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Merritt welcomes Tom Masella as Defensive Coordinator

Merritt welcomes Tom Masella as Defensive Coordinator

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Bryant University head football coach Chris Merritt is pleased to announce the addition of three-time Northeast Conference champion Tom Masella to his coaching staff for the upcoming season.

Masella will serve as the Black and Gold's defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. He brings over 30 years of collegiate coaching experience, including six seasons at the FBS level and 10 as a head coach, and has been a part of seven conference championship teams.

"I couldn't have been luckier to hire a guy that was a head coach at the FCS level and was a player, coordinator and head coach in the Northeast Conference," Merritt said. "Tom is an excellent defensive coach that has been the defensive coordinator at two FBS programs and is well known amongst coaches in the entire Northeast corridor. The experience he brings to the table will be invaluable to Bryant as well as the kids that play for him."

Masella was a part of conference championship teams at Boston University (1993), Louisiana Tech (2001), UMass (2003), Central Connecticut (2004, 2005), Fordham (2007) and Wagner (2012). He served as the final head coach in BU history, spent two seasons at the helm at CCSU and six at Fordham. In addition, Masella has spent 15 years as a defensive coordinator at both the FBS and FCS level.

"I'm really excited to join the Bryant University family," Masella said. "The University is one of the top academic institutions in the country and the NEC has developed into one of the top conferences in FCS football. I look forward to helping our student-athletes develop on and off the field as we strive to win a conference championship."

Masella's most recent coaching stop was at the FBS level with the University of Massachusetts. He served as the Minutemen's defensive coordinator for three seasons, coaching four first team all-conference players and six second and third team all-league honorees.

Prior to UMass, Masella spent the 2012 and 2013 seasons as the associate head coach and offensive coordinator at his alma mater, Wagner. Masella helped the Seahawks win the 2012 NEC title, coaching All-NEC First Team QB Nick Doscher.

Masella served as Fordham's head coach for six seasons from 2006-2011, winning the 2007 Patriot League title. That season, the Rams enjoyed one of the best turnarounds in FCS football, finishing 8-4 a year after they went 3-8. Masella was named the Patriot League Coach of the Year and a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award, which is given to the top FCS coach in the country. The Rams featured 12 all-league players that season.

Before spending six seasons in the Bronx, Masella won back-to-back NEC titles in his only two years as the head coach at Central Connecticut, the first-ever football championships at the school. The Blue Devils won 15 games over the course of his two seasons, the second-most in a two-year span in program history. Masella coached 11 All-NEC players and both the NEC Offensive Rookie of the Year and the NEC Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2005.

Masella spent the 2002 and 2003 seasons as the defensive coordinator at UMass, helping the Minutemen win the 2003 Atlantic-10 title and go 18-7 in his two seasons. The Minutemen went 10-3 in 2003, with their three losses coming to Division I-A Kansas State, I-AA National Champion Delaware and I-AA national runner-up Colgate. He coached seven all-conference players in his two seasons in Amherst.

Prior to his two years in Amherst, Masella served the defensive coordinator and secondary coach at Division I-A Louisiana Tech from 1999-2001. He turned the Bulldog defense into one of the top units in the country, as they finished 11th nationally in interceptions and 13th nationally in turnovers forced in 2001.

Before venturing south, Masella served as the assistant head coach and secondary coach at the University of Connecticut in 1998. The Huskies were ranked eighth that season with a 10-3 record and posted their only Division I-AA playoff appearance.

Masella's first head coaching stop came at Boston University in 1996 and 1997 after a stint as 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 advancing to the second round of the NCAA I-AA playoffs. He left the Terriers when the University disbanded its football program following the 1997 season.

A 1981 graduate of Wagner College, Masella started his coaching career with the Seahawks as an assistant under Walt Hameline from 1982-84. 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., under Dennis Barrett from 1985-89 where he also served an assistant athletics director.