New Head Coach John Troxell hires staff for Lafayette football

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Head Coach Troxell looks to reestablish Lafayette football as a power house in the Patriot League. He recently unveiled his coaching staff that will be tasked with accomplishing that goal. (Photo by Caroline Burns ’22 for The Lafayette)

Charlie Berman, Assistant Sports Editor

Following a 3-8 season, 2022 brings a new era for Lafayette football. Recent hire Head Coach John Troxell ’94 returns to College Hill for the third time in his career after winning two Patriot League Championships as a player in 1992 and 1994 and then returning seven years later as a defensive backs coach for four years, winning another two league championships in 2004 and 2005.

“Having grown up across the river [in Phillipsburg] and graduated from here, it is home to me, it is special,” Troxell said in his introductory press conference.

Spending the last 16 years at Division III Franklin and Marshall, Troxell arrived in Lancaster facing a tremendous uphill battle. The Diplomats football team was a perpetual bottom finisher in the Centennial Conference with little to no funding, no alumni or community engagement and forever being overshadowed by their school’s lacrosse team. Troxell turned the “Dips” into a Division III power, winning a Centennial Conference Championship in 2017.

Troxell looks to replicate his consistent success at his alma mater, as Lafayette has been mired in mediocrity since the retirement of Coach Frank Tavani in 2016. Lafayette went 15-33 under Head Coach John Garrett and constantly felt like they had the talent to really turn a corner, but could never achieve prolonged success.

“We will have a program that will be a model Patriot League program that mirrors Lafayette’s extraordinary values,” Troxell said. “We will win off the field and on the field so our program will have the highest level of discipline, character, and integrity.”

The new offense will be led by Offensive Coordinator and Quarterback Coach TJ DiMuzio, who had served as the wide receivers and passing game coordinator at Monmouth University.

Assisting him will be running back coach and former Division III Coordinator of the Year Anthony Johnson, Wide Receiver Coach Ryan Roeder, a Bethlehem native who has spent the last seven years working for the New York Giants and Penn State, and Tight End Coach Tyler Noll, formerly the offensive coordinator at Randolph-Macon.

The offensive line duties will be taken up by Assistant Head Coach Kevin Baumann who has coached with Troxell for the last 13 years at Franklin and Marshall.

The new defensive staff will be co-run by Mike Saint Germain and Lewis Walker. Saint Germain ’07 returns to Lafayette from Kutztown where he presided over three of the strongest seasons of defense efficiency in Division II history. Walker joins the staff after having coached defensive backs at many different FCS schools, such as Columbia University.

Rounding out the defense is Jeff Sejour ’06 coaching the cornerbacks, Meade Clendaniel to help coach the linebackers, and the sole remaining member of the previous staff, Andrew Seumalo, to coach the defensive line. Seumalo has also been tasked as the recruiting coordinator.

“It feels great to be back. I’m excited by the opportunity to work with Coach Troxell and the vision and plan that he has. He knows what he wants to do to take this program to new heights, I’m ready and excited to get back to work to help him get there,” Seumalo said.

This new staff inherits a promising young roster with question marks in key positions but leaders that will pick up the slack. Freshman quarterback Ah-Shaun Davis showed flashes of brilliance last year but struggled to get things going down the stretch before an injury sidelined him for the last game of the year against Lehigh.

Blocking for him will be an offensive line led by the highest-ranked recruit in Patriot League history, junior John Olmstead. Alongside him will be a three-man battery at running back of current junior Jaden Sutton, first years Najee Adams and return specialist Michael Hayes.

The defense is led by senior linebacker Marco Olivas and defensive lineman Damon Washington, along with returning senior Billy Schaeffer. The defense was a bright spot for the Leopards in 2021, keeping them in close point range in almost every game they played.

“I think the time is right, and the team is hungry to win,” Roeder said. “I think that Coach Troxell has assembled a great group of coaches.”

The team must rebound from an important class of seniors graduating in 2022, but the staff is young and hungry to build this program back to the top of the Patriot League.

“I clearly realize the responsibility that I have,” Troxell said. “Lafayette has such a long and storied football history, and we plan to build on that success and win championships. The Patriot League Championship should run through Fisher Field…we don’t need moral victories, we need a program that wins.”

Troxell and his staff’s first challenge in building “a program that wins” will be national signing day, Feb. 1 when the future class of Leopards becomes the present.