December 19, 2023

Marist Hires Mike Willis as Head Football Coach

Princeton Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator Was Part of Four Ivy League Championships as Coach & Player

POUGHKEEPSIE, New York – Mike Willis has been hired as the fifth head coach in the history of the Marist College football program, it was announced on Tuesday by Director of Athletics Tim Murray.
Willis most recently served as Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator at his alma mater, Princeton University. He spent nine years on the Tigers' staff after a playing career at Princeton that spanned from 2010-13. Between his time as a player and coach, Willis has been part of four Ivy League championships. His tenure at Princeton has been characterized by outstanding team and individual achievements. The Tigers have posted a 40-10 record in Willis' last 50 games on staff over the last five seasons.
"I'm honored to be the next head football coach at Marist College," Willis said. "I'd like to thank President Weinman, Tim Murray, and the Marist College administration for their belief in me. I'm excited to build an elite staff, recruit the best student-athletes in the country to Marist, and develop our players to reach their full potential. I can't wait to get to work!"
Willis' hiring follows the Nov. 29 retirement of Jim Parady, who had led the Marist program for 32 years and had been the longest-tenured active head coach in Division I football.
"Coach Willis's emphasis on success on and off the field will make him an excellent addition to the Marist community," said Marist President Kevin Weinman. "He joins Marist at an exciting time as our new strategic plan infuses athletics throughout many of its priorities and the College is positioned for a major leap forward. I am convinced Marist's football program will reach new heights under his leadership, building upon all that Coach Parady, his staff, and our student-athletes have accomplished."
Willis was Princeton's offensive coordinator for the past three seasons. During that time, the Tigers went 22-8 overall with a 15-6 record in Ivy League play while Willis coached 23 All-Ivy League players. In 2021, Princeton won the Ivy League championship, went 9-1 overall, set a program record with 10 First Team Ivy League selections, and led the Ancient Eight in scoring at 33.4 points per game. The following year, Princeton went 8-2 and was in Ivy League title contention until the season's final week. The Tigers led the Ivy League in scoring offense and ranked second in passing offense in 2022.
"Mike was impressive in many areas during the search process," Murray said. "His energy and passion for football was clearly contagious in his presentation to everyone he met with on campus. Mike's academic and football backgrounds have prepared him well to build on our football program with student athletes who are looking for a competitive academic program and championship football. I appreciate both the athletics and campus communities for their energy and engagement with the search process."
Willis began his coaching career in 2015 at Princeton as an intern on the defensive side of the ball. He earned four promotions on the Tigers' coaching staff. In 2016, he was promoted to tight ends coach, as he became one of the nation's youngest position coaches. He was promoted to assistant head coach in 2017, was named recruiting coordinator in 2019, and then became offensive coordinator in 2020.
Princeton won the Ivy League championship in 2016. The following year saw Willis help the Tigers rank in the Football Championship Subdivision's top five in passing, scoring, and total offense as Princeton broke the Ivy League record for passing yardage. The 2018 season was a historic one, as Princeton won the Ivy League title and went undefeated for the first time since 1964. Princeton was ranked as high as eighth nationally, and the Tigers set an Ivy League record with 470 points scored in 2018.
In each of Willis' first six seasons coaching tight ends, Princeton had an All-Ivy League performer. Carson Bobo was a three-time honoree, Graham Adomitis earned the honor twice, and Scott Carpenter was recognized once.
Adomitis was one of seven Princeton offensive players who signed an NFL contract in the last six seasons. This list also includes wide receiver Andrei Iosivas, who was a sixth-round selection by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2023 NFL Draft. Iosivas was the only Ivy League student-athlete chosen in the 2023 draft, and he was just the third Ivy League selection to the Senior Bowl in the event's history.
Willis was part of current Princeton head coach Bob Surace's first recruiting class for the 2010 season. In Willis' time as a student-athlete at Princeton, the program engineered a dramatic and lasting turnaround, going from a 1-9 record his freshman year to an Ivy League championship his senior year in 2013. In the 2013 season, Princeton set the Ivy League record for total offense. Beginning with the 2013 season, Princeton has won four league championships – with Willis having a hand in all of them – and has finished .500 or better every year since. Willis majored in Sociology at Princeton.
Willis and his wife, Maggie, are the parents of their two-year-old son, Campbell.



2010-13: Offensive Lineman, Princeton
2015: Defensive Intern, Princeton
2016: Tight Ends Coach, Princeton
2017-19: Assistant Head Coach/Tight Ends, Princeton
2020-23: Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator/Tight Ends, Princeton



Ron Levine (1965-77)
Mike Malet (1978-88)
Rick Pardy (1989-91)
Jim Parady (1992-2023)
Mike Willis (hiring announced on Dec. 19, 2023)



The Marist football program was founded in 1965 and attained varsity status in 1978. The Red Foxes joined the Division I-AA (now Football Championship Subdivision) ranks in 1993. Marist has competed in the Pioneer Football League since 2009. The Red Foxes have won conference championships in 1990, 1994, 2006, 2007, and 2013. Two Marist football players, Jason Myers and Terrence Fede, have competed in NFL games. Myers is currently the Seattle Seahawks' placekicker, and he is a nine-year NFL veteran who has been selected to the Pro Bowl twice.

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