January 20, 2011

McIntyre built strong foundation for Norwich program

More news about: Norwich
McIntyre guided the Cadets to back-to-back
8-3 seasons in his final two seasons at the
helm of the Norwich program.
Norwich Athletics photo

NORTHFIELD, Vt. – Departing Norwich University football head coach Shawn McIntyre leaves the school having laid a solid foundation for the program that
bodes well for its continued success moving forward. The 28th coach in the school's history, McIntyre guided the Cadets to back-to-back 8-3 records in his final two seasons patrolling the Norwich sideline and led them to the team's first-ever conference title in 2009.

"I personally want to thank Shawn for his tireless dedication to Norwich football and the university, and wish him great success in his future endeavors," said Athletic Director Tony Mariano at the institution's press conference Wednesday announcing McIntyre's resignation.

McIntyre decided to step down from his post in order to pursue a professional opportunity in athletics manufacturing.

"This program is at a good point, but there is more to accomplish," McIntyre said. "I know that Norwich University football is ready to go on and be a NCAA playoff team."

McIntyre exits Norwich as the fifth-winningest head coach in the school's history, registering a 25-37 career record over six years. He went 16-6 in his final two seasons in charge of the Maroon & Gold, including a school-record 11 straight wins during the 2009 and 2010 seasons. 

McIntyre took over the program from former coach Mike Yesalonia before the 2005 season. After enduring four straight losing seasons to begin his tenure, McIntyre helped usher in a new era of Norwich football in 2009. That year, the team moved from the New York-based Empire 8 Conference to the newly formed Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC). The transition allowed NU to play more teams in the New England region, making for less travel, and also gave the Cadets the oppurtunity to play in front of a larger alumni base.

2009 was a magical season for McIntyre and the Cadets, as they reeled off seven straight wins after an 0-3 start to reach the inaugural, and only, ECFC Championship Game. Orwin Etkins recorded a team-record five rushing touchdowns in that game as Norwich rolled past Mt. Ida, 49-14, on a muddy Sabine Field. The conference title was the first for a football program that dates all the way back to 1893. 

On the field, McIntyre oversaw a change in offensive philosophy as the Cadets moved from a pro-style vertical passing game to a spread-option rushing attack. Norwich ranked seven nationally in NCAA Division III in rushing in 2009 (294.36 yards per game) and sixth (336.27 yards per game) in 2010.       

Two separate players had 1,000-yard rushing seasons under McIntyre, with Darnell Jackson rushing for 1,002 yards in 2007 and Andrew Fulford for 1,006 yards in 2010. Jackson ended his career as the school's all-time leading rusher, accumulating 3,045 yards during his four seasons at NU.

"As outstanding as Shawn's accomplishments were on the football field, I believe Shawn's greatest asset was the relationships he developed with his players," stressed Mariano. "He helped guide and mentor them to become outstanding citizens both on and off the field."

Numerous players earned individual accolades under McIntyre's watch.  During his time at the helm of the program, 20 Cadets were named All-Empire 8, 27 All-ECFC and five were named to the New England Football Writers' Division II/III All New-England Team.

McIntyre oversaw the 2007 Empire 8 "Rookie of the Year" (Jason Springer), the 2009 ECFC "Co-Rookie of the Year" (Kris Sabourin) and "Defensive Player of the Year" (Reza Afsarmanesh), and the 2010 ECFC "Co-Offensive Player of the Year" (Sabourin) and "Special Teams Player of the Year" (Long Ding).

McIntyre was an instrumental part in the team securing new uniforms and the renovation of the squad's locker room, both much needed upgrades allowing Norwich to compete at a high level going into the future. During his time in Northfield, McIntyre also saw new coaches' offices built and a significant upgrade to the team's film room technology as it switched from tapes to a contemporary computer-based digital system.

McIntyre also served on the committee working to bring a modernized stadium to Sabine Field, one that will include a state-of-the-art turf field along with new stands and lighting for potential night games. 

"Norwich is a very, very special place; it's a very special football program," said McIntyre. "We have ideals here, we have beliefs here, there are values here that you don't find in America every day."

In any football program, in any leadership command, there will be change. For six years I have come to work at Norwich and it wasn't a job, it was a passion, and I loved it."

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