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Lehigh Fills Out Defensive Staff

This is some pretty stale news (thanks to the fact that I've been writing a Patriot League Preview piece in the I-AA.org fall preview magazine), but I wanted to announce here that the Mountain Hawk defensive staff has been completed.

Most of this is contained in the following press release:
Official Release

Defensive line coach Gerard Wilcher has been promoted from "secondary coach" to "secondary coach and defensive coordinator".

From the press release:

“When we hired Gerard as our secondary coach last January, we felt that he possessed the skills to develop into the defensive coordinator's role,” Lembo points out. “Our defensive backfield play exceeded my expectations last year, as we had four all-league performers and gave up very few big plays over the course of the season. Our players respect Coach Wilcher and will be highly motivated to continue to perform at a high level."

I agree. CB Neal Boozer-Gallman, CB Andrew Nelson, FS Kaloma Cardwell and SS Karrie Ford last year were actually somewhat underrated in the secondary, but they were a formidable unit. Villanova didn't test Boozer-Gallman a lot. Nelson made the key interception to seal the Colgate game. The secondary held James Madison to 122 yards passing in the I-AA playoffs. Fans are hoping Wilcher will be able to keep the momentum going into 2005.

Also in the press release is mentioned the hiring of Tony Trisciani as our new linebackers coach. He comes from the University of New Hampshire as a defensive backs coach. Last year the Wildcats' two best defensive players, Aaron Thomas and Corey Graham, were coached by Trisciani. Between them they had 7 interceptions and 240 tackles! That would seem to bode well of Trisciani's coaching abilities.

Furthermore, last year Trisciani's Wildcats stunned the I-AA world by upsetting mighty Georgia Southern in Statesboro, GA in the first round of the I-AA playoffs. He has experience coaching in big games.

Coahc Lembo's quotes:

“It is with great enthusiasm that we welcome Coach Trisciani to the Lehigh football family,” said Lehigh head coach Pete Lembo. “Tony has an outstanding reputation as both a defensive coach and as a recruiter, and I am very pleased that we were able to lure him away from New Hampshire.

“Tony has all the characteristics we look for in an assistant coach,” Lembo explains. “He is intelligent, hard working, loyal, and relates extremely well with others. Several members of our current staff have gotten to know him through recruiting travels and by working summer camps together, and it will not take long for our linebackers and other defensive personnel to warm
up to his magnetic personality."

He's not kidding when it comes to his recruiting. At UNH his recruiting area was New England and central Pennsylvania, and if you take a stroll down UNH's current roster, you see a lot of faces from those areas. I can only surmise that the addition of Trisciani will keep Lehigh's recruiting strong in the years ahead.

Overall, Trisciani looks like an outstanding coaching pickup. It amazes me how Lehigh is able to keep on hiring talented coaches when they get opportunities in the NFL (Kevin Higgins), opportunities to coach at I-A schools (Shannon Morrison, at Marshall) and opportunities to become a head coach elsewhere (Tom Gilmore, at Holy Cross).

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