Tag: Bill Kavanaugh

Five New England D2 Teams To Watch This Fall

Khyon Fitzpatrick and the New Haven Chargers will once again be a squad to watch in the Northeast-10 this fall. (PHOTO COURTESY: Clarus Studios)

By NoontimeSports.com

Our preseason college football coverage continues by highlighting five New England NCAA Division II teams to watch this fall – all the teams listed below compete in the Northeast-10 Conference (NE10).

In case you missed it, make sure to check out our New England FCS and Division III teams to watch, as well.

American International College (AIC): After beginning their 2021 campaign with three-straight wins, including a dramatic come-from-behind victory against Pace University, the Yellow Jackets’ winning ways vanished with a hard-fought loss to Bentley. AIC would lose its next five contests before ending its season with a 14-7 victory over the Setters.

The hope for the Yellow Jacket is they can use their final contest from 2021 as motivation – perhaps a learning lesson? – for what they must do to contend for a conference title.

AIC was competitive last fall – they certainly provided challenges for the top teams in the league but look for coach Kris Kulzer’s squad to finish with a few more wins this fall.

Wide receivers Jaheim McGuire and Jaxon Ramsay return after combining for 64 catches, 1,079 receiving yards, and nine touchdowns.

Bentley University: A new signal-caller will be spotted under center this fall – quarterback Stephen Sturm graduated following an impressive career with the Falcons, which saw him throw for 7,166 yards and 58 touchdowns in four seasons.

Additionally, Bentley will have a new coach as Alvin Reynolds takes over for Bill Kavanaugh, who stepped down as the head football coach in March. Reynolds has been with the Falcons since 2018 – prior to arriving in Waltham, he spent time with a slew of NFL teams, including the Baltimore Ravens, Denver Broncos, and Jacksonville Jaguars

Reynolds will guide a Falcons squad that finished 9-2 overall last year, as well as secured a bid to the NCAA Division II postseason for the first time since 2004.

Halfback Nathaniel Larkins, who finished second on the team with 558 rushing yards, returns, along with wide receiver Noah Neville (32 catches for 555 yards and six touchdowns). Linebacker Salvatore Lupoli Jr. also returns – he placed second on the team in total tackles with 90.0.

Saint Anselm College: Quarterback Drew Willoughby will be the player to watch on the Hawks this fall.

Named the NE10 Rookie of the Year last November, Willoughby enjoyed an impressive debut with the Royal Blue and White by completing 251 of 431 passing attempts for 2,803 yards and 22 touchdowns. Additionally, he added three scores on the ground.

Willoughby led Saint Anselm’s to three conference wins last year – the hope is he can continue his impressive play this fall, beginning in the opening week against Millersville University.

Halfback Vincent Wagner returns, as well, along with wide receiver Anthony Brown, who led the Hawks with nine touchdown receptions.

Southern Connecticut State University: The Owls won four of 10 contests last fall, including a non-league victory over Central Connecticut State University in the opening week (the Blue Devils, an NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) squad, compete in the Northeast Conference (NEC)).

As a team, SCSU averaged 332.4 yards per game – most of their offensive yards came through the air, thanks to wide receivers Tylon Papallo and Izaiah Sanders, who represented the program on the league’s second team. Papallo and Sanders combined for 10 touchdown receptions to go with 76 catches for 1,196.

The expectation is both student-athletes will return this fall, which will certainly pose problems for opposing defenses.

Linebacker Robert Nunez, who earned NE10 All-Rookie honors, will also be a player to watch on the Owls. He finished second on the team in total tackles

 (63.0) and solo stops (29.0).

University of New Haven: 27 graduate students helped the Chargers not only finish atop the NE10 final standings last fall with 10 victories but also advance to the second round of the NCAA Division II Tournament (UNH beat Bentley in the opening round before falling to Kutztown University).

It’s possible a few of these student-athletes will return this fall, but UNH will return some underclassmen, including defensive back Khyon Fitzpatrick, who finished second on the team with 62.0 total tackles.

Fitzpatrick was recently named a preseason first-teamer by The College Football Network (TCFN) – he, along with Bentley’s Cedie Dashiell II, was the only two student-athletes from the NE10 on the list.  

New Haven has been the team to watch (and follow) these last few years in the NE10 so the expectation is they will once again be in the hunt for a league crown.

Mass. College Football: Camping With Bentley University Football

Bentley University football is roughly one week away from beginning another season. (Photo Credit: Brian Willwerth/NoontimeSports.com)
Bentley University football is roughly one week away from beginning another season. (Photo Credit: Brian Willwerth/NoontimeSports.com)

By Brian Willwerth 

WALTHAM, Mass. – Bill Kavanaugh is starting his second season as the head coach at Bentley University, and is looking to keep the momentum going from a team that won four of its last five games in 2014. On Tuesday, we caught up with the coach after practice.

First and foremost, there is a quarterback competition going on in Waltham. Matt Montalto and C.J. Scarpa are vying for the starting job.

“Both kids, we have confidence, can lead our team,” said Kavanaugh. “So we feel really good about that. But we’re just not sure which way we’re going to lean.”

Kavanaugh has his leading rusher returning this season, Martin Bannerman, who scored five touchdowns in 2014. The coach also feels good about his depth on the offensive line and at the wide receiver position. Offensive lineman Matt Biscardi has been named a co-captain.

The defensive line consists of four seniors – Jeff Amell, Quincy Giles, Paul Norris and Bob Richman. The latter three are co-captains.

“As they go, our team will go. We know they’re going to be working as hard and competing as hard as anybody across the country,” said Kavanaugh.

In the secondary, the coach is happy to see some young guys stepping in at linebacker. There is also some experience at the defensive back position.

Bentley opens the season on Saturday, September 5 at Mercyhurst.

“The guys are ready to get into the groove and play a football game. They’re tired of seeing each other, and we’re tired of seeing them against each other,” said Kavanaugh.


Mass. College Football: Kavanaugh Returns To Bentley As Head Football Coach

By NoontimeSports.com 

Courtesy of the Bentley University sports information department, here’s today’s release about Bill Kavanaugh, who will be the new head coach of the Falcons football team:

WALTHAM, Mass. – Bill Kavanaugh, a 2004 graduate of Bentley University and currently the Director of Player Personnel for Penn State University Football, has been named the head football coach at his alma mater, Athletics Director Bob DeFelice announced this morning.

“I am excited for the opportunity to lead the football program at my alma mater, a place I have held in high regard since stepping on campus as a freshman,” said Kavanaugh, a native of Dartmouth. “The opportunity to return home to Boston and lead a program with such a great tradition is a dream come true.”

Kavanaugh, a co-captain of Bentley’s 2003 team that earned the program’s first-ever NCAA Division II tournament berth, returns to Bentley with nine years of college football coaching and administrative experience under his belt, the last six as part of the staff at Penn State, where he worked under Bill O’Brien and Joe Paterno.

“I’m thrilled that Bill has accepted our offer to become our head football coach,” said DeFelice. “He displayed his leadership ability as a team captain ten years ago and has since grown into an outstanding young man who will be a tremendous leader for our football program and Bentley University.”

Bentley Vice President for Student Affairs Andrew Shepardson said “It’s already a thrill to welcome back to campus a graduate who has gone out into the world and done great things, and is now returning to contribute to his alma mater.”

“I hope to build on the tradition of playing tough, winning football with focused student-athletes and high character people,” said the new Falcon head coach. “The standard at Bentley has been set high by Coach Yetten, Coach Boerman and their staffs.”

Kavanaugh, 31, has been the Director of Player Personnel for the Nittany Lions since April 2012, with his duties including directing all aspects of recruiting, managing a staff that included 14 coaches, a three-person personnel office and 30 interns, and responsibility for the oversight of a 115-player roster.

Before being elevated to that position, Kavanaugh was Penn State’s Recruiting Coordinator from January 2011-March 2012, the team’s Wide Receivers Coach from November 2011-January 2012 (including the TicketCity Bowl at the Cotton Bowl) and a graduate assistant coach, working with the running backs, from July 2008-January 2011.

“Bill Kavanaugh was a tremendous asset to us here at Penn State University,” praised O’Brien, who recently completed his second year as head coach at Penn State following five years with the New England Patriots. “He was involved in all facets of our program and I credit him with much of our success in recruiting and all of the things that went on behind the scenes here at Penn State.

“Bill will be a fantastic head coach at Bentley University,” continued O’Brien. “Bentley is very lucky to have a guy like Bill Kavanaugh.”

Kavanaugh began his coaching career serving under his father, Bill Kavanaugh, Sr., at UMass-Dartmouth during the 2004 and 2006 seasons. He worked with the Corsairs’ linebackers and special teams during his tenure and was also UMass-Dartmouth’s Event Coordinator during 2006-07.

Kavanaugh coached the defensive line at Stonehill College in 2007 and spend fourth months on the Bentley coaching staff in 2008 before getting the opportunity to coach under Paterno while pursuing his Master’s degree. He received his Master of Education in educational leadership in December 2010.

Bentley associate athletics director Kevin Loftus, who chaired the selection committee, said there were a number of factors that made Kavanaugh the choice. “Bill knows us, and he’s both an alumnus and a team captain. Bentley is a special place to him and he’s invested in the program.

“Having grown up as the son of a football coach, coaching is in his blood. He’s ready to be a head coach and he is experienced despite his young age. He’s been on the field with Paterno and he essentially served as the general manager under O’Brien.

“Over the past six years, Bill has been involved with the best-of-the-best, working at one of the nation’s premier academic institutions and competing in one of the country’s top athletic conferences, the Big Ten” concluded Loftus.

Kavanaugh was a four-year starter on the defensive line for Bentley from 2000-03, helping the Falcons to a 29-5 record over his final three seasons. He finished his career with 149 tackles, including 47.5 for losses, and 24.5 sacks. The majority of those sacks came as a junior in 2002 when he shared the NCAA Division II lead with 13.5 and was tied for second in sacks per game.

Honors included two-time first-team All-Northeast-10 Conference, 2003 d2football All-Northeast Region second team, 2002 Football Gazette Division II All-Northeast Region second team, 2002 Football Gazette Division II Mid-Major Defensive Lineman of the Year and 2002 Football Gazette Division II Mid-Major All-America. He was also Bentley’s defensive Most Improved Player as a junior.

“I look forward to building relationships with faculty, staff and the Bentley student body as we work together to cultivate America’s future business leaders,” stated Kavanaugh. “I look forward to meeting the team when they return from break and hitting the recruiting trail to bring more fine individuals to be part of a great team.”

Kavanaugh and his wife, Kristen, have one daughter, Anna, who will be one in late January.