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Lafayette Names Frank Tavani Head Football Coach

December 11, 1999

EASTON, PA - Lafayette College has named Frank Tavani, a member of the College's football coaching staff for the past 13 seasons, as its new head football coach following an aggressive national search. Tavani takes over for Bill Russo, who stepped down last month after 19 years as the head coach.

Lafayette's associate head football coach since 1994, Tavani has experience in almost all aspects of the Leopards' program. He has been the top recruiter for the Leopards since arriving in 1987, concentrating on the Lehigh Valley, Philadelphia, and South Central Pennsylvania. Under his direction, Lafayette has established itself as the premier program for Lehigh Valley recruits.

"Lafayette College recognizes Frank Tavani's long and distinguished career and especially his service and dedication to the College," said Lafayette President Arthur J. Rothkopf '55. "His knowledge of Lafayette and his recruiting ability are unmatched. I believe Frank will do an excellent job leading Lafayette's football program into the next century."

"Frank Tavani is an excellent choice for this position," added Lafayette Dean of Students Jim Krivoski. "A very diverse search committee worked extremely diligently to make the best possible decision. I believe Frank possesses the necessary tools to be successful as the head football coach at Lafayette College."

While Tavani has primarily coached the Leopards' running backs, he has served as Coach Russo's top assistant each of his 13 seasons at Lafayette.

"I feel honored and privileged to have this opportunity," said Tavani. "I deeply appreciate all of the support from the alumni, parents, players, and the community. I look forward to this challenge, and I will work relentlessly to continue the storied tradition established by my predecessors."

"I am extremely excited to have Frank Tavani as Lafayette's new head football coach," said Lafayette Director of Athletics Dr. Eve Atkinson. "He knows Lafayette, and more specifically he has a dynamic plan and vision to lead Lafayette Football back to championship caliber, and I am confident he will be successful."

A well-respected coach on the national level, Tavani has guided Lafayette offensive units to league team rushing titles four times while twice coaching the highest scoring offense in the Patriot League.

"I would be remiss if I didn't recognize the three great head coaches I've had the privilege of working for -- Tom Gilburg at Franklin & Marshall, Jim Monos at Lebanon Valley (currently the offensive coordinator at Bloomsburg University), and Bill Russo here at Lafayette," added Tavani. "I wouldn't be in this position without the help of these outstanding coaches."

Tavani has recruited and coached Lafayette's three all-time leading rushers -- Tom Costello '92, Erik Marsh '95, and Leonard Moore '99. Costello recorded a pair of 1,000-yard rushing seasons, while Marsh, the all-time leading rusher in Lafayette and Patriot League history, had three 1,000-yard seasons. All told, he has coached a 1,000-yard rusher in six different seasons.

Most importantly, Tavani has been a part of three Patriot League Championships, helping guide the Leopards to the league crown in 1988, 1992, and 1994.

In 1986, Tavani served as the defensive coordinator at Lebanon Valley College, his alma mater. During that time, he was also Lebanon Valley's director of alumni services and parents' programs, activating 15 alumni chapters.

From 1976-85, Tavani was the offensive coordinator at Franklin and Marshall College, helping guide the Diplomats to a 10-year record of 67-23-1.

As an undergraduate at Lebanon Valley, Tavani was an outstanding running back, earning the team's Most Valuable Player honors twice in his career. As a senior, he became the school's first player to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a single season. An Associated Press All-American as a senior, he was inducted into the school's Athletic Hall of Fame in the fall of 1988.

Tavani earned a bachelor of arts degree in Psychology from Lebanon Valley in 1975, and has completed postgraduate work in Counselor Education.

Tavani and his wife, Agnes, reside on College Hill with their four children, Liam, Daniel, Meghan, and Bridget. Liam, their oldest son, is a freshman Marquis Scholar at Lafayette majoring in Engineering.