Today: Jun 17, 2024

A look into the life of coach Rich Cavanaugh

Bobby MartinezSports Writer    

NEW HAVEN — Heading into his 28th season as Southern Connecticut’s football head coach Rich Cavanaugh has managed to build a program that has been successful on the field and also in the classroom.

“You really have to go out and recruit quality student athletes,” said Cavanaugh

Coach Cavanaugh has built winners on the field and also off the field. In 2012, ten student athletes received year end honors from the Northeast-10 Conference. Despite a tough season last year going 3-8, under his belt he has led the Owls to 19 winning seasons which was highlighted with 11 consecutive winning seasons.

Before becoming head coach at Southern, Cavanaugh did had to take on numerous jobs in order to prepare to take over a program completely.

“I graduated from college in 1976,” said Cavanaugh. “ I was a graduate assistant for two years then I taught history. Then I became an assistant coach at Lyman Hall for a year. After, I became the head coach at Branford High School before coming here in 1982 as an assistant head coach.”

Cavanaugh graduated from American International College earning himself both a bachelor’s and master’s degree. Cavanaugh has a bachelor’s degree in history and masters in counseling.

“I thought I was going to be a guidance counselor when I was in high school,” said Cavanaugh

Growing up as a kid, Cavanaugh said his dream job one day was to become a head football coach at any level whether it was high school, college or even the NFL.

“I always wanted to be a football coach,” said Cavanaugh.” I always wanted to be a head football coach and I was happy at the high school level.”

As a coach, dealing with student athletes can at times become a challenge. Some coaches only care about winning and will do whatever it is to make sure there players are on the field. But Cavanaugh focuses a lot more on academics with their players and said his players academics is the best accomplishment he has been a part of since joining Southern.

“To be honest with you,” said Cavanaugh, “the young men that played for me that got their degrees and gone on and become successful means more to me than all the wins I been a part of.”

In 2008, Cavanaugh was named 2008 Northeast-10 Conference Coach of the Year. This the year in which Cavanaugh coached one All-American, four All-Region, four All-ECAC, two All-New England and 14 All Conference performers.

After coming off another winning season in 2008, 2009 was another successful year for the Owls. Cavanaugh and his team captured another Northeast-10 Championship making it their second in four years.

Accomplishing all these goals has taken a lot of help and backup from his coaching staff and also the school as well. Cavanaugh said without the help from the two, his success wouldn’t be where it’s at right now.

“In order to be successful here, you need the support of the university in which we have,” said Cavanaugh. “You also have to have a very good solid football staff. Also if you have an administrative that is supportive of you and you have good coaches and players you will win games.”

With the title of head coach comes a lot of responsibility with it. Cavanaugh said the most difficult part of being head coach is trying to have them mature into a college football player.

“As a head coach you wear a lot of different hats,” said Cavanaugh. “I think trying to teach these young men self-discipline that they need to be successful. It’s a pretty big adjustment from being a high athlete and a college athlete.”

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