Stonehill football head coach is 13th Stonehill representative featured in publication
Sports Illustrated's December 30 "Faces In The Crowd" will be posted here when made available online
EASTON, Mass. (December 27, 2013) – Stonehill College football head coach Robert Talley is featured in the "Faces in the Crowd" section of the December 30 issue of Sports Illustrated set to hit newsstands this weekend.
Talley is part of a special coaches' edition of "Faces" in SI's year-end double issue that features three regional covers that include the closing of Candlestick Park, Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson and Chris Davis and Ricardo Louis from Auburn University. Talley is recognized for leading the Stonehill football team to an 8-3 record, their first winning season since 1996 and a share of the Northeast-10 Conference regular season title. He was named the New England Football Writers' Division II/III Coach of the Year and is a finalist for Liberty Mutual Division II Coach of the Year. Talley is also cited for holding the career tackles record at Boston University (423).
Talley is the 13th representative of the Stonehill athletics department, and first head coach, to be recognized by Sports Illustrated in its "Faces in the Crowd" section. He joins 12 former Stonehill student-athletes, including one of his former football standouts, to be featured: women's lacrosse All-Americans Katie Lambert (6/16/2003), now the head coach at Stonehill, Lauren Stone (5/10/2005) and Erin Acone (6/12/2006), field hockey standouts Caitlin Gleason (10/2/2006) and Aly Boulis (10/22/2007), Rob Pascale (12/29/2003), Brendan O'Brien (2/20/2006) and Tyler Jackson (1/11/2010) from the ice hockey team, women's basketball honorable mention All-American Kelsey Simonds (1/23/2006), brothers Kevin and Keith Gill (4/7/2008) All-Americans for men's indoor track and field and football All-American Stephan Neville (9/26/2011).
Talley led Stonehill, picked seventh in the Northeast-10 preseason coaches' poll, to a share of its first NE-10 regular season championship with a program best 8-1 mark in Conference play. Stonehill's eight wins finished just one shy of the program record in 1995 (9-2), while its three losses all came to teams selected to participate in the NCAA Tournament. Talley has led Stonehill to back to back winning seasons in NE-10 play for the first time in program history and participated in the Conference Championship game for the first time on November 16.
Stonehill also made its debut in three major polls over the course of the season. Stonehill was among teams receiving votes in the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division II poll six weeks over the course of the season and is ranked sixth in the most recent Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) Lambert Meadowlands poll after being ranked as high as fifth. The Skyhawks were ranked as high as seventh in the NCAA Division II Super Region 1 rankings used for NCAA Tournament consideration and appeared in all three polls leading up to selection Sunday.
Stonehill produced a program-record nine All-Northeast-10 selections this season under Talley's leadership, all of which are underclassmen and just one a repeat honoree. Junior linebacker Brian Harrington (Rockland, Mass./Rockland) and junior wide receiver Nate Robitaille (Attleboro, Mass./Attleboro) have also been selected as Daktronics All-Super Region 1 and All-New England by the New England Football Writers. Harrington is also the first player in program history to earn the Joseph P. Zabilski Defensive Player of the Year award from the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston after setting an NE-10 and program record with his 151 tackles this season, marking the 11th-highest single-season total in Division II history.
One of Sports Illustrated's three regional covers this week features the closing of Candlestick Park, where Talley coached with the 49ers before coming to Stonehill.
Stonehill led the Northeast-10 in turnovers forced (30), fumble recoveries (14) and fourth down conversion percentage (53-percent/8-for-15), while ranking second for scoring defense (24.3 ppg), interceptions (16) and red zone offense (86%/32-for-37) and third for passing defense (246.8 yds per game). The Skyhawks were also the least penalized team in the Northeast-10 with an average of 4.1 penalties per game for 34.7 yards per game – ranking seventh nationally in Division II for both statistics – while ranking 18th nationally for turnovers gained and fumble recoveries.
Talley led Stonehill to its first five game winning streak since 1996, including back to back road wins at Southern Connecticut State University and the University of New Haven in mid-October that marked the program's first ever wins in the City of New Haven over the perennial regional powers. The 29-26 comeback win over New Haven was the first in program history and snapped the Chargers 22 game NE-10 winning streak and was among four comeback wins by the Skyhawks from double-figure deficits over the course of the season.
Talley, who was named the D2Football.com Northeast-10 Coach of the Year in 2012, has led Stonehill to a 36-36 (.500) record over his seven seasons, including a 30-27 (.526) clip in Northeast-10 play. The program's all-time coaching wins leader 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 34 All-Northeast-10 Conference honorees, including this year's program record total. In addition to two All-Americans, the program has also produced two All-Super Region I and four All-New England selections over his five seasons to date. Following the 2009 season, Stonehill received the NE-10's Team Sportsmanship Award for the sport of football. Stonehill has also had student-athletes perform in the classroom under his watch, with the team showing the highest improvement in cumulative GPA among Stonehill's male sports in 2012 and senior James Lanier (Westampton, N.J./Rancocas Valley) was named a semifinalist for the National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete award & William V. Campbell Trophy this fall after earning Capital One Academic All-District I honors as a junior.