Coaches of the Year: Talley, Procaccio

Nate McGann

 There’s not much more a coach can do than lead his or her team to a championship victory. This past year, Villanova had two such coaches and the accomplishment has earned each of them Villanovan Coach of the Year honors. Football Head Coach Andy Talley, who was recognized as Coach of the Year last year, and women’s cross country Head Coach Gina Procaccio, guided their teams to the top of the rankings and all the way to national titles. It was a first for both coaches. 

The table was set for Talley and the football program. After returning most starters from a playoff team the year before, expectations were high on the Main Line. The team didn’t disappoint. It opened the season with a victory over Division I-A Temple, then became CAA co-champions, capturing home field throughout the playoffs and ultimately upsetting the No. 1-seeded Grizzlies in dramatic fashion.  Talley and the Wildcats lost one game all season — one to remember. But expectations will be just as high next year, and for the first time ever Talley will have to try to repeat.

Procaccio’s story is very similar. She’s been at Villanova for 14 years and this past season’s championship, the eighth in school history, was her first as head coach. She was an assistant when the team won in 1998. She, too, came into the season with high expectations with an impressive roster led by junior Sheila Reid.  In the championship race, all five Villanova runners crossed the finish line in All-American times. The performance was nothing short of dominating. Villanova started the season ranked No. 5, rose to No. 2 but finished No. 1. 

It was an impressive year for Villanova athletics, in part thanks to two of the top coaches.