Bill Kavanaugh, a 2004 graduate of Bentley University, is in his sixth season as head coach at his alma mater, a position he was named to on Dec. 20, 2013.
Kavanaugh's Falcons posted a 4-6 record in 2018 and finished at 6-4 during the 2017 campaign. The 2017 Falcons finished third in the Northeast-10 with a pair of victories over teams ranked in Division II's top 20 at the time. Overall, his record stands at 25-28.
During his tenure, Kavanaugh has coached two All-Americas, four CoSIDA Academic All-Americas, 14 All-Northeast-10 honorees and six Academic All-Northeast-10 performers.
“I am excited for the opportunity to lead the football program at my alma mater, a place I have held in high regard since stepping on campus as a freshman,” said Kavanaugh, a native of Dartmouth, upon his hiring. “The opportunity to return home to Boston and lead a program with such a great tradition is a dream come true.”
Kavanaugh, a co-captain of Bentley’s 2003 team that earned the program’s first-ever NCAA Division II tournament berth, returned to Bentley with nine years of college football coaching and administrative experience under his belt, the last six as part of the staff at Penn State, where he worked under Bill O’Brien and Joe Paterno.
Kavanaugh, 37, was the Director of Player Personnel for the Nittany Lions from April 2012 until he returned to his alma mater, with his duties including directing all aspects of recruiting, managing a staff that included 14 coaches, a three-person personnel office and 30 interns, and responsibility for the oversight of a 115-player roster.
Before being elevated to that position, Kavanaugh was Penn State’s Recruiting Coordinator from January 2011-March 2012, the team’s Wide Receivers Coach from November 2011-January 2012 (including the TicketCity Bowl at the Cotton Bowl) and a graduate assistant coach, working with the running backs, from July 2008-January 2011.
“Bill Kavanaugh was a tremendous asset to us here at Penn State University,” praised O’Brien, now the head coach of the Houston Texans. “He was involved in all facets of our program and I credit him with much of our success in recruiting and all of the things that went on behind the scenes here at Penn State.
“Bill will be a fantastic head coach at Bentley University,” continued O’Brien. “Bentley is very lucky to have a guy like Bill Kavanaugh.”
Kavanaugh began his coaching career serving under his father, Bill Kavanaugh, Sr., at UMass-Dartmouth during the 2004 and 2006 seasons. He worked with the Corsairs’ linebackers and special teams during his tenure and was also UMass-Dartmouth’s Event Coordinator during 2006-07.
Kavanaugh coached the defensive line at Stonehill College in 2007 and spend fourth months on the Bentley coaching staff in 2008 before getting the opportunity to coach under Paterno while pursuing his Master’s degree. He received his Master of Education in educational leadership in December 2010.
Kavanaugh was a four-year starter on the defensive line for Bentley from 2000-03, helping the Falcons to a 29-5 record over his final three seasons. He finished his career with 149 tackles, including 47.5 for losses, and 24.5 sacks. The majority of those sacks came as a junior in 2002 when he shared the NCAA Division II lead with 13.5 and was tied for second in sacks per game.
Honors included two-time first-team All-Northeast-10 Conference, 2003 d2football All-Northeast Region second team, 2002 Football Gazette Division II All-Northeast Region second team, 2002 Football Gazette Division II Mid-Major Defensive Lineman of the Year and 2002 Football Gazette Division II Mid-Major All-America. He was also Bentley’s defensive Most Improved Player as a junior.
“I look forward to building relationships with faculty, staff and the Bentley student body as we work together to cultivate America’s future business leaders,” stated Kavanaugh in the announcement of his hiring.
Kavanaugh and his wife, Kristen, have two daughters, Anna (6) and Caroline (5). They reside in Norwood.
The Kavanaugh Record