Staff
Head Coach
Tony Reno

Anthony (Tony) Reno, who became the Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach of Yale Football on Jan. 12, 2012, transformed the Elis into a champion in his sixth campaign. His Team 145 defied all 2017 prognostications with a 9-1 (6-1 Ivy) record and the school’s first outright league title in 37 years.

Reno’s squad, which included 20 all-league selections, finished with a No. 24 national ranking after earning the Blue’s first Ivy championship in 11 seasons. The fruits of his labor – with help from some of the best recruiting classes in FCS Football – were realized in grand fashion with a 24-3 win over Harvard before 52,000 fans at Yale Bowl. The young head coach earned Division I Coach of the Year from both the New England Football Writers and the Gridiron Club of Boston.

The 34th head coach of the Bulldogs, who came back to the program after serving as an assistant at Yale and Harvard, had come close before. The 2014 campaign brought much national attention back to New Haven's gridiron with the Bowl's 100th anniversary and a remarkable Yale season, including an 8-2 record and a shot at the Ivy title in the season finale with ESPN's GameDay set up outside the stadium.

The 2014 Elis led the FCS in total offense while TB Tyler Varga '15 led the nation in scoring and WR Grant Wallace was tops in yards per game receiving. The season included an OT win over Army and an award for the nation's team of the week by the College Football Writer’s Association of America. Reno was also honored as a finalist for the 2014 Eddie Robinson Award.

His 2013 Yale team made national news by beating a ranked Cal Poly team on the road in October. His Bulldogs also produced numerous league and national honors.

Reno, the Harvard special teams coordinator and defensive secondary coach from 2009 to 2011, helped engineer an undefeated 2011 Ivy League Championship team, which earned a No. 14 Football Championship Subdivision National Ranking. Three of his Crimson special teams units were ranked statistically among the nation's top 20 in 2011.

The 42-year-old Oxford, Mass., native and a 1997 Worcester State College graduate, helped develop 10 All-Ivy players and an All-American over his last two seasons in Boston. His defensive backs enabled the Crimson to lead the league in scoring defense while earning impressive national rankings in numerous categories.

Reno, who spent six years in New Haven and rose to assistant head coach under Jack Siedlecki, helped the Bulldogs win a 2006 Ivy title. He was Yale's wide receivers coach in 2003 and the defensive secondary leader from 2004 to 2008. His 2003 receivers played an integral role in the Blue's No. 2 national ranking in total offense. When he took over the Eli defensive backs, they helped the defense rise to new heights. The 2007 and 2008 Bulldogs were No. 1 in FCS scoring defense, while 14 of his players earned all-league honors during his Yale tenure.

A 2002 AFLAC/Coach Magazine National Assistant of the Year Award winner, Reno served as Worcester State's defensive coordinator from 1998 to 2002. The Lancers, who made two post-season appearances and went 27-5 with Reno as defensive coordinator, were 2001 ECAC Northeast Champions and made it to the title game the following year.

Reno, whose first job was defensive assistant coach at King's (Pa.) College for the 1997 season, earned a degree in history before completing a master of science in health education from WSC in 2000. As a player at WSC, Reno was a three-year starter at free safety, and his team was league champion his last two seasons. His 1996 team led the nation in scoring, rushing and pass efficiency defense.

Reno is the first Yale football head coach from Massachusetts since Ted Coy '10 in 1910. He and his wife, Toni, have three children: Dante, Angelina and Vince.

Defensive Coordinator, Associate Head Coach, DB
Sean McGowan

Sean McGowan enters his fourth season of coaching defense at Yale in 2018. He coached linebackers from 2015 to 2017 but switched to defensive backs in 2018.

As defensive coordinator in 2017, McGowan led a record-setting defense that touted seven All-Ivy selections on the way to winning the Ivy League championship. He also coached 2017 Bushnell Cup winner Matthew Oplinger. McGowan, who coached at seven different schools and has been a defensive coordinator at three, brought a wealth of experience as Yale’s defensive coordinator.

McGowan, who has 19 years of college coaching experience, came to Yale from Boston College, where he helped the Eagles win seven games in 2014 and earn a trip to the Pinstripes Bowl.

In the first of his two seasons at BC, McGowan orchestrated a special teams unit that included the nation’s best in field-goal percentage and a first-team All-American kicker (Nate Freese) who was perfect on 20 field goal attempts in 2013. The 2014 kick-return unit finished fourth in the nation with 26 yards per return, while the kickoff coverage was 19th with an 18.5 average. He also worked with the Eagles' linebackers.

Before that he served as inside linebackers coach and special teams coordinator under Steve Addazio (2011-12) at Temple.

McGowan spent seven (2004-10) seasons at the University of New Hampshire as a defensive coach. He coached the defensive backs his first two seasons before being promoted to defensive coordinator while helping New Hampshire to seven consecutive NCAA playoff appearances, including six appearances in the quarterfinals.

The Wilcats, who had 16 all-conference selections coached by McGowan, were 65-25 in those seven seasons including 5-1 against FBS squads.

His other coaching assignments included West Virginia Tech (2003, DC), Duquesne (2002, DC), Pittsburgh (1999-2001, grad assistant) and Occidental College (1998, QBs). In his one campaign with Duquesne, his charges ranked first in I-AA in total defense.

McGowan, a quarterback and safety at Fordham from 1995-98, grew up in Cheshire, Conn., and attended Cheshire High School. He earned his B.A. in business from Fordham in 1998.

He and his wife, Ashley, have three children, Liam, Owen and Aden.

Offensive Coordinator, Associate Head Coach, QB
Kevin Cahill

In spring of 2018 Kevin Cahill was named the Joel E. Smilow Class of '54 Offensive Coordinator. He will lead a highly touted offensive attack that paved the way to winning the Ivy League Championship in 2017. The 2017 season marked Cahill's sixth year coaching at Yale and his fourth as the passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

In 2017 he coached All-Ivy selection QB Kurt Rawlings. His first year (2014) with the Yale QBs produced amazing numbers. Morgan Roberts and the Yale offense led the nation in total offense and were third in scoring and fifth in passing yards. Roberts connected often with WR Grant Wallace, who led the FCS in yards per game.

Cahill spent the 2012 and 2013 seasons as Yale’s special teams coordinator and WRs coach. Prior to that, he spent four years as an assistant coach at the University of Maine, the last three working with special teams. Cahill also coached Maine's running backs and wide receivers while serving as the director of personnel and the NFL liaison. He coached two All-Americans (Jared Turcotte, Jhamal Fluellen) and six all-conference players while at Orono.

A two-year assistant at Murray State, Cahill coached the wide receivers, assisted in the passing game and served as recruiting coordinator for the 2007 and 2008 campaigns. He mentored a pair of All-Ohio Valley Conference players.

Before going to Kentucky, Cahill was a wide receivers coach for Tennessee-Martin for 2004 and 2005, helping the program engineer its first winning season in 13 years. He also spent time coaching at Maine Maritime Academy (2001) and at Springfield College (2002, 2003), where he was a three-year starting quarterback and a 2001 graduate. He helped Springfield reach two NCAA Playoff appearances.

Cahill and his wife, Carah, have two sons, Patrick and Thomas, and a daughter, Elizabeth, and reside in Madison.

Assistant Coach - WR, Recruiting Coordinator
Art Asselta

Art Asselta, a former Hofstra University quarterback who coached that position at McNeese State University in 2013, completed his fourth year as Yale's wide receivers coach in 2017. It was his third as the team's recruiting coordinator. He coached All-Ivy selections Michael Siragusa and Christopher Williams-Lopez in 2017 during an Ivy League Championship campaign.

His first (2014) campaign with the Blue produced big numbers. His receivers helped Yale lead the nation in total offense while Grant Wallace led the FCS in yards per game.

Asselta helped the McNeese State offense rank seventh in FCS scoring (40.0) and 17th in total offense (451.0) while the No. 11 ranked Cowboys went 10-3 and made the 2013 NCAA Playoffs. His pupil, Cody Stroud, who threw 28 TD passes, was Southland Conference Offensive Player of the Year.

Coaching at his seventh school, Asselta has moved back and forth between WRs and QBs. At the University of New Hampshire in 2012, he mentored the receivers and the pass game while the No. 13 Wildcats reached the NCAA Quarterfinals.

Asselta served as an assistant at Southeastern Louisiana (2010, 2011). A pair of SEL signal-callers, Tyler Beatty and Brian Young, grabbed spots in the school record books under Asselta. Beatty, as a first-year starter in 2010, posted the eighth-best total in passing yards (1,738 yards) while finishing his career sixth in passing yards (2,328) and completions (188). Young succeeded Beatty in 2011 and posted the third-highest single-season total in passing yards (2,855 yards) while finishing third in career passing yards (3,867) and completions (332).

He also spent six seasons as the passing game coordinator and quarterbacks/receivers coach at Sacred Heart University. Asselta, who helped Dale Fink become the most prolific passer in school history, coached SHU’s three-time All-Northeast Conference receiver Steve Tedesco, who led the league in receiving with 67 receptions for 865 yards as a senior and holds school records for career receptions (229), career receiving yards (2,848), career TDs scored (37), career receiving TDs (37), receptions in a season (77), TD catches in a game (4) and catches in a game (12).

He coached the running backs in his first year at SHU and helped Ed Priccolo become the school’s all-time rushing and TD leader.

Before joining SHU, Asselta worked as a graduate assistant and running backs coach at Louisiana-Monroe, where he coached the first 1,000-yard rusher for the Warhawks since their move to Division I-A.

Asselta earned a 1999 degree in marketing from Hofstra where he was twice named conference player of the week. He holds a graduate degree from Stony Brook University and worked as a graduate assistant for the Seawolves for one season.

He and his wife, the former Jessica Andrews, have a daughter, Alexis, and a son, Ayden.

Asst. Coach - LB, Co-Defensive Coordinator
Jordan Stevens

Jordan Stevens, the first David D. Kelley Defensive Line Coach in 2015, just completed his third season at Yale. In 2018 he switched to the Yale linebackers. In 2017 at Yale he coached three All-Ivy selections in defensive linemen John Herubin, Kyle Mullen and Charles Callender while his group helped the Bulldogs take an Ivy League Championship.

There were a pair of 2016 All-Ivy League defensive ends among his pupils, Marty Moesta and Kyle Mullen, while Copache Tyler was a first-team all-league lineman in 2015.

Stevens, also Yale's pro liaison, came to New Haven after serving as an assistant coach at Maine for four years. He spent his last two falls in Orono as the Black Bears’ defensive line coach after two seasons as assistant to that position. He helped Maine register 30 sacks for 221 lost yards in 2013 while mentoring the school’s career sack leader, Michael Cole. Stevens also helped Maine get to the 2011 NCAA quarterfinals and win the 2013 CAA Championship.

The young Yale coach also served as Maine’s NFL liaison while helping numerous players get Colonial Athletic Association honors and professional football opportunities.

Stevens, an All-CAA defensive end for the Black Bears, helped lead the team to the 2008 NCAA Playoffs while also earning All-New England honors. He served as team captain in 2009 and earned his degree in business management from Maine in 2010.

Stevens earned a tryout with the Detroit Lions before signing with the UFL Hartford Colonials in 2010. A year later he returned to his alma mater to coach.

Assistant Coach - Outside Linebackers
Steven Vashel

Steven Vashel, who has coached football at seven different schools in the Northeast and is a graduate of Springfield College, finished his sixth season on the defensive staff. His work helped bring the Elis an Ivy League Championship in 2017.

He served as defensive backs coach from 2014 through 2016, and in 2017 began coaching outside linebackers.

Vashel coached Atlanta Falcons 6th round draft pick and All-Ivy player Foyesade Oloukun '17. He also coached 2016 team MVP Jason Alessi '18 and 2016 all-league selection Dale Harris. A pair of Eli backs earned All-Ivy honors in 2015, including first-team selection Spencer Rymiszewski and honorable mention pick Cole Champion.

Vashel spent three years (2009 to 2011) as the defensive backs coach at the University of Maine, where his charges led the Colonial Athletic Association in pass defense in 2011. Two of his former players, Jerron McMillian (4th rd draft, Packers) and Trevor Coston (free agent, Bears), were signed by NFL teams.

He worked with the DBs and kickers at Bucknell for three seasons, from 2006 to 2008. The Lewisburg, Pa., work followed a seven-year (1999-2005) stint as defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator at Bates College.

Vashel also worked at King’s College (1995-98), Harvard (1994), Springfield (1992-93) and Trinity (1991), while getting his master’s degree in sports management from Springfield in 1994.

Vashel and his wife, Cathy, have two sons, Ethan and Cole.

Assistant Coach - Running Backs, Co-Rec. Coordinator
Derrick Lett

Derrick Lett has coached running backs the last three season at Yale. A former collegiate receiver who won two Bowl games and went on to coach at Tennessee, he joined the Yale staff in July of 2015. In 2017 he coached two All-Ivy running backs, Deshawn Salter and Zane Dudek (All-American, Ivy Rookie of Year), who helped pave the way for the team winning the Ivy League Championship.

His corps of runners were hit by injuries the last two years, but there were some impressive performances. Lett helped Alan Lamar, who began the season as the No. 4 back before becoming team rookie of the year, earn 2016 FCS Freshman All American honors while leading the Elis in rushing. In 2015 he helped DeShawn Salter produce the fifth best rushing total in a game (233, Lehigh) for an Eli and twice earn league player of the week honors, while former Yale back Austin Reuland '16 played in the CFL.

An offensive quality control assistant at Tennessee for two season prior to Yale, Lett worked with the running backs, wide receivers and punt return group while assisting the recruiting coordinator.

He helped lead the 2014 Volunteers to their first Bowl victory since 2010. Working mainly with the wide receivers, the unit had four members record at least 30 catches. As a group, they caught 19 touchdown passes in 12 games. He helped accomplish this while helping secure top five classes in each of his last two years.

Prior to his time at Tennessee, Lett spent four years as an assistant at Bowling Green High School. He was in charge of the secondary his first two years before becoming the passing game coordinator, primarily in charge of quarterbacks and wide receivers. He implemented a new offense that more than doubled passing production, helping three of his players earn college scholarships. In addition to his coaching duties with football, he also coached the varsity track team.

A four-year letter winner at Bowling Green University from 2001-05, Lett appeared in 49 consecutive games, helping the Falcons to two Bowl wins, and at one point, a no. 16 ranking in the country. He was part of a wide receiver corps that ranked third in the country by Athlon Sports, as well as an offense that finished fourth in the nation in scoring.

Lett, who earned the school’s Coaches Award, graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in 2006.

He and his wife, Andi Lett, have two daughters, Jaela, and Alise, and live in Branford.

Assistant Coach - Offensive Line
Al Netter

Yale’s new offensive line coach in 2018, Al Netter, is a former San Francisco 49er and Northwestern University player who coached in the Big 10 the last three seasons. Netter, who spent the 2015, 2016 and 2017 campaigns as a Michigan offensive graduate assistant coach, worked with the Wolverines’ offensive line.

Prior to joining the UM staff, Netter played three (2012-14) seasons on the offensive line for the 49ers under head coach Jim Harbaugh, who he later joined at Ann Arbor.

Yale’s new coach was a four-year letterman and four-year (2008-11) starter on the offensive line for Northwestern University. He started all 52 career games for the Wildcats, where he helped block for an offense which rolled up 5,417 yards of total offense in 2011.

Netter earned his bachelor's degree in economics from Northwestern and master's from Michigan in sports management. He attended Cardinal Newman High School, where he earned All-North Coast Section first-team honors and was an all-region selection by Rivals.com as a senior.

Assistant Coach - Defensive Line
Ben Olson

Yale has a new defensive line coach, Ben Olson, a recent college defensive lineman who had coaching stints in the ACC and Patriot League. Olson, Yale’s new David D. Kelley Defensive Line Coach, worked with the outside linebackers at Colgate in 2017. The year before, he coached the defensive tackles and special teams at Syracuse as a graduate assistant.

Olson, who earned a full scholarship to play football at Eastern Illinois University, began his coaching career at his alma mater. He moved into the position of undergraduate assistant and was still there in 2012 when current Syracuse coach Dino Babers was named head coach at EIU.

Division III Rose-Hulman in Indiana hired Olson to coach linebackers for the 2013 campaign. The Engineers went 7-3 and won the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference. Olson then rejoined Babers for two successful seasons at Bowling Green in 2014 and 2015 before following his head coach to Syracuse for the 2016 season.

The Morris, Ill., native earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology and Sports Studies from Eastern Illinois. He then worked toward a Master of Science degree in Leisure and Tourism at Bowling Green before switching over to Instructional Design Development and Education at Syracuse.

Olson, whose brother, Jake, is Yale Football’s Chief of Staff, will be recruiting for the Bulldogs in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kansas, and Missouri. His title, “David D. Kelley Defensive Line Coach” honors the long-time, beloved former assistant coach who worked under Carm Cozza from 1973 to 1996.

Assistant Coach - Tight Ends
Matt Cerins

Matt Cerins, who served as an offensive intern for Yale’s 2017 Ivy League Championship team, began as the Bulldogs’ tight ends coach in the spring of 2018. Cerins worked primarily last fall with Yale’s offensive linemen, while helping the Elis establish numerous records.

The former first-team All-Northeast-10, All-ECAC and All-Worcester offensive lineman at Assumption College earned his undergraduate degree in 2008.

Advisor to Head Coach
Larry Ciotti

Yale’s former running backs coach, Larry Ciotti, completed his 21st year of collegiate coaching in 2014, having worked primarily as the running backs coach for former Yale head coaches Carm Cozza and Jack Siedecki before leaving coaching from 2008 through 2011. He is now an advisor to head coach Tony Reno.

Ciotti began at Yale in 1991 and served two seasons as the head coach of the freshman squad. Since then he helped Rashad Bartholomew '01 become Yale’s career rushing leader before he signed with the Tennessee Titans. He also mentored two-time All-Ivy back Robert Carr ’05, who surpassed Bartholomew in the record books. He continued the trend by coaching Ivy MVP and All-American Mike McLeod ’09, who holds every major rushing record at Yale.

His latest protege, Tyler Varga '15, was an All-American who led the nation in scoring, served as captain of the North team in the Senior Bowl (scored 2 TDs) and was invited to the NFL Scouting Combine.

Ciotti, who had an 8-4 record coaching the Bullpups, is a Connecticut high school coaching legend. In 19 seasons (1970-88) as the head coach at Daniel Hand in Madison, Conn., he compiled a 141-41-2 record and won five state titles. Ciotti then served as director of athletics at Hand from 1988 to 1992. In 1993, he was inducted into the Connecticut High School Coaches Hall of Fame. Ciotti received the Walter Camp Football Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011.

The captain of the 1965 Southern Connecticut State University football team (graduated in '66), Ciotti earned All-New England and All-Eastern League honors as a center/linebacker. He was inducted into the SCSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1998.

His son, Mike '90, was a center for the 1989 Ivy Champion Bulldogs. Ciotti and his wife, Barbara, reside in Madison. They also have three daughters, Susan, Deanna, and Cathryn and 12 grandchildren.

Chief of Staff
Jake Olson

Jake Olson re-joined the Yale football staff in the spring of 2017 as the Chief of Staff, where he handles the budget management, team travel and meals and puts together the team calendar.

Olson, who is the liaison for the team with the rest of the university, also oversees the football support staff, directs the Eli Football Camp and coordinates internships and professional development opportunities for student-athletes. Olson has served as a liaison between parents, Yale alumni and the football program. He has also organized the year-end team banquet, an event that included more than 300 guests.

He was with the Bulldogs for the 2016 season as an operations assistant, a stint that was bookended by a pair of roles with the Syracuse Orange football team. As an intern in upstate New York, he helped coordinate camp travel for coaches and assisted in organizing Syracuse's summer camp series. He also assisted with the team’s operations and recruiting while working with the director of operations in the management of team logistics, including helping organize the daily schedules of student-athletes, coaches, and staff.

A Morris, Ill., native, Olson attended Eastern Illinois University. He graduated from the school in 2016 with a bachelor's degree in kinesiology and sports studies, and a minor in business administration. His brother, Ben, is the new Yale defensive line coach.