Thursday, January 12, 2012

Reno: "The right man for the job"

I was pleasantly surprised to see not only a flock of Yale football players but also former Yale coach Jack Siedlecki and current assistant coaches Duane Brooks and Rick Flanders at today's press conference announcing Tony Reno as the 34th Yale football coach.

I struck out in my attempt to set up a phone interview with Harvard coach Tim Murphy as he was on the road recruiting but I was able to talk to some people who have a history with Reno.

Flanders, who was the defensive coordinator at Yale when Reno was coaching the defensive backs, was absolutely tremendous talking about Reno and in particular any concerns that his lack of head coaching experience would be an issue.

"He is a good coach, good recruiter, good people person, all the things that you are looking for in a guy who wants to be a head coach," Flanders said. "The diversity and the kind of things that he has done ... People may only look at one part of a resume. Every Hall of Fame coach had to get their first opportunity, they weren’t a head coach when they took their first head-coaching job. He is very well prepared for this and will be a phenomenal job."

Siedlecki was not somebody I was expecting to see but once I saw him there, he was a natural person to talk to about Reno since he was the one who brought him to Yale.

Siedlecki talked of Reno's character and engaging personality but also said he is an intense competitor who will demand production from his players. Siedlecki thinks Reno's six years as an assistant at Yale will be invaluable as he attempts to make up for lost time.

"His relationships with people on campus, that is important, really important," Siedlecki said. "He is going to hit the ground running, he is going to understand the AI (academic index), understand the inner workings at Yale, he knows all the people."

Reno was involved in recruiting many of the players who will be seniors on the 2012 Yale team. Naturally I took the chance to speak to 2012 Yale captain Will McHale about his new coach.

"He was not my primary recruiter but I did speak to him and knew him a little bit through the process," McHale said. "It’s great, I think it is reflected across my class, the seniors interacted with him and to have a guy we are confident in, a guy we are comfortable with really goes a long way towards the immediate success of the program. I think it is one of those things that is going to be great even going forward to next year."

Last but certainly not least, former Yale captain Paul Rice was among those in attendance. Rice, who spent last season as a volunteer assistant coach, was a cornerback earlier in his career so Reno was his position coach.

Like so many others, he gave Reno a glowing endorsement. I asked Rice what qualities will serve Reno the best in his new gig.

"His preparedness, his intensity, his love for Yale. He is passionate about teaching and getting kids to play to the best of their ability. Even guys who weren’t coached by him, guys on the offensive side of the ball they were vouching for him. That speaks to his character to to his ability to lead.",

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Anonymous Steve Moyer said...

I am extremely happy Tony Reno is the new Yale head coach. I got to know Coach Reno via the recruiting process in 2007 and was tremendously impressed with him. I think bright days are very much ahead for the Bulldogs.

10:41 PM 

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