Yale goes to Harvard for new football coach
By PAT EATON-ROBB
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) Yale University went to Harvard to find its new football coach.
Tony Reno, who served as an assistant for the Crimson for the past three seasons, was introduced Thursday as the Bulldogs new coach, ending a turbulent process that began with the resignation of Tom Williams over embellishments to his resume.
"I am the right person for this job," Reno said during an afternoon news conference. "There is not another person that understands this place. There is not another person that can recruit this place, and can produce the football program we're going to produce here."
Reno, 37, was the third coach reported to be in line for the job. UConn defensive coordinator Don Brown took himself out of consideration on Monday, after several media outlets reported he would be offered the position.
On Wednesday night, Georgetown coach Kevin Kelly did the same thing.
The New Haven Register, citing Yale sources, reported Wednesday night that Lehigh offensive coordinator Dave Cecchini would be hired, but later retracted that story.
"There were many incredible coaches that we discusses, visited with, went to see, brought to campus, vetted," athletic director Tom Beckett said. "And at the end of the day, we are absolutely thrilled with the choice of Tony."
Reno coached at Yale for six seasons, five as defensive backs coach, before taking on similar duties at Harvard, where he coached the corners and safeties and also served as special teams coordinator.
"He is a man of integrity, a family man and he will earn the respect of his players through his everyday attention to detail and disciplined style," said Jack Siedlecki, who coached Yale from 1997 to 2008 and hired Reno onto his staff.
Reno replaces replace Williams, who resigned after acknowledging that he was never, as he had previously claimed, been a candidate for a Rhodes Scholarship.
The university began an investigation in November after The New York Times reported officials of the Rhodes Trust said they had no records of Williams applying for the fellowship when he graduated from Stanford in 1992.
Williams said in a statement announcing his resignation that he was encouraged to apply for the scholarship by Stanford's fellowship office but acknowledged he never did. Williams' biography on the Yale football website also mentioned that he played for the San Francisco 49ers practice squad in 1993. In his statement, Williams also said he never signed a contract with that team.
Beckett said the university hired an outside firm to make sure all the candidates were thoroughly vetted this time.
"We were very vigilant," he said, adding that if there were anything hidden, it would have to be something Reno did as a child.
"And I ask him, and I talked to his dad, `Is there anything Mr. Reno, that we need to know," he quipped.
Williams was 16-14 at Yale and 5-5 in 2011. But he also was 0-3 against archrival Harvard.
Reno was asked how he could go from Yale to rival Harvard and back again, and quipped that it was a short ride. But he also said he would use what he learned in Cambridge to help Yale beat its archrival.
"What coach (Tim) Murphy does with his program is he prepares them to be great players on and off the field," he said. "He prepares them in the classroom. He does a great job on the recruiting trail. All those things that are pieces of the puzzle at Harvard ... those are pieces that I'm going to bring here to help make Yale successful."
Updated January 12, 2012