Paul McGonagle emerged as the top choice from a pool of over 70 candidates, according to Fitchburg Sports Information Director Mike DePlacido.
"I'm very excited about the opportunity," said McGonagle
, "first and foremost, to work for the college and the community, and the opportunity to become the next football coach at Fitchburg." McGonagle will replace former Fitchburg State coach Pat Haverty, who resigned from the team during the offseason and recently accepted a coaching position with the Continental Indoor Football League's New England Surge.
..."Paul brings to the position exactly the combination of leadership, knowledge and enthusiasm that we look for in a coach," Fitchburg State President Robert V. Antonucci was quoted as having said in the press release.
...Since graduating in 1999, McGonagle has held coaching positions at Northeastern University, Eastern Kentucky University, Bucknell University, Stony Brook University and Bentley College. McGonagle spent his last two seasons at Division II Bentley, serving as offensive coordinator under the legendary Peter Yetten.
It was clear, Yetten said, that it was time for McGonagle
to take over his own program.
said that one of the things that drew him to Fitchburg State was the way the school supports its athletic programs.He
said that the recently constructed Elliot Field complex is a sign that the school cares about its student-athletes.
In fact, McGonagle
went on to say, he
was impressed by the way the school even gave the players a voice in the interviewing process.McGonagle
and other candidates were individually asked to sit down with the team and discuss their plans for the program, as well address any questions the players had for them.
playing days at Kentucky, McGonagle
experienced a head coaching change from a player's perspective.The memory of what that was like, he
said, helped him connect with the current Falcons.
"I went through it as a player," McGonagle
said that he
had moved back to the Northeast to settle down into family life with his
wife and two daughters.Getting his
first shot as a head coach in his
home state, he
said, made the experience that much sweeter.
"I really love the atmosphere of small college, New England football," he
said."That Saturday atmosphere is special."
With the support of the school, the players and, presumably, the Falcon fans, all that's left for McGonagle
now is to prove himself on the field.It's a challenge the new coach is welcoming with open arms.