March 20, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 51°F


Football coordinators pursue new positions in Division I

After an undefeated regular season from the Ithaca College football team that was one for the history books, the Bombers are seeing some of their staff members jump ranks in the college sports world.

The college’s offensive coordinator Sean Reeder has announced that he will be leaving the team and has accepted an offer as the tight ends coach at Division I University Of Pennsylvania, which competes in the Ivy League. In addition to this, defensive coordinator Trevor Warner has left to be the safeties coach at Stony Brook University, which competes in the Colonial Athletic Association, and is also a D-I program. 

The Bombers’ offense proved that it was no joke this season, as Reeder led an offense that averaged 385.6 yards and 37.2 points per game. In four seasons, he demonstrated a key role in transitioning from the offensive line coach to the offensive coordinator. At the University of Pennsylvania, Reeder will also reunite with former Bomber head coach Dan Swanstrom, who left at the end of the 2021 season.

Head coach Michael Toerper said via email that the football organization as a whole will continue to support Reeder and hope for success in his future.

“We are grateful for Coach Reeder’s contribution to Ithaca football,” Toerper said via email. “He has accepted an opportunity that will help propel him towards his career goals and we are all happy for him.” 

Losing both coordinators will be a big change for the Bombers as several seniors who have played multiple seasons with Reeder and Warner will be returning to play another season. Senior tight end Jon Crowley, one of the seniors returning in 2023, said that he is sad to see Reeder leave, but he thinks the team dynamic will not change too much.

“I think that the chemistry will remain strong for sure,” Crowley said via email. “We’ve been playing together for 4 years already so we all know each other very well. Obviously, Coach Reeder is a big loss, but we’re all so familiar with one another that the chemistry won’t change.

On top of offensive production, the Bombers’ defense had a strong season. The South Hill squad only allowed an average of 14.38 points per game and was ranked No. 9 by the NCAA for their pass-efficiency defense in all of Division III. 

In addition, three defensive backs were placed on the All-Liberty League First Team Defense under Warner in 2022: senior cornerback Anthony Robinson, senior safety Derek Slywka and graduate student safety Michael Roumes. 

Similar to Reeder’s position, Toerper explained that he was grateful to have Warner on the staff. Warner joined the team in 2019 as the defensive backs coach and special teams coordinator but was promoted to defensive coordinator after the 2020 season.

“Coach Warner will also be moving on to a positional role within a [Football Championship Subdivision] program,” Toerper said via email. “We are thankful for his efforts here at Ithaca and wish him nothing but the best, as well.”

Slywka, who will also be returning in 2023, echoed Toerper’s statement saying that he is sad to see Warner go, but said the caliber of defense will only continue to improve. 

“Coach Warner has already put in so much time with the defense,” Slywka said. “A lot of these players are stepping up from [junior varsity] or playing a bigger role next season and have already been developed a lot through the efforts of coach Warner. Coach Toerper should be able to develop us even further as he has had experience being the safeties coach at the Division I football program [the College of the] Holy Cross.”

Toerper said the program has a history of great assistant coaches in the past. Not only that, but the team has proven that it can fill the gaps in key positions after experiencing the withdrawal of Swanstrom last year. In just his first season as the head coach, Toerper achieved a 12–1 record, with his only loss being against No. 1 ranked team North Central College in the National Quarterfinals.

Senior quarterback A.J. Wingfield said via email that the offensive coordinator is now associate head coach Mike Hatcher. Hatcher has experience being the offensive coordinator at other schools, like Misericordia University, and served as the interim head coach in 2022 after Swanstrom left the program until Toerper was named as his replacement. 

On top of that, Slywka said that Toerper will be filling the role of the defensive coordinator. He explained that Toerper has experience in the past and is qualified for this role based on his previous jobs before being the program’s head coach.

“Coach Toerper should step in and coach the defense,” Slywka said. “Coach Toerper played safety in college and was previously our defensive coordinator. Not to mention he was the safeties coach at Holy Cross previously.”

However, Toerper said in an email to The Ithacan that he would not comment on anyone being named a coordinator, as nothing has been finalized.

Crowley said that the team seems sad to see the coaches go, but at the same time, it is both confident and ready to play next season. The team proved that they had the potential of being a D-III powerhouse and has even bigger goals for next season.

“It’s a bittersweet feeling because, on one hand, we’ll miss Coach Reeder and Warner,” Crowley said via email. “However, we’re very excited for the next coordinators to step up. We’re very excited to get back on Butterfield next year.”