Stonehill Skyhawks Athletics
Robert Talley
Robert Talley
Title: Head Coach
Phone: (508) 565-1848
College: Boston University, '91

Primary Recruiting Area: Northern California

"Robert Talley made a strong impression as an eager and focused young coach who is determined to advance his career."
-Bill Belichick, New England Patriots Head Coach regarding Talley's time with the Patriots. 

What They Are Saying About Coach Talley

2013 Liberty Mutual Division II Coach of the Year Finalist

2013 New England Football Writers Division II/III Coach of the Year

Featured in Sports Illustrated's "Faces in the Crowd" December 30, 2013

2012 Northeast-10 Conference Coach of the Year

“Robert Talley made a strong impression as an eager and focused young coach who is determined to advance his career.”

-Bill Belichick, New England Patriots Head Coach regarding Talley’s time with the Patriots.

Robert Talley, the program’s all-time wins leader in its varsity era, enters his ninth season as head coach of the Stonehill College football program.

Talley has led Stonehill to a 41-42 (.494) record over his eight seasons at the helm. He surpassed Connie Driscoll’s program record for wins with Stonehill’s first win of the 2014 season, a 24-17 victory over rival Bentley University on September 12, which broke a 19-year hex with the program’s first win in Waltham since 1995. Talley has led the Skyhawks to a 34-32 (.515) clip in Northeast-10 play, including a share of the 2013 NE-10 regular season championship. He has guided the program to five .500 seasons for the first time since the early 1990s and just the second time in program history overall.

Talley has produced 43 All-Northeast-10 Conference honorees, including a school-record nine in 2013 and 2014. In addition to the first three All-Americans in program history, he has also produced five All-Super Region I and five All-New England selections over his eight seasons to date. Following the 2009 season, Stonehill received the NE-10’s Team Sportsmanship Award for the sport of football. The Skyhawks also perform well in the classroom with seven CoSIDA Academic All-District selections, including a program-record three in 2014. James Lanier, ’13 and Brian Harrington, ’14 have both been named semifinalists for the National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Awards under Talley’s tenure.

Talley earned New England Football Writers Division II/III Coach of the Year honors and was also a finalist for the Liberty Mutual Division II Coach of the Year award in 2013 as he guided Stonehill to its best season in nearly 20 years with an 8-3 record overall, including an 8-1 mark in the Northeast-10 to earn a share of its first NE-10 regular season championship. The Skyhawks posted their first winning season since an 8-2 campaign in 1996 and fell a win shy of the single-season program record of nine in 1995.

Stonehill appeared among teams receiving votes in the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division II poll for the first time in program history and was ranked in each of the NCAA Division II Super Region 1 rankings in 2013. The Skyhawks finished ranked sixth in the final ECAC Lambert Meadowlands poll, after being ranked as high as fifth during the breakthrough campaign. Junior linebacker Brian Harrington became the program’s third All-American after posting a Northeast-10 record 151 tackles and earned the Joseph P. Zabilski Defensive Player of the Year Award from the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston.

Stonehill’s rise among the elite programs in the Northeast-10 continued in 2014 as the Skyhawks boasted the top defense in the region. The Skyhawks led the NE-10 in total defense, allowing just 284 yards per game, as well as both passing (189.3 yds/gm) and rushing defense (94.7 yds/gm). Stonehill was second in the Conference for scoring defense (19.6 ppg allowed). The Skyhawks ranked in the top ten nationally in Division II for total defense (6th) and rushing defense (10th), while also ranking 17th for red zone defense (NE-10 low 65.7%), 31st for scoring defense and 35th for passing defense. A record nine Skyhawks collected All-Northeast-10 honors for the second straight year, with junior Colin Markus leading the Conference in rushing to highlight five first team honorees.  

Talley earned Northeast-10 Conference Coach of the Year honors for his efforts in leading a Skyhawks resurgence in 2012. Stonehill posted its first winning season in NE-10 play since his first year in 2007, finishing with a 5-3 mark and earning the right to host an NE-10 Championship weekend clash with Southern Connecticut State University. Senior defensive back Jareed Gained collected honorable mention All-America honors and the Skyhawks were named “Team of the Year” in the Conference by

Stonehill tied for sixth in the Northeast-10 standings in 2011 with four wins, including a 3-5 clip in NE-10 play, winning their final two games of the season. The season saw All-America kick returner Stephan Neville become the all-time leader in NCAA Division II history with ten career kickoff returns for touchdowns. Neville later became the program’s first professional signee with the Montreal Alouettes in the Canadian Football League (CFL). The Skyhawks led the NE-10 in passing defense, yielding just 187.0 yards per game and also recovered the second-most fumbles in the Conference with 14 - good for 25th nationally. Stonehill also ranked 18th in Division II for 4th down defense (31.3%).

Neville earned All-America honors in 2010 from the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) as a kick returner after matching the NCAA Division II record with eight career kickoff returns for a touchdown. It marked the program’s first All-American in program history. The Skyhawks finished with a .500 (5-5) mark for the second-straight year and led the Northeast-10 and ranked sixth nationally for kickoff return average (25.9 yds/return), also leading the Conference in passing defense efficiency (108.9) and were third in interceptions (15).

In 2009, Stonehill overcame a slow start to win four of its last five games, including three in a row to end the season - capped by a rousing 23-21 victory over rival and then 24th-ranked Bentley University before an overflow crowd of 2,400-plus at W.B. Mason Stadium.

Stonehill led all of Division II in kick return yardage, averaging 26.7 yards per return, led by the efforts of Stephan Neville who became the first player in Stonehill football history to earn first team All-Northeast-10 Conference honors at two positions - cornerback and return specialist. Neville averaged a Division II best 36.7 yards per kick return, running three back for touchdowns. Stonehill also earned the Northeast-10’s team sportsmanship award in 2009.

Under Talley’s tutelage in 2008, Stonehill averaged 22.7 points per game - the most since the 2002 season - and finished seventh in all of Division II in turnover margin (+16). Momentous wins bookended the schedule with the Skyhawks securing the program’s first-ever win over a Division I-AA team -  a 14-13 decision over Wagner in front of a packed W.B. Mason Stadium to open the season. Then, with the Class of 2009 playing their final game, Talley guided his charges to a convincing 35-7 win over archrival Bentley. That victory snapped a 14-game losing streak to the Falcons and also saw the Skyhawks set a school-record with seven interceptions.

In his first season at the helm, the Skyhawks won as many games as they had in the previous two seasons and made drastic improvements in all facets of the game. Stonehill opened the season with three straight wins for the first time since 1995, defeated former Northeast-10 Conference foe C.W. Post for the first time in 11 tries and had the first shutout in nearly 60 games. Talley’s biggest impact came on the defensive side of the ball, where the Skyhawks produced two All-Conference performers and finished third in the nation in turnover margin (+16). Ball security played a major factor for Stonehill, as Talley’s charges committed only 12 turnovers and national low of only four fumbles. His ball-hawking secondary helped the Skyhawks finish second in the Conference in interceptions, amassing 16 picks.

Prior to his arrival in Easton, Talley held the positions of Special Assistant to former San Francisco 49er head coach Mike Nolan and Assistant Offensive Line Coach, where he helped mentor a line that paved the way for a record-setting season from second-year running back, Frank Gore. The team as a whole finished sixth in the NFL in rushing yards per game (135.8), highlighted by Gore’s 1,695 yards - third most in League.

Talley spent eight years on the staff at Dartmouth College, rising from defensive secondary coach in his first three years on the Big Green staff to defensive coordinator in his final five campaigns. During his time in Hanover, he developed All-Ivy defensive backs Clayton Smith and Steve Jensen, who was the 2001 Ivy League Rookie of the Year.

During the 1996 season, Talley was the linebackers coach at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. From 1991-1996, Talley was a member of the University of Massachusetts staff, first as assistant defensive backfield coach (1991-1992), then as defensive ends coach and special teams coordinator (1992-96). In 1992 the Minutemen went 7-3 and followed that season up with a 9-2 ledger, good for second in the Yankee Conference.

Talley spent five summers learning from some of the greatest football minds in the game, including the New England Patriots’ Bill Belichick, Tom Coughlin of the New York Giants, Dick Jauron, formerly of the Chicago Bears and Dennis Green, formerly of the Minnesota Vikings. At each stop he worked exclusively with the defensive line, except for his time with the Bears, where he worked with the defensive backs.

A 1991 graduate of Boston University with a Bachelor’s Degree in business administration, Talley served as co-captain during his senior season in 1990 and is the school’s career leader in tackles. A two-time All-America defensive back for the Terriers, he earned All-Yankee Conference honors during each of his final three seasons of play.

Talley and his wife Sarah reside in Easton, with their sons Jackson and Spencer.

The Talley Tally

  Overall   NE-10   Highlights
Year W L Pct.   W L Pct.    
2007 5 5 .500   5 4 .556    
2008 4 6 .400   2 5 .216    
2009 5 5 .500   4 4 .500   NE-10 Team Sportsmanship Award
2010 5 5 .500   3 5 .375    
2011 4 7 .364   3 5 .375    
2012 5 5 .500   5 3 .625 NE-10 Coach of the Year; NE-10 Team of the Year
2013 8 3 .727   8 1 .889   NE-10 Regular Season Champions
New England Football Writers DII/III Coach of the Year
Liberty Mutual Division II Coach of the Year finalist
2014 5 6 .455   4 5 .444    
Totals 41 42 .494   34 32 .515