Elon welcomes Tony Trisciani as new head football coach

Trisciani, who joined the football coaching staff in 2016, was welcomed into his new role during a Dec. 17 press conference in Alumni Field House. 

Elon University looks to build upon its recent success on the gridiron with the selection of Tony Trisciani as its new head football coach. 

Trisciani, who has served as Elon’s defensive coordinator for the past two seasons, was welcomed by the university community during a packed press conference in Alumni Field House on Monday, Dec. 17. His selection promises continuity a program that has garnered top-10 rankings and made FCS playoff appearances during the past two years. 

“I am so proud to be the head football coach at Elon University,” Trisciani told the room crowded with fans and news media on Monday. “During my tenure, I have watched our players and staff fully commit to a culture of excellence. I am excited and eager to finish what we’ve started together.”

Trisciani, 45, brings to the top post 23 years of coaching experience, with 13 of those at Colonial Athletics Association institutions, with accolades that include championships, and nation-leading defensive statistics. He follows Curt Cignetti, who resigned Friday after two seasons to accept a head coaching position at conference rival James Madison University. 

Trisciani arrived at Elon ahead of the 2017 season for what is his second stint with the Phoenix, having served as defensive backs coach and special teams coordinator in 2006. During the past two years, he’s guided a defensive program that achieved significant declines in total defense and average points allowed while coaching All-CAA award winners. 

Director of Athletics Dave Blank emphasized Trisciani’s ability to offer continuity and continued momentum to the program and its student-athletes as top selling points in his selection for the head coaching role. The process of building a program to compete for championships year in and year out began two years ago, with Elon seeing success including a top-five national ranking and victories such as a win over No. 2 ranked James Madison this season. 

Director of Athletics Dave Blank introduces head football coach Tony Trisciani during the Dec. 17 press conference.
“This is obviously a program that has unbelievable momentum right now,” Blank said. “Two years ago, we installed a system we believed in. Most importantly, the players bought in and they led the way.”

The desire for continuity expressed by the players was a driving force behind the selection of Trisciani as head coach, Blank said. “I know what we’re getting, and I’m really excited about what we’re getting. … This guy has been around a lot of football success and I don’t have any doubt he’ll keep it going.”

A standout player at Springfield College, Trisciani held coaching roles at his alma mater, Alfred University, Whitehall High School, the University of New Hampshire and Lehigh University before coming to Elon for the 2006 season. He left Elon to join Villanova University as its secondary coach and recruiting coordinator, with the team leading the nation in total defense during its 2016 campaign. 

​Trisciani said his first priority is securing a recruiting class, with prospects to sign commitments by Wednesday, and putting a staff together that can help continue Elon’s winning tradition. Five top members of the current coaching staff are remaining at Elon, which Trisciani said speaks to the faith they have in the system Elon has built. 

Returning players won’t face the challenge of learning new schemes and new terminology, Trisciani said. He looks at this coaching transition as an opportunity to bring the team even closer together.  

“I’ve been preparing for this my whole life,” Trisciani said. “This is the right job, and the right time. … Today is by far the greatest day of my football career.”

Trisciani and his wife, Julie, live in Gibsonville with their two chidlren, Shane and Hannah.