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Greatest Coach in Duquesne Athletics History?
Let the debate begin. Is Greg Gattuso the greatest coach in Duquesne Football history? It says here that he is.
The bottom line: Coaching wins are not all that “relative.” Yes, Gattuso won most of his football games at Duquesne against an NCAA Division I-AA mid-major schedule, but he was doing it with a I-AA mid-major roster. A win is a win on an even playing field.
What truly separates Gattuso from other coaches in Duquesne Football history though (other than his record 97 wins) was his ability to score upsets.
No I-AA mid-major team had more wins over I-AA scholarship teams than Duquesne during Gattuso’s tenure. This is where Gattuso distinguishes himself as an outstanding coach. Among his biggest upsets were the Dukes’ wins at Lafayette College (1999), at the Virginia Military Institute (2000), versus Lafayette (2000), vs. VMI (2001), vs. Bucknell University (2002), vs. Lafayette (2002) and at the College of the Holy Cross (2004).
Some followers of Duquesne Football will point-out even more upsets, and some others will argue that some of these wins were not even upsets given how good Duquesne was in these seasons. Well, credit that to Gattuso as well.
The Dukes were remarkably consistent at its level of play during Gattuso’s tenure as well. Never mind the upsets for a minute. Duquesne won eight Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) championships under Gattuso from 1995-2004, including six straight from 1999-2004. Amazingly, the team won 33 straight MAAC games during that run.
The ability to avoid an upset loss in the conference during a six-year span like this is incredible and speaks volumes to the quality of head coach that Gattuso was at Duquesne.
Throw in a 2003 NCAA Division I-AA Mid-Major national championship, a runner-up finish to that championship in 2002 after an 11-0 regular season, a 10-0 regular season in 1996, two ECAC Bowl victories (1995 and 2003) and a school-record 19-game winning streak from 1995-1996 and you are very hard-pressed to keep Gattuso out of the top three in this countdown, especially given that Gattuso took over the Dukes in 1993 in their first year of I-AA football.
(Image: Greg Gattuso with the Duquesne University Football Team, Copyright Duquesne University)
By Robert Edward Healy, III