Tag Archive: coaches

  1. Y-H Spissue: Head coach Tony Reno reflects on 50 career wins

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    In a game against the University of Pennsylvania on October 23, 2021, Tony Reno recorded his 50th career win as head coach of the Yale football team. That accolade, held by only five other coaches in Yale’s history, has been nine years in the making. 

    Reno took over as the Bulldogs head coach on January 12, 2012. Within six short years, the Massachusetts native brought home his first Ivy League championship. The Blue and White had not captured a share of the Ivy title since 2006, and had not won an outright championship since 1980, when Reno was six years old. Entering the 2017 season, Reno’s Bulldogs were projected to finish fourth in the conference. Reno navigated his team to a 9–1 record and 6–1 conference record, the only loss coming by a single point at Dartmouth. Reno’s team finished ranking 24th in the FCS after securing the Ivy title at home in a 24–3 beatdown of Harvard.

    In 2019, Reno captured his second Ivy title in three years and his third victory over Harvard in four tries. Team 147 went 9–1 overall and 6–1 in the conference, again only dropping a game to Dartmouth on the road. Since taking over as head coach, Reno has only posted two losing seasons and finished worse than fourth in the conference only once.

    Reno’s hiring in 2012 marked his return to New Haven after a three-year absence. In 2003, the Worcester State graduate joined former head coach Jack Siedlecki’s coaching staff as the wide receivers coach. The following year, he transitioned to lead the Bulldogs’ defensive backs, given his collegiate experience as a safety. In 2009, Ivy rival Harvard identified Reno’s talent and hired him as their special teams coordinator and defensive backs coach. The Crimson went undefeated in Reno’s final year with the team.

    “I’ve been fortunate to have some great players and some great assistant coaches,” Reno reflected after his 50th milestone win. “The success we’ve had, they’ve been a huge part of it and like I say all the time, I’m just a small piece in a great organization here. I’m very proud of what we’ve built and even more excited [about] where we’re going to take it.”

    Reno also said that he hopes to carry on the legacy of College Football Hall of Fame coach Carmen Cozza, who won 10 Ivy League championships and 179 wins over his 32-year career as the Bulldogs’ head coach.

    “Looking back at the history of Yale football and what Coach Cozza was able to do, it’s a goal of mine to be able to honor that and build on it, and just keep chasing greatness week in, week out, year in and year out,” Reno said.

    Coach Reno won his first game as the Bulldogs’ head coach in the 2012 season opener against Georgetown.

  2. The Next Tee

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    In my junior year of high school, I switched golf coaches. At my first lesson, he turned my shoulders, spread my feet, realigned my hands and pushed out my butt every time I approached the golf ball until I could barely move. For the first few weeks, my golf balls rarely left the ground, preferring instead to skirt and hiccup in front of me.

    I trusted in my coach. There were times when the sun was about to go down, gently burning its last light through the trees, when only a few balls remained in the empty plastic driving range basket and another fruitless practice session was about to end. I wanted to fold and swing the way I used to. But I resisted. I stuck with it, and eventually my shots started whizzing.

    After coming out of that initial dark period, I thought I was in the clear. But I was wrong. Growing impatient with my slow progress, I switched coaches again and again. I was introduced to more nuances about the golf swing and experienced the painful process of feeling like a novice on repeat. I came back day after day to yellow and white balls in a green plastic basket.

    I stopped taking lessons when I came to college, but when I thought about golf I still felt the bitter taste of those sessions. Now, I only picked up my clubs once a term, for intramural games or outings with friends. On those days, I swung without thought.

    Over spring break, I interned at an immigration foundation in San Francisco, and after work one afternoon, I walked through a quiet neighborhood, along the shining Golden Gate National Cemetery, and across a booming highway to a driving range tucked in a valley below the roads. I got a bucket of balls and one of the demo clubs in the pro shop for $11.

    I began by shooting at a yellow flag in the middle of the range. It took only a few minutes for my shots to get airborne again.

    About halfway through the basket, I took a drink of water. I remembered a drill I had done before, where I held my position at the top of the swing, before letting gravity take over.

    I stepped over the peeling yellow golf ball, and took my upswing.

    My shoulders were turned wide and my hands were extended behind my head. I looked at the golf ball below. For the first time, my hands and shoulders felt self-directed and I understood where they wanted to go. I recognized that the upswing was simply meant to put my body in a position of power.

    I released. My ball took a hop as my club clanged against the mat.

    I kept on going. The golf ball became a punching bag, and I punched and punched, feeling the stretch of the windup and the catharsis upon release. The golf balls sailed in their arcs.

    After I hit the last ball, I stood in the sun over the driving range. The desire that had kept me going day after day in high school was gone, filling me with a satisfying lightness. I walked home, freed of thinking about next time.