Elon's assistant head coach and defensive coordinator takes over head coaching duties for the Phoenix. He has previous coaching experience at CAA schools Villanova and New Hampshire.
Tony Trisciani, assistant head football coach and defensive coordinator, has been named the 23rd head football coach in Elon’s history. The announcement was made by Director of Athletics Dave Blank on Monday, Dec. 17. Trisciani will be formally introduced as head coach to the Elon community and media in a news conference at 1 p.m. Monday in the Walker Room of Alumni Field House.
Over the past two seasons, Trisciani helped lead the Phoenix to back-to-back FCS Playoff berths for the first time in program history, with Elon holding a consistent position in national rankings. Trisciani assumes the head coaching position with 23 years of coaching experience – including 13 years at CAA football programs. Throughout his career, he has won championships, lead the nation in multiple defensive categories, and coached numerous all-conference and All-America student-athletes.
“We are thrilled to have Tony Trisciani as our next head football coach at Elon,” Blank said. “Coach Trisciani has played a pivotal role in the success of our football program over the past two seasons and he knows first-hand what it takes to win at Elon. He has the passion, experience, and leadership needed to keep our football program competing at a high level both on the field in the CAA and in our classrooms. Tony and his wife, Julie, and their two children, Shane and Hannah, have built great relationships in the Elon community during their time here and we couldn’t be more excited to have them remain a part of our university.”
This is Trisciani’s second coaching stint at Elon; in 2006 he was a defensive backs coach and special teams coordinator. Trisciani returned to Elon ahead of the 2017 campaign and has helped the Phoenix defeat six top-25 programs over the last two seasons. The signature victory was the Oct. 6 defeat of No. 2 James Madison in its home stadium, a game in which Trisciani’s defense held the Dukes running game to just 103 rushing yards.
“I am proud to be the head football coach at Elon University. I’d like to thank President Book, Dave Blank, and the rest of the administration for the opportunity to lead our football program and student-athletes,” Trisciani said. “During my tenure, I have watched our players and staff fully commit to a culture of excellence both on the field and in the classroom, and I am excited and eager to continue what we’ve started together.”
In 2017, four student-athletes coached by Trisciani won CAA Football weekly honors, with Warren Messer earning STATS FCS National Defensive Player of the Week after recording 14 tackles and an 86-yard interception return for a touchdown in Elon’s Homecoming win over Rhode Island.
In November, Trisciani’s defensive squad had five All-CAA Football honorees with Messer becoming Elon’s first back-to-back defensive First Team All-Conference award winner since Chad Nkang achieved that honor in 2005 and 2006. Trisciani also coached Third Team All-CAA Football linebacker Matt Baker to his best season in maroon and gold with 7.5 sacks, placing second on Elon’s FCS-era list for most in a season.
Under Trisciani in the past two seasons, the yards per game allowed by Elon’s defense has fallen by 62.4 yards, with the average points allowed falling 7.1 per outing. This season, Elon forced 20 turnovers to lead the league with a plus-9 turnover margin after forcing 21 in 2017. Both Greg Liggs, Jr. and Connor Christiansen picked off four passes, tying for the second-most in the conference and the second-most in a season in Elon’s FCS history.
Prior coaching experience
Before returning to Elon, Trisciani coached five seasons at Villanova University as the Wildcats’ secondary coach and recruiting coordinator. With the program, 10 of his student-athletes earned All-Conference accolades. In 2016, Villanova led the nation in total defense and CAA Football in rushing defense and scoring defense. The Wildcats intercepted 10 passes and were third in the league in turnover margin.
Prior to his service at Villanova, Trisciani was the head coach at Whitehall High School in Whitehall, Pa. During his time at Whitehall, he led the team to three Eastern Conference 4A playoff appearances, including the 2009 Eastern Conference championship. In 2010, Trisciani guided the Zephyrs to the district championship game with a 10-3 record.
Trisciani spent the 2005 season as the linebackers coach at Lehigh University. Before that, he spent four seasons as the defensive backs coach at the University of New Hampshire, where he led three student-athletes to All-CAA Football honors. The run following his time as restricted earning running backs coach at New Hampshire from 1998-2000, during which Trisciani coached two future NFL performers in Jerry Azumah and Dan Kreider.
Other collegiate coaching positions for Trisciani include Alfred University and Springfield College.
As a player, Trisciani was a four-year starter and two-year captain at Springfield, where he was the 1992 New England Rookie of the Year and the 1995 Springfield College Athlete of the Year and Team MVP. He earned a bachelor’s degree in rehabilitation services in 1996 and pursued a masters in Health Studies from Springfield from 1996-98.
Trisciani’s first game as head coach of the Phoenix is set for Saturday, Aug. 31, when Elon visits North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, N.C., with his first home game at Rhodes Stadium set for Saturday, Sept. 7, against The Citadel.
The Tony Trisciani File
Birthdate: April 24, 1973
Spouse: Julie Trisciani
Children: Shane and Hannah
Education: Springfield College, bachelor’s degree, 1996
2019 – Head Coach, Elon University
2017-18 – Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator, Elon University
2012-16 – Secondary/Recruiting Coordinator, Villanova University
2007-11 – Head Coach, Whitehall High School
2006 – Defensive Backs/Special Teams Coordinator, Elon University
2005 – Linebackers, Lehigh University
2001-04 – Defensive Backs, New Hampshire
2000 – Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks/Wide Receivers, Alfred University
1998-99 – Restricted Earnings Running Backs, New Hampshire
1996-98 – Graduate Assistant, Springfield College
1992-95 – Springfield College
Four-year starter and two-year captain
1992 New England Rookie of the Year
1995 Springfield College Athlete of the Year and Team MVP