Tufts makes interim hire

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Jay Civetti
Jay Civetti has been at Tufts since 2008.
Tufts athletics photo

Jay Civetti, the offensive coordinator at Tufts for the past three seasons, has been named interim head coach of the Jumbo football team effective immediately. The announcement was today by Tufts athletic director Bill Gehling. Civetti will coach the Jumbos for the 2011 season.

Civetti takes over as interim head coach after Bill Samko stepped down in December following 17 seasons at Tufts. Tufts was 1-7 this past season and 57-79 in Samko's tenure.

A native of Wellesley, Mass., Civetti came to Tufts in 2008 after working at North Carolina State and Boston College under Tom O'Brien for five seasons from 2003-07. At Tufts, he directed a record-setting passing attack last season (2010), coached quarterbacks, tight ends and the offensive line during the course of his tenure and also led the program's recruiting efforts among other responsibilities.

"I'm very excited to announce that we have decided to elevate Jay Civetti to the position of interim head coach," Gehling said. "In his three years on the staff, Jay has distinguished himself. He has all the makings of an outstanding head coach with passion for the game and for coaching at this level, great organizational and communication skills, a strong coaching network and outstanding leadership qualities. I have confidence that Jay will do a great job building the foundation for a strong future for this program. I look forward to partnering with him in this effort."

With Civetti's direction, the Tufts offense broke many team, NESCAC and New England Division III passing records. The Jumbos were ranked fourth in the NCAA Division III passing statistics with 323.4 passing yards per game. Led by nationally ranked quarterback Anthony Fucillo, the Jumbos compiled 2,587 yards with 17 touchdowns through the air in eight contests. Tufts passed for a New England Division III record 596 yards at Amherst on October 30. In his first season as offensive coordinator (2008), Fucillo was the league's most efficient passer.

"I am excited and honored to be named the interim head football coach at Tufts University," Civetti said. "The institution is internationally renowned and less than 10 miles from one of the best cities in the world. Tufts attract the best and the brightest to its campus community, and I expect our football program to do the same. My wife Kate and I are excited to be part of the Tufts family, and we look forward to the fantastic opportunities and challenges ahead."

"On behalf of the Tufts Football family, I want to thank Coach Samko and his family for 17 plus years of commitment, dedication, and love for Tufts University and this football program," Civetti continued. "Personally, I thank Sammy for years of great friendship and guidance, as well as for his support during this transition."

Civetti was one of the New England Small College Athletic Conference's best offensive linemen at Trinity from 1997-2000. Civetti started all 32 games of his Bantam career and captained the team as a senior. During his career he was named ECAC Rookie of the Year, All-ECAC and All-NESCAC. He played for two seasons under legendary coach Don Miller, whose 174 victories at Trinity are 15th most among NCAA Division III coaches all-time. Civetti graduated from Trinity in 2001 with a degree in English.

After two years teaching special education and coaching at Milton (Mass.) High School, Civetti joined the Boston College football staff as a graduate assistant coach in 2003. He was a recruiting assistant for the first two years, and then worked directly with offensive coordinator Dana Bible as an offensive assistant coaching the wide receivers for the next two seasons. He also worked as a special teams assistant. Civetti earned a master's degree in education from BC in 2006.

"Right now, our top priority remains our recruiting year and finishing up with a terrific 2011 class," Civetti said. "The staff has been working hard and is determined to bring in young men with great talent and character, men who will represent this institution with class. We are also focused on the well-being of our current student-athletes. Coaching changes can be challenging for a team, and it is important for their future and the future of this program that we start right; focused, committed, and together."