The University of Albany formally announced the hiring of Greg Gattuso as its new head football coach on Monday, several days after reports of the move surfaced. Gattuso leaves behind the Maryland football team, for which he served as the defensive line coach and assistant head coach, one day after it accepted an invitation to participate in the Military Bowl.
Gattuso’s last head coaching experience came with Duquesne from 1993-204, and he returns to the Football Championship Subdivision level hoping to resurrect a Great Danes program that went 1-11 this season and lost coach Bob Ford to retirement. Ford was the only coach in the program’s 41-year history, assuming control of the club team in 1970 and guiding it through the ranks, ultimately winning six Northeast Conference championships. This season, though, Albany joined the much more challenging Colonial Athletic Association, where the Great Danes went winless in eight games before signing Gattuso to a five-year deal, the maximum allowed under state guidelines.
“Coach Gattuso is a proven winner who will sustain the legacy created by Bob Ford,” said Dr. Lee McElroy, Albany’s athletics director, in a press release. “His values of integrity, academic excellence, community service, and humility reflect the University’s commitment to quality. Coach Gattuso impressed everyone during the search process with his energy, vision, enthusiasm and understanding of the core values of the University at Albany.”
Gattuso came to College Park from Pittsburgh and quickly became a valuable asset under Coach Randy Edsall. His defensive lines were consistently among Maryland’s strongest positional groups, and he helped work with current NFL players Joe Vellano and A.J. Francis. For the past two seasons, Gattuso also served as the assistant head coach, making just north of $200,000 per year.
A news conference is scheduled for Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. With Military Bowl preparation already beginning, Maryland is not expected to fill the vacancy before 2014. At that point, the contacts of every assistant — save offensive coordinator Mike Locksley and defensive coordinator Brian Stewart — will expire, so more changes could be on the horizon. Edsall has indicated that those matters will be discussed only after the Terrapins face Marshall on Dec. 27 in Annapolis.
“I am fired up to meet the kids and get started,” Gattuso said in the release. “I feel the BCS training has sharpened my leadership skills and I am excited to
be a head coach again. The sense of community surrounding UAlbany has really impressed me, and I look forward to having my family be a part of it.”