Nov. 4, 2011
Center Valley, Pa. - The Patriot League continues its coverage of the Football 25th Anniversary season with a look at the history of head coaches during the League's tenure.
Read all of the history and records of Patriot League head coaches below, along with feature stories for four of the top coaches in League history. You can also vote for the top coach in Patriot League history here
For more coverage, go to the Patriot League Football 25th Anniversary page
Patriot League Head Coaching Honors and Records
Most Wins (1986-2010): 120 - Dick Biddle, Colgate (1996-present)
Most Patriot League Wins (1986-2010): 70 - Dick Biddle, Colgate (1996-present)
Most Patriot League Seasons (1986-2010): 15 - Dick Biddle, Colgate (1996-present
Most Patriot League Titles (1986-2010): 6 - Dick Biddle, Colgate (1997, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2008)
All-Time Patriot League Titles
6 - Dick Biddle, Colgate (1997, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2008)
5 - Mark Duffner, Holy Cross (1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991)
4 - Kevin Higgins, Lehigh (1995, 1998, 1999, 2000)
3 - Frank Tavani, Lafayette (2004, 2005, 2006)
3 - Bill Russo, Lafayette (1988, 1992, 1994)
2 - Andy Coen, Lehigh (2006, 2010)
2 - Pete Lembo, Lehigh (2001, 2004)
1 - Five coaches (Hank Small, Lehigh (1993); Tom Gadd, Bucknell (1996); Dave Clawson, Fordham (2002); Tom Masella, Fordham (2007); Tom Gilmore, Holy Cross (2009)
Patriot League Coach of the Year
4 - Dick Biddle, Colgate (1996, 2003, 2005, 2008); Mark Duffner, Holy Cross (1986, 1987, 1989, 1991)
3 - Bill Russo, Lafayette (1988, 1992, 1994); Kevin Higgins, Lehigh (1995, 1998, 2000)
2 - Tom Gilmore, Holy Cross (2006, 2009); Dave Clawson, Fordham (2001, 2002)
1 - Eight Others (including three active coaches: Frank Tavani, Lafayette (2004); Tom Masella, Fordham (2007); Andy Coen, Lehigh (2010)
Eddie Robinson Award (FCS Coach of the Year)
1987 - Mark Duffner, Holy Cross
1988 - Bill Russo, Lafayette
2001 - Pete Lembo, Lehigh
AFCA Coach of the Year
2003 - Dick Biddle, Colgate
Schutt Sports Coach of the Year
2002 - Dave Clawson, Fordham
As student-athletes come and go every year, college sports become defined by the success and longevity of their head coaches. It has been no different in the Patriot League, with a number of standout coaches presiding over outstanding eras in the League's history.
Colgate's Dick Biddle has the longest tenure and most acclaim among the Patriot League head coaching fraternity. Biddle is in his 16th season with the Raiders in 2011, and has the all-time records for both overall and Patriot League victories, seasons and Patriot League titles with six. He is also tied with four Patriot League Coach of the Year awards, and won the AFCA Coach of the Year honor in 2003 when he led the Raiders to the national championship game. Colgate remains the only Patriot League team to make it to the national title game during that memorable season.
For the Patriot League's question and answer interview with Colgate Head Coach Dick Biddle, go here
If the Patriot League had participated in the postseason at the time, Holy Cross may have won a national title during Mark Duffner's era from 1986-91. The Crusaders did finish as the top team in the national polls during a magical season in 1987, one of five titles in Duffner's six seasons as head coach. He also claimed four Patriot League Coach of the Year awards as well as the inaugural Eddie Robinson Award as the top coach in the nation in 1987.
Mark Duffner spoke with the Patriot League about his time at Holy Cross and what he's been up to since here
Lehigh has enjoyed the most success as a program in Patriot League history, with four different coaches that have led the Mountain Hawks to their nine League championships. Kevin Higgins directed four of those titles in 1995, 1998, 1999 and 2000, leading the Mountain Hawks to perfect regular seasons and postseason victories in both 1998 and 2000. Andy Coen (2006, 2010), Pete Lembo (2001, 2004) and Hank Small (1993) also won championships as all four head coaches in Lehigh's Patriot League era hold League titles and winning overall and Patriot League records.
For an interview with Kevin Higgins, now the head coach at The Citadel, click here
No team has had fewer head coaches in Patriot League history than Lafayette, with Bill Russo (1986-99) and Frank Tavani (2000-present) each directing the Leopards for more than a decade. Both coaches have enjoyed success in Easton, with Russo (1988, 1992, 1994) and Tavani (2004, 2005, 2006) each winning three Patriot League title.
Perhaps the most impressive turnaround for a Patriot League head coach came from Dave Clawson at Fordham. Clawson took over the program in 1999 and went winless in his first season and a combined 3-19 in his first two campaigns overall. But the Rams took off from there, and Clawson completed the turnaround from worst to first by leading Fordham to its first Patriot League title in 2002.
To read about how Clawson turned around the Rams, check out our interview with the current Bowling Green head coach here
Overall, 30 men have held head coaching jobs in the Patriot League. Twelve of those 30 won at least one Patriot League title, and 14 claimed one or more Patriot League Coach of the Year awards. The current batch of Patriot League head coaches holds a combined 13 Patriot League titles and nine Patriot League Coach of the Year honors.
For all of the coverage on the coaches and the rest of the history in the Patriot League, visit the Football 25th Anniversary page