Dukes look to rebound from back-to-back NEC losses
To put the Gattuso Era in perspective, consider the fact that at no time during its 75-year history has the Duquesne football program won 71 games in a nine-year span. Duquesne's 51-13-0 record (.797) over the last six seasons is the third-best in NCAA Division I-AA over that span.
Gattuso (71-25-0), now in his tenth season, ranks second on DU's all-time wins list. Only Dan McCann (91-74-3), who led the Dukes for 19 years (1970-83, `88-92) has won more games, and spent more seasons as head football coach at DU.
During his tenure, the 39-year-old Gattuso has won five Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Football League championships (1995, 1996, 1999, 2000 & 2001), four Coach of the Year honors (1995, `96, `99 & `00) and in the process made Duquesne the first school in league history to win back-to-back titles. In addition, Gattuso has continually upgraded the Dukes' non-conference schedule, taking on such teams as Bucknell, Lafayette and Georgetown (Patriot League); Butler and Dayton (Pioneer League) and VMI (Southern Conference).
Gattuso's Dukes have also enjoyed post-season play, having participated in three ECAC Bowl games (1995, 1996 & 2001). He has coached three Associated Press All-America's (specialist Joe Rosato in 1996, linebacker Matt Fisher in 1998 and cornerback Leigh Bodden in 2001), and seen 43 players named first team all-conference a total of 67 times. With 18 starters returning from last year's 8-3-0 team, Gattuso has the tools to make a run at a fourth-consecutive league title in 2002.
Gattuso's first winning season as a college head coach came in just his second year at the helm when he guided the 1994 Dukes to a 6-4 record after going 4-6 in 1993.
The next season, Duquesne split its first two games before reeling off a school record 19 consecutive wins. In the process, DU swept to the 1995 MAAC crown with a 7-0-0 record in league play and a 10-1-0 mark overall. The Dukes capped the season with their first post-season bowl appearance since the 1937 Orange Bowl, with a 44-20 win over Wagner in the ECAC Bowl played at DU's Rooney Field.
For his accomplishments, Gattuso was named 1995 Division I-AA Coach of the Year by the ECAC Intercollegiate Football Conference, the MAAC Football League and Don Hansen's National Weekly Football Gazette.
Gattuso's 1996 team finished the regular season 10-0-0 (8-0-0 in the MAAC), marking the school's first undefeated regular season since 1941.
In 1999, Gattuso led the Dukes to four consecutive wins down the stretch to clinch the school's third league title in five years. In 2000, the Dukes won 10 games for the fourth time and made it back-to-back championships for the second time by rolling to the league title with a 7-0-0 MAAC record. Last year, DU rolled to its fifth MAAC title in seven seasons with an average margin of victory of 33 points per game in league play. Under Gattuso, Duquesne has finished no worse than third in the MAAC.
Gattuso's ties to Duquesne football date back to 1987 when he served as a part-time assistant for a season. He then returned to DU on a full-time basis in 1992 when he served as the program's first-ever full-time assistant. He accepted the head coaching position when Dan McCann retired following the `92 season.
Gattuso's coaching career began in 1989 when he accepted the head coaching job at his alma mater, Pittsburgh's Seton-La Salle High School. There, Gattuso took a team that was 6-34 over the previous four years including an 0-10 mark in 1988 and turned the program around. Seton-La Salle posted a 28-10-1 record and made three WPIAL playoff appearances in Gattuso's three seasons, highlighted by a WPIAL AAA Championship and a Parkway Conference Championship in 1990.
As a player, Gattuso earned second team all-state honors and was named Pittsburgh Post-Gazette AA Player of the Year following his senior season in 1979. He continued his playing career at Penn State University where he was the starting nose guard on the Nittany Lions' 1982 national championship team. Gattuso earned AP honorable mention All-America honors as a senior. He also was a two-time AP All-East selection and played in the East-West Shrine All-Star game.
Following graduation, Gattuso stayed on at Penn State as an assistant coach under Joe Paterno for one season before returning to the Pittsburgh area in 1985. He coached the Seton-La Salle junior varsity team for a year, before serving as defensive coordinator at Center Township High School in 1986.
From 1989-91, Gattuso utilized his bachelor's degree in administration and criminal justice by working for the Pittsburgh and Bethel Park police departments.
Committed to keeping the best in Western Pennsylvania at home, Gattuso and his staff are recognized as some of the top evaluators of local talent in the area. Each season, Gattuso has increased the number of rookies on the DU roster, while elevating the overall talent level of Duquesne's student-athletes. Even though a large percentage of the DU roster hails from western Pennsylvania, Gattuso and his staff have consistently expanded the boundaries of Duquesne's recruiting effort.
A native of Pittsburgh's South Hills area, Gattuso and his wife Colleen have two daughters, Jacqueline and Kaitlin.