Staff
Head Coach
Jim Fleming

Jim Fleming was named the 20th head coach in Rhode Island football history in December of 2013. He enters his sixth season at the helm in 2019.

In 2017, Fleming saw six of his players earn all-conference honors. Harold Cooper earned CAA Football All-Conference Second Team honors as a running back and third-team recognition as a kick returner. Wide receiver Aaron Parker was named to the second team, while wide receiver Marven Beauvais, defensive tackle Brandon Ginnetti, offensive tackle Dino Boyd and punt returner Matt Pires were all on the third-team. The Rams also had their most victories in seven seasons.

In his second season the Rams earned eight spots on the CAA Football All-Conference Team, the most for Rhode Island since 1995. Sophomore Harold Cooper was a first-team selection as a kick returner and a third-team pick at running back. He also was named to the 2015 Division I All-New England Football Team as a kick returner. Also earning CAA Football All-Conference honors were left tackle Tyler Catalina (second team), linebacker Adam Parker (second team), safety Tim Wienclaw (second team), defensive lineman Mike Ezirike (third team), tight end Charlie McKeeman (third team) and cornerback Myles Holmes (third team).

Though the Rams went 1-11 mark in Fleming’s first season in Kingston, the team improved as the year moved along. Five players - linebacker Andrew Bose, fullback Justin Favreau, wide receiver Robbie Jackson, offensive tackle Tyler Catalina and kick returner Myles Holmes all earned a spot on the CAA Football All-Conference Team. Bose was the first Rhody linebacker to earn first-team honors in 16 seasons. He and freshman tight end Charlie McKeeman earned All-America honors from TonySoftli.com. Rhode Island also had 12 players earn a spot on the CAA Football Academic All-Conference Team.

Following the season, Bose signed as an undrafted free agent with the NFL's Baltimore Ravens, while running back Lyle McCombs signed with the Canadian Football League's Toronto Argonauts.

Fleming came to Rhode Island from the University of Central Florida, where he was the defensive coordinator for the No. 15 Knights. In 2013, Fleming helped UCF earn a spot in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

The 2013 season marked the second straight year that Fleming has helped guide UCF to a bowl game. In 2012, the Knights had the top-ranked scoring and pass defense in Conference USA and were ranked 29th nationally in scoring defense en route to a spot in the Beef O’Brady Bowl, where they defeated Ball State, 38-17.

A veteran of 29 seasons of college football, Fleming has coached for teams in CAA Football, the AAC, the ACC, Conference USA, the MAC, the former Atlantic 10 (now CAA Football), the NEC, the Ivy League and the Big Sky Conference.

Fleming spent six seasons at Akron (2004-09) as the defensive coordinator and secondary coach. He helped the Zips win their first MAC Championship and qualify for the Motor City Bowl in 2005.

Prior to Akron, Fleming spent two years (2002-03) as the defensive backs coach at North Carolina. That stint came after his remarkable two-year run as the head coach of Sacred Heart. During their championship run, the Pioneers ranked second in the nation in scoring, pass efficiency and turnover margin, fourth in total defense and seventh in scoring defense and passing yards allowed. Fleming was named the Northeast Conference Coach of the Year in both 2000 and 2001.

A native of New York, N.Y., Fleming also spent two years as defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach at Villanova (1998-99) and four years (1994-97) coaching linebackers (1994) and defensive backs (1995-97) at East Carolina. His 1997 squad ranked second in Conference USA in pass defense, while in 1995, the Pirates finished 9-3 and earned a berth in the Liberty Bowl where they defeated Stanford, 19-13. That season, the ECU defense ranked seventh nationally in pass efficiency defense, producing 33 takeaways and 19 interceptions.

No stranger to the Ocean State, Fleming spent the 1993 campaign as the defensive coordinator at Brown where the Bears went from 0-10 and last place in the Ivy League, to 4-6 and a tie for fourth place in the conference. From 1987-92, he had a successful six-year stretch at Boise State, including the final three seasons as defensive coordinator. His 1991 Broncos’ defense led the nation in rushing defense, was third in turnover margin and led the Big Sky Conference in every statistical category. In 1990, BSU finished 10-4 and advanced to the semifinals of the Division I-AA playoffs, leading the conference in scoring defense.

Fleming is a 1982 graduate of the University of the South with a degree in English. While there, he was a four-year starter in football and baseball, earning all-conference honors as a tight end in 1981.

He and his wife, Leslie, have four children: Jimmy, Will, Kate and Meg. Will played tight end/fullback for Akron from 2009-12 and is now on the Rhode Island staff.

Defensive Coordinator/Secondary Coach
Pete Rekstis

Pete Rekstis joined the Rhode Island staff as the defensive coordinator and secondary coach in July of 2014. He enters his sixth season with the program in 2019.

In 2017, Rhode Island set a program record with 32 sacks. Rekstis' unit was the only FCS school in the country with five players with five or more sacks, and Rhode Island was ranked 17th in the country with 2.91 sacks per game. The Rams also also ranked 17th nationally with 11 fumble recoveries and 29th in tackles for loss, averaging 7.2 per game. Sophomore Brandon Ginnetti earned CAA Football Third-Team All-Conference honors after leading the team with 7.0 sacks. Rekstis' secondary had 49 pass break ups, the second-highest single-season total in program history.

In 2015, Rekstis oversaw a defense that had four players earn CAA Football All-Conference honors. Senior captain Tim Wienclaw and junior Adam Parker were second-team selections at safety and linebacker and safety, respectively. Senior Myles Holmes (cornerback) and redshirt sophomore Mike Ezirike (defensive line) earned third-team honors. Wienclaw finished his career sixth in program history with 305 career tackles and left as Rhode Island's all-time leader in forced fumbles with eight, six of which happened in his two seasons playing for Rekstis.

In his first season with Rhode Island, Rekstis coached Wienclaw, who was second in the nation in with four fumble recoveries and led all CAA Football players with 0.36 fumble recoveries per game. Wienclaw also led all defensive backs in the league with 8.7 tackles per game. Linebacker Andrew Bose excelled in Rekstis' scheme, leading the conference with 125 tackles en route to CAA Football First-Team All-Conference honors. Bose went on to sign as an undrafted rookie free agent with the Baltimore Ravens.

A veteran of 20 seasons at the collegiate level, Rekstis and Rhode Island Head Coach Jim Fleming coached together at Kent State in 2010, when Rekstis was the defensive coordinator and secondary coach, and Fleming coached the linebackers. That Kent State defense ranked No. 2 nationally in tackles for loss (8.3/game), No. 5 in rushing defense (97.2 yards/game), No. 11 in sacks (2.9/game) and No. 13 in total defense (306.7/game). The Golden Flash also set a single-season school record with 35 sacks and held two 2010 opponents to negative rushing yards.

Rekstis has been a defensive coordinator at the collegiate level for 18 of his 20 seasons, dating back to the start of his coaching career at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy from 1994-96. He comes to Rhode Island after two seasons at Florida Atlantic, where in his first season he coached the No. 27 pass defense in the country, FAU's defense rose nearly 20 spots in the national rankings in scoring defense.

In 2011, Retskis was the defensive coordinator and secondary coach at Miami University after holding the same positions at Kent State from 2004-10. While at Kent State, he mentored four defensive backs who reached the NFL – Usama Young (New Orleans, third Round, 2007) and Jack Williams (Denver, fourth round, 2008) were drafted while Abe Elam (Cleveland) and Daniel Muir (Indianapolis) worked signed as free agents.

Prior to Kent State, Rekstis served as the secondary coach for his alma mater Youngstown State from 1999-2003 and as the Penguins' defensive coordinator from 2001-03. His first season back, Youngstown State posted a 12-3 record and advanced to the Division I-AA championship game. During his five seasons with Youngstown, the Penguins' averaged nearly 15 interceptions per season and tallied 74 in all.

Rekstis spent two seasons as the defensive coordinator and secondary coach at Autsin Peay (1997-98) and three seasons as the defensive coordinator for the U.S. Coast Guard Academy (1994-96).

A native of Cleveland, Retskis earned a degree in history from Youngstown State in 1991 following a four-year career during which he was a team captain and four-year starter at free safety. He played for Jim Tressel and helped the Penguins to a record of 32-16 during his playing career.

Rekstis and his wife Gina - a native of Norwich, Conn. - have been married for 16 years. The couple has three daughters - Sara, Jessica and Natalie - and one son, Trey.

Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach
Will Fleming

Will Fleming joined the Rhode Island staff as the tight ends coach in January 2014. After coaching the tight ends in 2014 and 2015, Fleming was named the quarterbacks coach before the start of spring camp in 2016. He became the offensive coordinator before the start of the 2017 season.

In Fleming's first season as offensive coordinator, Rhode Island averaged 335.1 yards per game, the most for the team since the 2011 season. Rhode Island ranked 36th in the country with 233.9 passing yards per game, and the 2,573 passing yards were the team's most since 2008. Quarterback JaJuan Lawson completed 59.7 percent of his passes, the fourth best single-season mark in program history. Wide receiver Aaron Parker had 823 receiving yards, the ninth-best single season mark by a Ram. Fleming's system allowed the Rams to rank 45th nationally in time of possession at 30:26 per game. At the end of the season, Parker, running back Harold Cooper, wide receiver Marven Beauvais and offensive lineman Dino Boyd all earned spots on the CAA Football All-Conference Team.

With Fleming in charge of the quarterbacks and handling much of the play calling, Rhode Island’s passing yards per game was its highest since 2012 at 161.1 per game. This was an improvement from the 146.3 passing yards the team averaged in 2015. The Rams ranked 27th nationally in passing yards per completion.

The tight ends played a key role in the offense in 2015, as Rhode Island opened in multi-tight end sets every week. Redshirt sophomores Charlie McKeeman and Nathan Holmes both started all 11 games, and Shane Nastahowski started three times when Rhody began in a three-tight end set. McKeeman earned CAA Football Third Team All-Conference honors for his play.

In his first season with the Rams, Fleming coached senior fullback Justin Favreau to CAA Football Third-Team All-Conference honors, while redshirt freshman Charlie McKeeman was named as a Freshman All-American by TonySoftli.com. McKeeman was the only player to catch at least one pass in every game for Rhode Island in 2014.

Fleming spent the 2013 season as a student assistant coach with Towson, helping the Tigers make a run to the FCS national championship game. A scholarship player at Akron for from 2009-12, Fleming transferred to Towson for his final season. When an injury ended his career, he stayed on with the Tigers as a student assistant, helping the team go 10-2 in the regular season before winning three straight FCS playoff games. The Tigers fell to North Dakota State in their bid for the first national championship in program history.

Fleming arrived at Akron as a linebacker, playing 11 games with one start at a true freshman. After sitting out a redshirt season as a sophomore, he made the switch to tight end and played 20 games over the next two seasons.

Running Backs Coach
Jim Miceli

Jim Miceli joined the Rhode Island staff in January of 2014 as the quarterback coach and recruiting coordinator. He shifted to running backs coach before the start of spring camp in 2016 and and also oversees the development of the team's specialists. He enters his sixth season at Rhode Island in 2019.

Under Miceli's watch, running back Harold Cooper earned CAA Football Second-Team All-Conference recognition in 2017 as he ranked third in the league in all-purpose yards with 121.4 yards per game. Cooper finished his career with 2,141 rushing yards, becoming just the ninth player in program history to reach the 2,000-yard mark.

With 32 seasons in college coaching, Miceli has the most experience of the coaches on the Rhode Island staff. A familiar name in the state of Rhode Island, Miceli was the first head coach in program history at Bryant. In his first season there, the Bulldogs posted a winning season and played for the league championship.

In 2013, Miceli was the co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the Gilman School in Baltimore, where the offense averaged 28.6 points per game. While coaching, he also oversaw the launch of SigningDay.com, a recruiting site that counts the NFL Players Association and the National Football Academies among its official partners. Miceli was the Northeast Analyst for the site, completing in-person and film evaluation for players in the region.

Miceli coached at Akron, where he was the assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator while also coaching the running backs and kickers from 2010-12.

A veteran of six college bowl games, Miceli has seen 24 of his former players go on to the NFL, including Pro Football Hall of Famers Russ Grimm and Dan Marino. Among the others he coached are All-Pro/Pro Bowl players Ruben Brown, Curtis Martin, Jermaine Lewis, Chris Coleman, Bill Fralic, Bill Maas and Jim Covert. Mark May went on to be elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.

Miceli’s other college coaching stops include Georgetown, Fordham, Maryland, Pittsburgh and Ramapo College. While at Maryland, he was named one of the top 10 recruiting coordinators in the country.

A 1979 graduate of Southern Connecticut State, Miceli earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education, recreation and general science.

Linebackers Coach
Troy Gilmer

Troy Gilmer enters his sixth season at Rhode Island in 2019. He joined the Rhode Island staff in January 2014 as a defensive assistant and was promoted to linebackers coach before the start of the 2017 season.

Under Gilmore's direction, linebacker Justin Hogan led the Rams with 104 tackles in 2017. He also tied for third on the team with five pass breakups.

In 2015, Gilmer worked closely with the team's linebackers, including junior linebacker Adam Parker, who earned CAA Football Second Team All-Conference honors and was second on the team in tackles despite missing the final two games of the season.

Gilmer came to Rhode Island from Akron, where he was a graduate assistant coach in 2013. While on the Zips staff, Gilmer also spent time as a volunteer assistant director of football operations.

A linebacker for Akron from 2008 through 2012, Gilmer averaged 6.2 tackles per game as a senior. He finished second on the team with 74 tackles, including four tackles for loss. During his junior season, Gilmer was an honorable mention Academic All-Mid-American Conference selection after averaging 7.9 tackles per game and finishing second on the team with 71 tackles.

Gilmer earned his bachelor’s degree in sports studies/coaching from Akron in 2012. In 2013, he earned a master’s degree in sports science/coaching.

Tight Ends Coach/Recruiting Coordinator
Mike Flanagan

Mike Flanagan enters his fifth season at Rhode Island in 2019. He first joined the staff as a defensive quality control coach in the spring of 2015, working closely with the defensive backs that season. In 2017, he was promoted to tight ends coach. He also has served as the director of football operations.

Flanagan came to Kingston after coaching the running backs and defensive backs at Bishop Hendricken High School in 2014. Flanagan was part of a staff the led the Hawks to their fifth consecutive state championship. Bishop Hendricken averaged 195.8 rushing yards per game, running for 2,546 yards and 34 touchdowns in 2014. The team ran for 280 yards and four touchdowns in the title game victory over LaSalle Academy.

Following his career as a running back and kick returner at St. Anselm College (2010-14), Flanagan spent the spring of 2014 as a student assisant coach at his alma mater, He worked with the team's tight ends and running backs.

During his high school career at Bishop Hendricken, Flanagan was a 2009 First Team All-State running back. He earned a bachelor's degree in communications from St. Anselm in 2014.

Wide Receivers Coach
Donovan Varner

Donovan Varner joined Jim Fleming's staff as the wide receivers coach in January of 2018.

Before coming to Rhode Island, Varner spent two seasons as an offensive graduate assistant coach at East Carolina, working closely with the wide receivers there. He worked weekly on film breakdown, scouting reports and offensive installs and also served as the academic liaison for the wide receiver position group. In addition to his wide receiver responsibilities, Varner coached on special teams, working directly with the snappers and holders. While at East Carolina, he coached All-American wide receiver Isaiah Jones, the NCAA Division I football career leader in receptions and one of three finalists for the 2016 Biletnikoff Award. He also worked with wideout Trevon Brown, a Second Team All-AAC honoree. He recruited in North Carolina and Florida (Miami/Broward).

Before his time at East Carolina, Varner was the offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach for two seasons at Gulliver Preparatory High School in Miami, Fla. He handled play-calling for the offense while developing, promoting, and supervising all facets of the football program, from practice and game management to academic support, mentoring, and supervision of 40+ student athletes

During his playing career at Duke, Varner was a First Team All-ACC wide receiver in 2009 and won the team's Most Outstanding Wide Receiver honor in 2009 and 2011. He was a three-time member of the ACC Academic Honor Roll and earned his degree Sociology, Markets and Management Certificate in 2012. He played in the CFL with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 2013.

Offensive Line Coach
Stefon Wheeler

Stefon Wheeler joined the Rhode Island staff as the offensive line coach in March of 2019.

Wheeler joins Rhode Island’s staff after five seasons at Wagner. During his time there, Wagner had eight offensive linemen earn all-conference recognition. Wheeler was Wagner's running game coordinator during his final two years. His squad had the league’s second-leading rusher in 2018, and the third-leading rusher in 2017.

From 2010-13, Wheeler was the offensive coordinator at Milford Academy Prep, where he also coached the linemen and running backs.

After starring along the Milford offensive line in 2000, where he led the Falcons to a 10-3 record, Wheeler was awarded a full scholarship to Michigan State where he went on to start 35 games at left tackle. A two-time All-Big 10 Honorable Mention selection, he was voted to the Spartans First-Team All-Decade squad in 2012.

A 2005 Michigan State graduate, Wheeler signed a free agent contract with the New Orleans Saints in 2006 and played in NFL Europe for the Cologne Centurions in 2007. While playing left tackle overseas, he helped open holes for the league's leading rusher. Later in 2007, Wheeler signed with the CFL's Toronto Argonauts.

Defensive Line Coach
Josh Lott

Josh Lott joined Rhode Island's staff as the defensive line coach in March of 2019.

Before coming to Rhode Island, Lott spent two seasons on Pat Narduzzi’s staff at Pitt. As a graduate assistant coach, he worked with the Panthers’ defensive line. Lott joined Pitt after serving as a defensive quality control assistant at Delaware for two seasons. He additionally coached the Blue Hens’ defensive line in 2016.

Lott’s first coaching assignment was at Thiel College, an NCAA Division III program in Greenville, Pa. During the 2013 and 2014 seasons, he served as Thiel’s defensive line coach, video coordinator, and assistant strength coach.

A native of Warren, Ohio, Lott was an all-state player at Howland High School and was selected the 2007 Ohio Division II Co-Defensive Player of the Year by Associated Press.

Lott earned a bachelor's degree in sociology from Duquesne in 2012.

Director of Player Development
Donnie Smith

Donnie Smith joined the Rhode Island coaching staff before the 2014 season and is entering his sixth season with the program in 2019. He previously had worked with head coach Jim Fleming for nine seasons at Akron.

From 2003-10, Smith was an assistant coach at Akron, spending time as an assistant with both the defensive line and special teams. He was part of the staff that coached the Zips to a Mid-American Conference championship in 2005.

Smith spent two years with the NE Ohio Summit County Conference All-State Game (2012-13) as a head coach and special teams coordinator. Through the position, he was a liaison for college recruiters, helping several players reach the BCS level. From 2011-12, Smith was the special teams coordinator and defensive backs coach for Archbishop Hoban High School in Akron, Ohio. He also spent time with the San Francisco 49ers as an intern.

A former U.S. Marine, Smith was a team captain for the U.S. Marine Corps, 1st Marine Division football team. He also competed as a member of the U.S. National Kayak Team and competed for a world championship Outrigger Canoe Team.

Smith earned a bachelor of arts degree in history in 2007. He is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.

Defensive Assistant/Director of Video
Chris Satoh

Chris Satoh joined the Rhode Island staff as the Video Coordinator and Assistant Director of Operations in March of 2017 and was promoted to Defensive Assistant in March of 2018.

Satoh came to Jim Fleming's staff after spending three seasons as the defensive backs coach and video coordinator for Division III La Verne. While there, he oversaw the development of the team's cornerbacks and safeties while also directing the scout team offense. In 2013, he coached a secondary unit that forced 21 turnovers in nine games. Satoh also was involved with recruiting and opponent scouting.

Before going to La Verne, Satoh was the defensive coordinator at La Salle High School in Pasadena, Calif. for the 2011 season. He also coached the team's defensive backs, wide receivers and special teams units.

Satoh earned his undergraduate degree in history from Lake Forest (Illinois) in 2011. He played and served as student assistant coach for Lake Forest football team during his undergraduate days. He earned his master's degree in Leadership and Management from the University of La Verne in 2014. Satoh also is a reserve officer in the United States Marine Corps.

Director of Football Operations
Alex Folken

Alex Folken joined the Rhode Island staff as the Director of Football Operations in March of 2019.

He spent eight seasons with the East Carolina football program, including five years of being involved with day-to-day duties in the operations sector. In addition to playing a vital role in the Pirates’ travel coordination assisting with hotel securement, contract negotiations and transportation documentation, Folken also oversaw all team meals and managed the program's nutrition budget. He directed ECU's preseason training camp and served as the team's liaison with academics, NCAA Compliance and the Student-Athlete Success Committee. He also provides key ancillary support for all on-campus recruiting activities.

Prior to earning a promotion to his current role in 2013, Folken spent the 2012 campaign as an operations and player personnel staff assistant. He coordinated all campus travel and had oversight of strategic recruiting messaging, both via print and online platforms. Folken initially joined the ECU staff in 2011 as a student coach working exclusively with the Pirates’ offensive line and assisted with the task of transcribing daily scripts, structuring practice plans and preparing the unit with weekly opponent video cut-ups and film study.

He spent five years at the prep level as Buchholz (Fla.) High School's varsity offensive line coach from 2006 to 2010, while also serving as freshman and junior varsity head coach and offensive coordinator. One of his pupils – Jordan Weingart – was a first-team all-state selection who later signed to play at West Virginia. Folken also worked with the school's successful track and field program as a throws coach from 2007 to 2009.