Staten Island, NY -- Assistant head coach/QBs coach Tom Masella, a former star defensive back at Tottenville High School and Wagner College, will take on the additional duties of offensive coordinator in 2013, Seahawk head coach Walt Hameline has announced.
Masella replaces Jason Houghtaling, last season’s offensive coordinator/offensive line coach who recently accepted the offensive coordinator position at Cornell. Handling the offensive line coaching duties for the Seahawks in 2013 will be Ben Martin, a former assistant at Texas A&M and Princeton.
Masella has held coaching positions at nine different institutions, including head coaching stints at Fairfield, Boston University, Central Connecticut and Fordham. He began his coaching career at Wagner upon graduating from Wagner at the end of the 1981 Fall semester, serving as an assistant under Hameline from 1982-1984. He re-joined the Seahawk staff last winter and, in his first season back on Grymes Hill, served as a mentor to Seahawk record-setting quarterback Nick Doscher, who threw 13 touchdown passes while throwing just one interception, spearheading Wagner’s magical 2012 NEC Championship season.
The 1981 Seahawk team that Masella played on as a senior was the first team that Hameline coached at Wagner. During his four years on Grymes Hill, Masella intercepted 14 passes, a figure that, to this day, ranks fourth on the Seahawk all-time list.
Following his three years at Wagner, Masella moved on to his first coordinator position, serving as the defensive coordinator at the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y., here he was also an assistant athletics director.
“The Wagner football program is extremely fortunate to have Tom on our staff daily as a leader, a winner and a friend,” said Hameline. “I’m confident that, in his added role as offensive coordinator, Tom will help us build on the success that we achieved last season. As I said when he returned to Wagner last February, I’ve coached him, I’ve coached with him, and I’ve coached against him. But, above all, Tom’s a great person, who’s seen and done it all in this profession. He’s truly a coach’s coach, and someone whose valuable wisdom and insights will continue to benefit our student-athletes going forward.”
Masella has also served in various assistant coaching roles at UConn, UMass and Louisiana Tech. All told, he has been a part of six conference championship teams. He has won three conference titles as head coach – a Patriot League championship at Fordham in 2007 and a pair of NEC titles at Central Connecticut in 2004 and 2005. As an assistant, in addition to being a member of the 2012 Seahawk NEC championship staff, Masella was part of conference-winning staffs in 2003 at the University of Massachusetts and in 2001 at Louisiana Tech .
In his second season at Fordham in 2007, Masella guided the Rams to one of the best turnarounds in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) as the Rams rebounded from a 3-8 record in 2006 to post an 8-4 mark that year and won the 2007 Patriot League crown, earning a berth in the NCAA FCS Championship. At the conclusion of the 2007 season, Masella was honored as the Patriot League Coach of the Year as well as the AFCA Regional Co-Coach of the Year. He also was named the Bronx Sportsperson of the Year by the New York Daily News as well as being a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award, presented annually to the NCAA FCS National Coach of the Year.
In 2007, the Rams had 12 players named All-Patriot League, four of whom were Masella recruits, including running back Xavier Martin, who was named the League’s Rookie of the Year. The Fordham turnaround was the result of a potent spread offense instituted by Masella prior to the 2007 season, combined with a tenacious defense.
Prior to his tenure at Fordham which lasted from 2006-2010, Masella served as head coach at Central Connecticut in 2004 and 2005, leading the Blue Devils to consecutive NEC titles, the school’s first ever football championships. He led the squad to 15 wins over the two seasons, the most wins recorded over a two-year period in school history.
In 2005, the Blue Devils finished with a 7-4 record, tying for the NEC crown with a 5-2 conference record. Eleven of Masella’s student-athletes received All-NEC accolades in 2005, including the league’s Offensive and Defensive Rookies of the Year.
In his first year in New Britain, Masella and the Blue Devils put together one of the most successful campaigns in program history, posting an 8-2 overall record and a 6-1 conference mark, which was good for a share of the NEC Championship, the first football conference title school history. For his efforts, Masella was named NEC Coach of the Year, becoming the first Blue Devil head football coach to garner Coach of the Year honors.
Prior to his two-year stint at Central Connecticut, Masella served as the defensive coordinator at UMass for two years where he coached current Seahawk defensive coordinator Malik Hall. In 2003, the Minutemen won the Atlantic-10 championship and received a bid to the Division I-AA playoffs. UMass finished 11th in the final Sports Network I-AA poll that year with a 10-3 overall record with the three losses coming at the hands of Division I-A Kansas State, I-AA national champion Delaware, and I-AA national runner-up Colgate.
In Masella’s two seasons at UMass, the Minutemen compiled an 18-7 record, finishing the 2003 season as the 30th ranked team in I-AA in rushing defense (125 yards per game). Individually, three of his defensive players were named First-Team All-Conference and four more players were named to the Second and Third Team All-Conference squads.
Masella arrived in Amherst after spending three seasons as the defensive coordinator at Louisiana Tech, helping turn the Bulldog defense into one of the tops in the nation. His 2001 defense ranked 11th in the nation in I-A in interceptions and 13th in turnovers forced as the Bulldogs won the Western Athletic Conference championship in their first season in the conference.
Before venturing south, Masella served as the assistant head coach and secondary coach at UConn in 1998, a squad that ended the season ranked eighth in I-AA with a 10-3 record while earning the Huskies’ lone Division I-AA playoff appearance.
Central Connecticut wasn’t Masella’s lone head coaching experience, as he served as the head coach at Boston University in 1996 and 1997 after a stint an assistant there from 1990-94. In 1993, he was the defensive coordinator for the Terriers as they finished the regular season undefeated, winning the Yankee Conference and earning a bid to the NCAA I-AA playoffs where they advanced to the second round. He left the Terriers when the University disbanded its football program following the 1997 season. Prior to becoming head coach at BU, Masella was named the first head coach at Fairfield University when the school established its football program in 1995.