Logo: Wesleyan Athletics

2014 COACHING STAFF

Mike Whalen - Head Coach

(860)  685-2908 - mwhalen@wesleyan.edu

 

Mike Whalen '83, Head Coach     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 fifth season at the helm of Cardinal football, Mike moves into his third 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 for three straight seasons (2011 2012 and 2013) 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 (20), currently a sophomore at Brown University, and Luke (18), a graduate of Coginchaug High School.

 
Dan DiCenzo - Associate Head Coach (Defensive Coordinator & Defensive Backs)
(860)  685-3012 - ddicenzo@wesleyan.edu

Dan DiCenzo, Associate Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator     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 fifth campaign in 2014.
     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, and the Northeast Regional Tournament hosted by Wesleyan in 2014.  Dan resides in Portland, Conn.

 
Jack Siedlecki - Assistant Coach (Offensive Coordinator & Quarterbacks)
(860)  685-3198 - jsiedlecki@wesleyan.edu

Jack Siedlecki, Offensive Coordinator     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 fifth time in 2014.
     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.  They have three children, two daughters and a son.

 
Jeff McDonald - Assistant Coach (Linebackers & Special Teams - Recruiting Coordinator)
(860)  685-2909 - jmcdonald@wesleyan.edu
 

Jeff McDonald, Linebackers and Special Teams Coach      Jeff McDonald returns for his sixth season on the Cardinal coaching staff for 2014 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, Alex Daversa-Russo '16 led the team in tackles and Myers Beaird '14 was a second-team all-NESCAC pick, while placekicker Sebastian Aguirre '14 was also named second-team all-NESCAC and set program records for consecutive PATs (27) and seasonal field goals (9).
     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 and 2014, 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.  This activity will take place again on Oct. 18, 2014.
     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 infant daughter, Olivia.

 
Eric Ludwig - Assistant Coach  (Offensive Line)

Eric Ludwig, assistant coach     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 third year at Wesleyan in 2014.  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 Coach  (Receivers)

mfcoyne@wesleyan.edu

Matt Coyne, assistant coach     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, Matt led a Wesleyan offense which produced 188 points, the program's highest offensive output in 11 years at the time. 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. He will add the duty of assistant coach for the tennis teams during the spring, 2015.

 
Justin Freres - Assistant Coach  (Secondary)

Justin Freres, assistant coach     Justin Freres joined the football coaching staff at Wesleyan for his initial season in 2013 and returns for 2014 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 earned his MALS degree from Wesleyan this past spring, is currently a business analyst for Travelers in Hartford, a position he has held for two years.  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.

 
Sean Stanley - Assistant Coach  (Defensive Line)

Sean Stanley, assistant coach     Sean Stanley joins the football coaching staff at Wesleyan for his initial season in 2014.  Sean played high school football in Gaithersburg, Md. where he earned all-state, all-county and all-conference honors at Gaithersburg HS. He also received three Washington Post first-team All-Met accolades. From there he went on to be a four-year letterwinner at Penn State (2009-2012), playing defensive end. Sean started over 20 games for the Nittany Lions and racked up 46 tackles, 10.5 of them for a loss and 5.5 sacks in his senior season.  After trying to pursue a pro football career in the spring of 2013, he went back to Penn State to finish his degree in criminal justice and coached with their defensive line under Larry Johnson, his former coach for the 2013 season.


Elijah Weeks - Assistant Coach  (Running Backs)

Elijah Weeks, assistant coach     Elijah Weeks joins the Wesleyan‪ football coaching staff for the first time in 2014. For the past five years, Elijah has taught and coached at a number of secondary institutions honing his coaching skills both on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. Most recently his work at the Asheville School in North Carolina helped send his team to its first state championship game in the school's history. In addition to being a coach and student of the game, Elijah brings invaluable NESCAC experience to the Wesleyan coaching staff as a Williams College graduate. At Williams Elijah was a two-year starter at the tailback position, contributing to an undefeated season in 2006, and holds the record for longest kickoff return for a touchdown at the school. Besides playing and coaching football, Elijah also worked on the Sunday Night Football Team at NBC Sports alongside Bob Costa and Andrea Kramer, using his football knowledge and expertise to help coordinate logistics behind the scene during the show. ‬