Football Coaching Staff
Head Coach Mike Delong
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Michael C. “Mike” DeLong ’74
enters his 33rd season as a head football coach in the fall of 2013. He enters his 31st year at Springfield College alone. For the past 29 years, he has been the head coach at Springfield, his alma mater. Mike had also been the head coach at Maine Maritime in Castine, Maine in 1979 and 1980.
In the past 13 years, the SC football program owns a very impressive 94-43 record (.686 winning percentage), has appeared in post season play seven times, and played in the NCAA Division III tournament four times under DeLong.
Going back to the 1995 season, when Springfield College joined the Division III ranks, DeLong’s record here at Springfield College is 117-59, for an excellent .664 winning percentage.
With 165 victories at Springfield alone, DeLong has won more games than any other coach in the history of the SC program. Overall, Mike’s record at SC is 165-116-2, which translates into a .586 winning percentage. Add in his 12-6 mark in his two-year stint at Maine Maritime, and Mike’s 30-year record as a head coach is 177-122-2, good for a .591 winning percentage. With those 177 victories, Delong is the winningest active head coach in New England Division III.
DeLong has directed the Pride to five NCAA Tournament appearances, five Freedom Football Conference (FFC) titles, one Empire 8 co-title (in 2006), and four Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Championships. The five FFC titles were the most in the history of the now-defunct league. Springfield has also established college football’s premier running attack, leading D-III in rushing seven times (1996, ‘99, 2000, ‘02, ’03, '06, and 2012) and finishing second in 2004 and 2009.
With success comes well-deserved recognition, and DeLong’s mantle is becoming pretty crowded. In 2001, the All-American Football Foundation selected DeLong as a recipient of its Johnny Vaught Lifetime Achievement Award for Head Coaches. He also won FFC and American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) District I Coach-of-the-Year accolades in 2000 and ‘03. In 2006 alone, DeLong earned four Coach of the Year awards. He was named Empire 8 Coach of the Year (unanimously), NEFWA Division II/III Coach of the Year, AFCA Division III Coach of the Year (Region I), and d3football.com East Region Coach of the Year.
Ranking the merits of individual teams in a program with such a rich history is nearly impossible. It would be hard, however, to top what DeLong’s ’03 squad accomplished. How does the first 10-0 season in school annals sound? Or the top seed in the East in the NCAA Tournament and a first-round bye, also program firsts? National ranking, you ask? This team entered the post-season ranked No. 6 in the AFCA D-III National Poll, and won its fifth FFC title and fifth national rushing championship (398.5 yards-per-game). DeLong spent several nights on the banquet circuit after the ’03 season, winning AFCA Region I, Gridiron Club of Greater Boston, and FFC Coach-of-the-Year honors.
In 2006, the Pride achieved lofty goals. The team finished 10-2, won its first Empire 8 co-title (5-1), and reached the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time. SC defeated Curry in the first round, before losing to St. John Fisher in the NCAA Round of 16. On the way, DeLong coached junior QB Chris Sharpe, who became winner of numerous awards, including the Melberger Award, symbolic of the National Division III Player of the Year. Sharpe led the nation in rushing yards per game (161.8) and scoring average per game (17.7 ppg). As a team, SC led the nation in rushing offense (374.7 ypg) and turnover ratio (+1.92 pg). The team finished ranked #11 by Don Hansen's Football Gazette, #15 by d3football.com, and #1 in New England Division III. The team was also ranked as high as 10th nationally and #2 in the Lambert poll. As a team, SC broke several school records, including most rushing yards (4,496) and most total yards (4,972) in a season.
In the 2004 season (8-2, ECAC Division III North Atlantic Championship), the Pride received its highest national ranking in history when it found itself fourth in the national polls for six straight weeks.
In ’02, DeLong and the Pride captured their third NCAA Tournament berth since ‘98. SC posted an 8-2 overall record and captured its fourth FFC Championship in six seasons. The Pride, which went 6-0 in conference play for the third time in five seasons, ranked No. 20 in the final AFCA Division III Poll. SC led D-III in rushing (356.7), and averaged 40.6 points-per-game in the regular season. DeLong’s 100th career win as SC’s head man came on Oct. 26, a 31-22 triumph at WPI.
DeLong led SC on a magical ride in 2000. The Pride’s 11-2 record, the most wins in school history, included SC’s third FFC title and a trip to the East Region Final of the NCAA Championship. It was the first time a New England school had gone to a regional final. SC also became the first D-III squad ever to compile 4,000 rushing yards in one season, leading the nation and setting a Division III record with 4,275 yards. The Pride, which scored at least 40 points in seven contests, established a school record by averaging 43.0 points-per-game. DeLong was named coach of the year by several organizations, including the AFCA (Region I), the New England Football Writers and the FFC.
The 2000 campaign marked the second time in three years that SC reached the post-season. In ‘98, SC compiled a 9-2 record, tying the then-school record for wins in a season. DeLong’s squad also captured the FFC crown with a 6-0 mark and competed in its first NCAA Tournament. SC was ranked first in the final NCAA Division III East Region poll and seventh in the Lambert-Meadowlands Division III poll. The Pride averaged 39.2 points and led the conference in total offense (461.8) and rushing (381.4, second nationally).
DeLong led SC to a share of the FFC crown in ‘96 after posting a 5-1 record in conference play. The Pride won the first of six national rushing crowns (351.2) and ranked first in the FFC in total offense (409.2). In ‘95, DeLong guided the Pride to an 8-2 record in its first D-III season and the ECAC Division III Northeast Championship with a 49-26 victory over Cortland State, the first playoff contest in the program’s history.
DeLong is a 1974 Springfield College graduate and the 13th head coach in the long and distinguished history of the program, which dates back to 1890 and Amos Alonzo Stagg. The 57-year-old DeLong was a letter-winner in basketball, football, golf, and track at Holland Patent Central High School in upstate New York. As an undergraduate at SC, DeLong received his bachelor’s degree in physical education and was a defensive lineman under Coach Ted Dunn for three seasons.
After graduation, DeLong served as head wrestling coach and assistant football coach at Holland Patent High School for three years before attending the University of North Carolina. While earning his master’s degree in physical education at Chapel Hill, DeLong was a volunteer graduate assistant defensive coach on a team that played in the Liberty Bowl.
In 1978, DeLong was appointed assistant professor of physical education at Maine Maritime and served one year as defensive coordinator before taking over the head coaching duties the following season. After a 4-5 record in ‘79, DeLong’s squad followed with an 8-1 mark in 1980, which was the team’s best showing in its 35-year history. He was named the New England Coach of the Year by United Press International and The Boston Herald-American after the Mariners won the New England Conference Championship.
DeLong returned to Springfield College as the defensive coordinator in 1981. He was promoted to head coach in 1984. The resurgence of SC football began when he installed the multiple option offense in 1987. The Pride recorded a 5-3-1 mark in ‘87 and followed with a 6-3-1 record in 1988, marking SC’s first back-to-back winning seasons since the ‘80 and ‘81 campaigns.
In addition to coaching, DeLong is an associate professor in the Department of Physical Education and Health Studies. He also served as a member of the College’s Faculty Senate. DeLong and his wife, Lynne, reside in Monson. They have two children: Rob and Kelly.
Offensive Coordinator Mike Cerasuolo
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Michael Cerasuolo ’93 enters his 13th season as offensive coordinator. With Cerasuolo devising the game plans, the Pride has been an offensive machine in recent years. Under his direction, the Pride has won five national rushing titles, including most recently in 2011. In the last 83 games, Cerasuolo’s unit has eclipsed the 40-point mark 32 times, the 50-point plateau 14 times and the 60 point mark on eight occasions. Four of his offensive linemen, Andrew MacFadyen ’02, Brian Dewey ‘05, Adam Feit ’07, and Sean Meagher '11 have earned All-America honors.
A 1993 Springfield graduate and a native of Northboro, Mass., Cerasuolo was the offensive coordinator at Division II Mansfield (Pa.) during the 2000 season. He was also in charge of the offensive line, quarterbacks, tight ends, short snappers, holders, and kick returners. Prior to Mansfield, Cerasuolo held offensive coordinator positions at Alfred (N.Y.), Lebanon Valley (Pa.), and SUNY Cortland. He was also the offensive line and tight ends coach at the University of Maine, and defensive line coach at Ithaca (N.Y.). A standout center, Cerasuolo was named SC’s most valuable offensive player during his senior year. He was a two-time Division II All-New England selection (1991, 1992), and a 1992 Associated Press and New England College Football Writers’ Association All-Star. After earning his bachelor's degree in physical education from Springfield College, Cerasuolo went on to receive his master's degree in sport pedagogy from Ithaca in 1995. Mike and his wife, Tracy, reside in Southwick with their two children.
Defensive Coordinator Jack Holik
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Jack Holik G’82 is in his 33rd season on the Springfield College football staff and his 30th as an instructor in physical education and health fitness. He serves as the Pride’s defensive coordinator. In 2005, Holik was recognized as the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston Assistant Coach of the Year, a prestigious regional honor bestowed upon an assistant football coach from New England.
An excellent recruiter and football technician, Holik is widely regarded as one of the top defensive specialists in Division III. In 2006, his club finished first in the nation in turnover ratio (+1.92 pg). In 2003, the Pride defense was ranked among the leaders nationally against the run (20th/102.2 ypg) and total defense (30th/273.4 ypg). In 2002, SC was ranked 14th in pass-efficiency defense (86.3) and 22nd in total defense (253.5) in D-III. Holik served as captain of the baseball and football teams at Manchester (Conn.) High and received the “Outstanding Student-Athlete” and Yale Club of Hartford awards for excellence in academics and athletics. He also played baseball and was an All-New England football lineman at Trinity College, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in history in 1975. Upon graduation, Holik returned home to serve as Manchester High’s head football coach for four years before earning his master’s in physical education from Springfield College in 1982. He and his wife, Janet, reside in South Windsor, Conn., with their daughter, Caitlyn Sue, and son, J.W.
Halfbacks Coach Ryan Gunningsmith
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Gunningsmith begins his second year on the sidelines for the Pride and will coach the halfbacks. A 2010 graduate of Springfield College with a degree in criminal justice, Gunningsmith spent five years in the football program, including two years starting at linebacker. Originally from Trumansburg, N.Y., Gunningsmith will spend his time recruiting in New Jersey while working on a Master's in Athletic Administration.
Wide Receivers Coach James Kikel
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Kikel will make the move to the sidelines and act as the Pride's wide receivers coach. Kikel recently graduated from Springfield College in 2012 with a Math/Education degree. As a captain during the 2011 season, Kikel was a staple in the Pride secondary, earning Empire 8 All-Conference honors after leading the conference in tackles. While pursuing a Master's in Athletic Administration, Kikel will spend his time recruiting in the New York City area.
Defensive Ends Coach Cody Flanigan
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Flanigan is in his second season as a coach at Springfield and will be charged with the defensive ends. Currently working towards a Master's in Athletic Administration, he graduated from Springfield in 2010 with a degree in Criminal Justice. Flanigan had a decorated career at Springfield, as he was a two-year captain and was honored three times with Empire 8 All-Conference honors as a standout on the defensive line. He will be recruiting in upstate New York.
Defensive Tackles Coach Dave Uimonen