors, including
selection as a finalist for the prestigious 2006 Liberty Mutual
Coach of the Year Award, which is presented to the nation’s top
coach in all divisions. Mike was the only Division III coach among
the 16 finalists. He has also received the Johnny Vaught Head
Coaching Award from the All-American Football Foundation and was
named the Master Sports University/College Coach of the Year.
Mike had at least one Eph offensive lineman named All-NESCAC
first team every season. He has coached the only player in NESCAC
and ECAC New England history to win back-to-back Offensive Player of
the Year awards. Continuing the strong tradition at Wesleyan, Mike coached former Wesleyan captain Nick Seara '11 to a first-team all-NESCAC selection at center in 2010, and 2012 and 2013 team captain Jake Sheffer '14 was first team in both 2011 and 2012 as an offensive lineman.
Before being appointed head coach at Williams, Mike
served as an assistant football coach there for eight years, first
as offensive line coach for five years and then as the offensive
line coach and offensive coordinator for three years. Mike also
served as the head wrestling coach at Williams from 1996 until 2004.
As the head coach of Williams wrestling, Mike had 36
All-New England performers. In 2000 he was named New England College
Conference Wrestling Association (now the New England Wrestling
Association, NEWA) Coach of the Year for leading Williams to a
second place finish among the 15 teams in the region. The NEWA named
Mike the Rookie Coach of the Year in 1997 as well, and he has since
been inducted into the NEWA Hall of Fame.
While an undergraduate at Wesleyan, Mike captained the
football team, earning All-New England recognition three times and honorable-mention All-America honors as an offensive lineman. He was
also a captain of the wrestling team, a four-time all-New England
wrestling honoree as a heavyweight, and the first wrestler to win
four consecutive NEWA titles. He qualified for the NCAA Division III
Championships each of his four years.
Mike’s coaching career began at Wesleyan during the
1983-84 academic year when he served as as an assistant defensive
line coach and assistant wrestling coach. He went on to Springfield
College in 1984 where he served as a graduate assistant in both
football and wrestling while earning a master’s in physical
education. Upon completing his degree requirements at Springfield,
Mike joined the staff at the University of Pennsylvania, and the
1986 Quakers went undefeated and won the Ivy League title. From Penn,
Mike moved on to Lafayette College, where the Leopards won the
Colonial League title in 1988 and the Patriot League title in 1989.
In 1993, Mike went to Colgate University, where he was the Associate
Head Coach and offensive line coach for the Red Raiders.
Mike resides in Durham with his wife, Karen, and two sons, Jake (19), currently a first-year football candidate at Brown University, and Luke (17), a senior at Cogichaug High School.
Dan DiCenzo - Associate Head Coach
(Defensive Coordinator & Defensive Backs)
Dan DiCenzo, formerly the head wrestling coach and assistant
football coach at Williams College, joined the Wesleyan
University coaching staff as associate head football coach and
defensive coordinator for the 2010 season and is now in his fourth campaign in 2013.
Dan, a 2001 graduate of Williams College where he
excelled in football and wrestling, coached at Williams for six
seasons including three as head wrestling coach. Earning all-NESCAC
football honors as well as all-New England honors on the mats as an
undergraduate, Dan served as a team captain of both sports and
received the Purple Key Award for 2000-01 as the top male athlete at
the college. Before returning to Williams for the 2004 football
campaign, Dan had coaching stints at both Trinity College, where he
is working on his master's degree, and Brown University.
As head wrestling coach at Williams, Dan led the Ephs
to national prominance over his last several seasons, culminating in
both the New England Wrestling Association (NEWA) Duals team
championship and a NEWA tournament title in 2009-10. The NEWA
tournament title was his second in a row. His team was ranked 15th
nationally heading into the NCAA Division III Championships in March, 2010. His squad finished in a tie for 23rd nationally during
the NCAAs. Over his three seasons in charge of the Eph matmen, Dan
amassed a cumulative dual-match record of 50-16-1.
A part of the Williams football staff throughout the
head coaching career of Mike Whalen, Dan was on the defensive side
of the ball, handling defensive backs. Nine of the players under his
tutelage earned all-NESCAC recognition.
In addition to his football coaching assignment, Dan assists Wesleyan head wrestling coach Drew Black in his duties
as the athletic department's strength and conditioning coach. He also served as tournament director for both the 2011 and 2012 NEWA Championships, the former hosted by Trinity and the latter by Wesleyan. Dan resides in Portland, Conn.
A tremendous veteran coaching talent whose prior assignments featured
a 12-year stint as head football coach at Yale University
(1997-2008), Jack Siedlecki joined the Cardinal football staff as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2010. He directs the attack for a fourth time in 2013.
Named New England Coach of the Year after guiding the
Bulldogs to a 9-1 mark in 2007, Jack compiled a 70-49 overall mark
at Yale. Prior to his years with the Elis, Jack was head
football coach at Amherst College for four seasons, directing the
Lord Jeffs to a 20-11-1 mark from 1993-96 after inheriting a team
that went 0-8 in 1992. In 1996, Jack's charges tied for the
best record in the NESCAC with a 7-1 posting. Before arriving
at Amherst, Jack handled the head coaching duties at WPI from
1988-1992. His squads there enjoyed four winning campaigns and
an overall record of 36-11-1. In 1992, he was named AFCA
District Coach of the Year as he helped the Engineers to a 9-2
overall record and a spot in the NCAA Division III tournament. His 1990 squad posted the first undefeated season in WPI history with an 8-0-1 record. Thus, Jack's 22-year head
coaching record is an outstanding 126-67-2.
Jack is a 1974 graduate of Union College and played both football and
baseball for the Dutchmen. He also had experience as a
coach/player in semi-pro football with the Glove City Colonials in New
York after graduating from Union. His initial college coaching
experience came in 1976 as an assistant at the University of Albany
(1976-79). Before taking over at WPI in 1988, Jack served as
an assistant at Wagner (1980) and Lafayette (1981-87). Jack lives in Madison, Conn. with his wife, Nancy. His daughter, Amy, is a Wesleyan assistant women's lacrosse coach and a graduate of Williams College.
Jeff McDonald - Assistant
Coach (Linebackers & Special Teams - Recruiting Coordinator)
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Jeff McDonald returns for his fifth season on the Cardinal coaching staff for 2013 after coming on board for the first time in 2009 by coaching the secondary. Once again this year, Jeff will direct the linebackers and special teams while also serving as recruiting coordinator.
Under Jeff's direction last year, Prince Emenalo '13 and Jake Sicilano '14 led the team in tackles, while placekicker Sebastian Aguirre '14 tied atop the NESCAC standings for points scored as a kicker, and tied the program record for field goals in a season with eight.
In 2008 Jeff served as the defensive coordinator for Towson University in arguably the best FCS conference in the country. Working with a young defense, which at times had six freshman on the field, Jeff led the group to a #2 national ranking in red-zone defense and had two players named to the all-CAA squad.
From 2002-07, Jeff served as an assistant football coach at Yale University. Coaching the defensive ends/outside linebackers, he helped the Bulldogs win the Ivy League Championship in 2006 while coaching six all-league players. The 2007 Yale defense become the #1 scoring defense in the FCS. Jeff also was the recruiting coordinator for Yale, overseeing the Elis' national recruiting efforts.
The veteran coach also has spent time coaching the linebackers at Central Connecticut State U. (spring of 2009) and the University of New Hampshire (2001). His college coaching career began at Quincy University (NCAA Division II) in Illinois where he served in a number of different roles including defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator for the Hawks. Jeff received his master’s degree in 2004 from Quincy.
Upon graduating from the University of South Florida in 1995, Jeff taught history and coached football at Ridgewood High School in New Port Richey, Fla.
McDonald has led the team in its drive to get involved in the Middletown community. The team has partnered with local schools, mentoring their students and adding extra supervision during recess. In both 2011 and 2012, more than 100 students from Woodside Intermediate School attended "Recess at Wesleyan", a chance for select third- through fifth-grade students to participate in activities with Wesleyan athletes. In 2013, MacDonough School attended "Recess."
Jeff also is a co-advisor for Wesleyan’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee. Jeff is active with the local United Way chapter and is a member of the United Way’s Community Impact Team for Positive Youth Development. Jeff helped with the athletic department's involvement in "Middletown Day," held most successfully Sat., Sept. 21, 2013.
Within the athletic department, Jeff recently added the title of Assistant Director for Operations and Facilities. In this role, McDonald works with the department’s coaching interns and supports operations and facility development.
In conjunction with the magazine American Football Monthly, Jeff has a monthly blog on defensive football techniques and is a regular clinic speaker for the annual Nike Coach of the Year Clinics.
Jeff, who grew up in Jupiter, Florida, now lives in Middletown with his wife, the former Rebecca Lieser, and their rescued greyhound, Blitzen.
Joe Giaimo returns for his third season on the Cardinal coaching staff after graduating in 2011 from Wesleyan with a degree in Economics. A two sport captain and letterman in both football and baseball, Joe served as a team captain in Coach Whalen’s first year as head coach. On the gridiron, Joe played both QB and HBack and on the diamond, he pitched and played both first base and outfield for the Cardinals. Joe was selected by the conference head baseball coaches to the 2011 and 2012 All-NESCAC 1st Team and 2012 D3baseball.com All-New England Team. In his senior year Joe was awarded the Thomas Eck Award for outstanding commitment to the football program and was a two-time MacNaughten Award recipient for outstanding achievement in baseball. For the spring of his senior year the academic deans selected Joe to lead a self-designed course entitled "Strategies of Leadership", where he guided his peers to study different forms of leadership and brought in top leaders from across campus to discuss their leadership styles.
Joe serves as an Assistant Director for the Wesleyan Fund in University Relations where he serves as the fundraising coordinator for the classes of 2002-2012, organizes the 5th and 10th Reunions, travels to Boston, New York City, and Washington, D.C. for alumni functions, and is part of a $10.25 million annual fundraising campaign for financial aid and university operating expenses. Since starting his coaching career in the fall of 2011 two of his players under his mentorship have earned All-NESCAC recognition, which includes Kevin Hughes, a 2013 quad-captain. Currently in pursuit of a master’s degree from Wesleyan, Joe graduated from Watchung Hills Regional High School in Warren, New Jersey where he was a two sport captain and All-County player in both football and baseball and recipient of the Somerset County Scholar Athlete award.
Eric Ludwig - Assistant
Coach (Offensive Line)
Eric Ludwig joined the Cardinal coaching staff in 2012 after serving as the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at New York Maritime College. He is now in his second year in 2013. In two seasons as offensive coordinator at NY Maritime, Eric helped the Privateers go 18-3 and make an appearance in the NCAA Division III Playoffs. In his three seasons as offensive line coach, Eric coached nine all-conference lineman. Maritime led the nation in both 2009 and 2010 in fewest sacks allowed and finished the 2009 season nationally ranked fourth in rushing offense. Eric also spent time as the recruiting coordinator and strength and conditioning coach at Maritime.
Prior to his stint at Maritime, Eric was the offensive line coach at Springfield College for two seasons. In 2007 Springfield was ranked second in the nation for fewest sacks allowed and third in rushing offense. Before arriving at Springfield, Eric coached the tight ends for Williams College under current Wesleyan Head Coach Mike Whalen. The 2006 Ephs finished 8-0 in NESCAC play.
A 2006 graduate of Williams College, Eric was a captain of the 2005 squad and earned All-NESCAC, All-ECAC, and All-America honors as an offensive lineman. He was selected to play in the Aztec Bowl, a Division III All-Star game played between the United States and Mexico.
Eric and his wife Rachel, an assistant athletics director at Wesleyan, currently reside in Portland, Conn.
Matt Coyne - Assistant
Matt Coyne joined the Wesleyan coaching staff in 2012 after spending the previous two
seasons as the starting quarterback for the Cardinals. A junior
transfer from Williams College, Matt, who grew up in nearby Bristol,
Conn., was a three-sport standout in high school. During the 2010
season, Coyne led a Wesleyan offense which produced 188 points, the
program's highest offensive output since 1999. Matt also served as one
of the team captains in 2011 and received the Thomas Eck award his
senior year, signifying outstanding devotion to the team and the game of
football at Wesleyan. Matt earned his degree in psychology and is now an athletic department intern.
Shea Dwyer - Assistant
Coach (Running Backs)
Shea Dwyer is a 2010 graduate of Wesleyan who went on to receive his MALS from the University in 2013. A four-year football letterman, Shea had a landmark season at running back for the Cardinals in 2010 as he led the NESCAC with a school-record 1,242 rushing yards and set a single-game Wesleyan rushing record with 255 yards in a victory over Colby. He ranked fourth nationally in Division III in 2010 and was a finalist for the Gagliardi Trophy, the equivalent of the Heisman Trophy for Division III. Shea was first-team all-NESCAC, all-ECAC, a New England Football Writers Division II/III all-star and a D3football.com third-team All-American. He was twice named NESCAC Player of the Week and received a weekly Gold Helmet from the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston. He concluded his four years on the field with 1,934 career rushing yards and 20 TDs. After graduation, Shea has had stints of assistant football coaching and teaching at both RHAM High School in Hebron and Xavier High School in Middletown.
Shea is a 2006 graduate of Xavier where he had experience on both sides of the ball as a receiver/running back and defensive back.
Raj Jaswal - Assistant
Coach (Defensive Line)
Raj Jaswal began his first season on the Wesleyan staff in 2012 and now serves as defensive line coach in 2013. Raj is a Yale University graduate where he played football for four years as a member of the offensive line. Raj had been the offensive and defensive line coach and worked with the long snappers for 10 years at nearby Xavier High School. During his time at Xavier, the Falcons had three undefeated state championship teams.
Raj graduated from Yale with a degree in biology and received his MBA from the University of Connecticut.
A native of Kansas City, Mo., Raj now lives in Middletown.
Justin Freres - Assistant
Justin Freres joins the football coaching staff at Wesleyan for his initial season in 2013 after spending both the 2012 and 2013 spring campaigns with Cardinal baseball coaching staff. Justin enjoyed an amazing career as both a football and baseball captain. A 2011 Wesleyan graduate, Justin was a four-year starter at safety and linebacker for the Cardinal football team. He was a force in the NESCAC as he was named all-NESCAC twice. Justin also was the 2011 Luke Yohan Award winner in football as the senior team member who stepped up his game during Little Three contests. He also had great success as a starting outfielder for the Cardinals, culminating in his senior spring hitting .308 with four home runs. For his energy, commitment and leadership, he was honored with a share of the team's prestigious MacNaughten Award for baseball excellence, which he shared with his fellow seniors.
Justin, who will earn his MALS degree from Wesleyan this coming spring, is currently a business analyst for Travelers in Hartford, a position he has held for one year. He began his business career as an intern with Travelers in 2012.
A 2007 graduate of San Marcos High School in Santa Barbara, Calif., he was named to the prestigious North-South All-Star classic featuring the top football players in California.
Morgan Hanson - Assistant
Morgan Hanson joins the Cardinal coaching staff as a student assistant in 2013. A four-year letterwinner for the Cardinals on the defensive line, Morgan racked up 23 tackles, 3.5 of them for a loss, with three blocked kicks in 2011 and followed it up with a 37-tackle performance in 2012 with 4.5 tackles for a loss and two sacks. For his effort, Morgan was named "most improved lineman" his senior season. An American history major at Wesleyan, Morgan is due to graduate in December.
A native of Richmond, Calif., Morgan attended St. Mary's College High School where he began his football career as a sophomore.