The best way for Merrimack football to keep its momentum was to hire the guy who helped create it
The best choice for Merrimack was right down the hall.
Mike Gennetti was named the new Merrimack football coach on Monday evening, replacing Dan Curran, who stepped down to take the Holy Cross job last Friday. Gennetti was promoted from associate head coach/defensive coordinator.
"Mike has been a tremendously loyal and dedicated member of the Merrimack family and instrumental in our rapid ascension in FCS football." said Merrimack VP/AD Jeremy Gibson. "He is a fantastic coach and mentor and I am incredibly happy for Mike and his family as he elevates to this new role and leads our football program to new levels of success."
Gennetti's promotion comes after 19 seasons as an assistant for the Warriors. The program is only 28 years old.
"I want to thank President Dr. Christopher E. Hopey, Executive Vice President Jeffrey Doggett, Chief of Staff and Vice President Fr. Bryan Kerns and Vice President and Director of Athletics Jeremy Gibson for providing me the amazing opportunity to lead the Merrimack football program," Gennetti said. "This is truly an honor and I'm excited for what lies ahead for our program. Go Warriors!"
He's as through-and-through a Merrimack guy as you can get.
Sure, he's not an alum. He played at Worcester State and began his coaching career there before he joined the Merrimack staff. But Gennetti's time at Merrimack spans three coaches. He joined Jim Murphy's staff in 2005, and he stayed on when John Perry was hired in 2007. He remained on the staff when Curran was elevated to head coach in 2013.
The only coach in Merrimack history Gennetti didn't work for was inaugural head coach Tom Caito.
He's been through it all at Merrimack. He was there before Duane Stadium opened and before the program was D-I. He was there when Joe Clancy set passing records, and he coached Shawn Loiseau when he terrorized teams in the NE-10. He was there to help usher in the D-I FCS era of Merrimack football, and he was part of the staff that helped the program have immediate success.
If it's not broken, don't fix it.
There may have been the allure of a high-level FCS coordinator or assistant head coach coming in from elsewhere.
But isn't Gennetti also a high-level FCS coordinator?
The program is five seasons into its existence at the FCS level and has already played for two conference championships.
Over the last two seasons the team is 13-9 and 10-4 in the Northeast Conference.
Gennetti's defense ranked as one of the best in FCS and near the top of most categories in the NEC.
What's not to like?
Plus, he understands how to win at Merrimack. Every college's landscape is different, and there are different challenges. An outsider would have to learn how to navigate the campus and the program's expectations.
Gennetti has been there and done that, and his team has had success along the way.
There used to be a commercial for a mortgage company on the radio whose tagline was, "it's the biggest no-brainer in the history of Earth!"
All the proof you need is from the players. Multiple players contacted TMR in the last few days expressing their hope that Gennetti would get the job.
I'm told the players' reaction when Gibson told the team Monday that Gennetti was being promoted was overwhelmingly positive.
The Merrimack program has had a lot of momentum over the last two seasons. The best way to ensure that continues is to hire the guy who helped create it.
It was a no-brainer. Maybe it's the biggest no-brainer in the history of … well, you get the idea.