ABOUT THE EVENT
Join us for lunch and a presentation by Villanova Head Coach Emeritus Andy Talley who “brought Villanova football back from the dead.”
Andy Talley won more than 250 games during his legendary head coaching career, which spanned 37 seasons overall and 32 years at Villanova. Talley compiled a career record of 258-155-2 (.624) as a head coach, including 230-137-1 (.626) in his 32 seasons with the Wildcats. He is the winningest head coach in Villanova football history, and during his final season in 2016 had the most wins of any active FBS or FCS head coach.
Talley guided the Wildcats to their first-ever national championship season in 2009, and Villanova made a total of 12 appearances in the FCS playoffs during his tenure. The team also won at least a share of six conference championships under Talley’s watch, in addition to winning the Lambert Meadowlands Cup three times to go along with three ECAC Team of the Year awards. Talley’s all-time record in the postseason was 12-11, and he won nine of his final 14 playoff games.
In addition to the great teams he built, Talley was also able to lead great players. He mentored three Walter Payton Award winners, one Jerry Rice Award honoree, 16 first team All-Americans, 243 All-Conference performers, 15 major conference award winners and 62 All-East honorees. Brian Finneran was the 1997 winner of the Walter Payton Award, which is given to the top player in FCS football. He remains the only wide receiver to ever win the award, and he has since been joined among Villanova winners by Brian Westbrook (2001) and John Robertson (2014). Robertson also won the Jerry Rice Award as the top FCS freshman in 2012, and his selection as the 2014 Walter Payton Award winner made the Wildcats the only FCS program to have three winners of the highest FCS honor.
Talley coached the following players to first team All-America distinction during his time at Villanova: Eamonn Allen (offensive line, 2001); Paul Berardelli (guard, 1988); Chris Boden (quarterback, 1997); Don Cherry (linebacker, 2014); Curtis Eller (linebacker, 1991-92); Brian Finneran (wide receiver, 1996-97); Tyrone Frazier (linebacker, 1994); Brett Gordon (quarterback, 2002); Brian Hulea (linebacker, 2005); Ben Ijalana (offensive tackle, 2009-10); Tanoh Kpassagnon (defense end, 2016); Greg Miller (defensive line, 2008); John Robertson (quarterback, 2014); Bryan Russo (center, 1989); Matt Szczur (wide receiver, 2009); and Brian Westbrook (running back/kick returner, 1998, 2000, 2001).
Eller was named to the Yankee Conference 50th Anniversary Team in 1996. He was a two-time conference Defensive Player of the Year in 1991-92, while Kpassagnon joined him in earning that distinction in 2016. Westbrook was the conference Offensive Player of the Year in 2000 and 2001, while Gordon (2002), Szczur (2009) and Robertson (2014) also won that award. Szczur made history in 2009 when he became just the second player in league history to win two major awards in one year. He was both the Offensive Player of the Year and the Special Teams Player of the Year that season. Other major conference honors for the Wildcats during Talley’s watch include quarterbacks John Robertson (2012) and Zach Bednarczyk (2015) being named the conference Offensive Rookie of the Year, linebacker Dillon Lucas being selected as the league Defensive Rookie of the Year (2011) and offensive lineman Jake Prus winning the Chuck Boone Leadership Award in 2015.
For Talley, the team and individual accomplishments on the field were only a part of the story. Perhaps of greater importance to him than the victories and the athletic accolades were the type of student-athletes that were a part of his program. Villanova had 14 Capital One Academic All-Americans during his career, as well as two NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship winners and more than 300 academic all-conference performers.
Talley was appreciative of the opportunities provided to him through athletics from the early days of his coaching career, and continually looked for ways to give something back to others. The area off the field to which Talley dedicates most of his time is the National Marrow Donor Program. With this group, he works to have potential bone marrow donors entered in a national bone marrow registry, increasing the odds of a needy patient being able to find a “match” for their bone marrow. In 2008, Talley officially partnered with Be The Match to start the “Get In The Game and Save a Life” (GITG) marrow donor registry campaign. Since that time, and with the help of 80 college football programs that Talley has enlisted from all divisions, over 71,000 new potential donors have been added to the worldwide registry of potential donors. Even more impressive, the GITG program has been responsible for over 300 potentially lifesaving stem cell/marrow transplants in just eight years.
For his efforts with the bone marrow program, Talley has received numerous awards and accolades. In September 2014, he was awarded the Rod Carew Leadership Award which is given by the National Marrow Donor Program to the person or organization who make a profound difference in the lives of patients and their families. In January of 2015, he was named the Shining Star Lifetime Achievement Award winner by the March of Dimes, while in April of 2015, Talley was given the Gift of Life Award by the Bone Marrow Foundation.
In the spring of 2010, he was presented The Person of the Decade Award by the Temple Bone Marrow Transplant Program of Temple University Hospital. In 2009, he was given the Volunteer of the Year Award by the Laurie Strauss Foundation and the Collegiate Award by the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP). The Strauss Foundation Award recognizes an individual for instilling compassion in collegiate student-athletes and the Collegiate Award is given to an individual or university in honor of outstanding commitment to raising awareness, recruiting donors and supporting life-saving work of the NMDP.
During the summer of 2008, The Philadelphia Sports Congress gave Talley its 2008 Community Service Award which is presented to the individual, business or organization that has done the most to contribute to the quality of life in Philadelphia through sports. He was also named one of the 75 greatest Living Philadelphians in a survey conducted by the Philadelphia Eagles and Dunkin Donuts for his long standing commitment and ongoing contributions to the city of Philadelphia.
Talley also often serves as a featured speaker at many business and community functions. He acts as President of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame Philadelphia Chapter. In December of 2000, Talley was one of two chapter presidents to be honored by the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame and received an award for his leadership of the Philadelphia Chapter at the famous Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Talley was also given a Lifetime Achievement Award in January of 2000 by the All-American Football Foundation.
Before coming to Villanova, Talley served as the head football coach at St. Lawrence University, where in 1982, he led St. Lawrence to the Division III Lambert-Meadowlands Trophy as the top team in the East. That year, Talley was named the American Football Coaches Association/Kodak Division III Region I Coach of the Year, as well as the Metropolitan New York Sportswriters/ECAC Coach of the Year.
Talley’s coaching career began at Simsbury (Conn.) High School in 1967 where he was an assistant coach for two years. In 1969, he became the defensive secondary coach at Springfield (Mass.) College for one year and then was the offensive backfield coach at Middlebury (Vt.) College from 1970-73.
Talley had his first experience of rebuilding a program when he became the offensive back-field coach at Brown University in 1973. Having experienced several losing seasons prior to 1973, Talley was on the staff while they compiled a 36-15-2 overall record in six seasons, including the Ivy League title in 1976.
From there, he was named the head coach at St. Lawrence (N.Y.) University, a position he held until his appointment at Villanova in May, 1984. Talley rebuilt the St. Lawrence program, and led the Saints to a 28-18-1 record in five seasons, including an undefeated regular season in 1982 when he advanced to the NCAA Division III semifinals.
During the winter of 1996, Talley was inducted into the Haverford Hall of Fame. He played four seasons at defensive back for Southern Connecticut University, graduating with honors in 1967 and earning a Masters Degree in Education in 1969. In the spring of 1998, Talley was inducted into the Southern Connecticut Hall of Fame. In November, 2005, he was recognized by the Delaware County Hall of Fame, while in June of 2006, he was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame Delaware County Chapter. During the summer of 2007, he earned a spot in the Pennsylvania State Hall of Fame.
In March, 2012, Talley earned yet another Hall of Fame honor when he was inducted into the Villanova University Varsity Club Hall of Fame.
A graduate of Haverford (Pa.) High School just five minutes from the Villanova campus, Talley is a native of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Arlene, currently reside in Berwyn, Pa. They are the parents of two children: Josh, a graduate of both Brown University, and Villanova Law School who is currently a practicing lawyer in Philadelphia and Gina, who earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a Masters Degree from New York University. Currently, Gina is a doctoral candidate in history at University of Massachusetts, Amherst and is a faculty advisor in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Villanova University.