Saint Joseph's head football coach Lou Esposito announced that he will take a position with Western Michigan University as a defensive line coach.
Esposito's last day will be today, and A.J. Ricker will be named the 18th head coach in SJC history.
"It has been a tremendous honor to be a part of the SJC family," Esposito said in a news release. "Making this decision has been a difficult one because of the loyalty the SJC family has shown me over the years."
While the head coach of the Pumas, Esposito posted 29 career victories, which is fourth all-time, against 25 losses. He is among five coaches in the program's history that have left SJC with a winning record. During his tenure Esposito saw the Pumas post a record of 36-29. His predecessor, Tim Lester, who Esposito was a coordinator for in 2004 finished 7-4.
This past season Esposito became the fastest coach to achieve 25 career victories since Robert Jauron who coached the Pumas from 1954-58. Jauron and Joseph Dienhart (1938-42) are the only two coaches that coached at least five seasons and held a winning percentage higher than Esposito's .534. The Pumas finished this season 5-6 but went undefeated in Great Lakes Football Conference play earning their third GLFC title in Esposito's tenure.
"Coach Esposito was part of a core of coaches that elevated our program over the past six years," Saint Joseph's director of athletics Bill Massoels said in the release. "In the future we will strive to continue to operate our football program with the same dedication and standards Lou instilled. Although he was only part of the SJC family for six years, we think of Lou as an alumnus of the College through his continuous efforts of embracing the community."
Ricker was hired as an offensive line coach in January of 2009. In one season, the offensive line averaged 179.5 rushing yards and allowed only two sacks per game. Ricker earned the mantel of Great Lakes Football Conference Assistant Coach of the Year in 2009 for his SJC offensive scheme efforts.
"Coach Ricker is an impressive person that has embraced Saint Joseph's College and the Rensselaer community," Massoels said. "We anticipate he will be a great leader of our football program. His loyalty to the program and his sense of responsibility to the players are tremendous assets that will continue to take this program to new heights."
Was 29-25 in four years as Saint Joseph's head coach
One of five all-time Pumas coaches to post winning record
Coached Saint Joseph's offensive line in 2009
Named Great Lakes Football Conference Assistant Coach of the Year