By Ronald Hanaki
On Tuesday, Feb.13, the university named Jimmy Terwilliger as the new Associate Head Coach for ESU Football.
Terwilliger has spent the past three seasons as the defensive backs coach for the Warriors.
Terwilliger said, “Coach [Denny] Douds said that it’s time to take this program to the next level. He has a progressive vision for where we are headed.”
“His selflessness to put himself out and help this university get to where we need to go is the reason for this,” stated Terwilliger.
“I don’t worry about titles. You have to make your reputation every day. One thing that is not going to change is that I love to work hard and compete in everything I do,” said Terwilliger.
“I have never been afraid of change,” said Terwilliger. “I am going to attack this every day.”
“I learned from Denny himself that it’s not a one-man show. The reason why I’m here is that I have always surrounded myself with the best and guys who are willing to work,” said Terwilliger.
“We are going to play to our strengths and work on our weaknesses until they become a strong point,” stated Terwilliger.
Terwilliger is eyeing upgrades to the stadium, field house and the fundraising movement.
“We can talk about what we need, or we can just do it,” said Terwilliger. “I am solutions-oriented.”
“That takes a commitment outside of X’s and O’s. We are going to get those forces outside to align and make those forces come together,” said Terwilliger.
“We are going to build relationships,” said Terwilliger. “Let’s bring in the next group of guys to attack this thing, and we will be great.”
“ESU is a great place to sell. We are the top school in the country academically in a lot of areas. We have an active student body that is diverse,” said Terwilliger.
“We have an unbelievable president. Dr. [Marcia] Welsh is an unbelievable person. She will work 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to make this the greatest university in the country,” stated Terwilliger.
“[ESU Director of Athletics] Dr. [Gary] Gray is coming east, and this is an exciting time for us to take the next step in our program,” said Terwilliger.
“So there is a lot of synergy happening, and I am glad to be part of it,” said Terwilliger. ”This place sells itself.”
Terwilliger was born and raised in East Stroudsburg. Both his parents graduated from ESU, and his father Mike Terwilliger is the long-time offensive coordinator for ESU Football. Needless to say, Jimmy Terwilliger is a Warrior blueblood.
Terwilliger graduated from East Stroudsburg South High School and then came to ESU as a redshirt-freshman where he had an outstanding career as the quarterback of ESU Football. He set a number of schools records and won the Harlon Hill Trophy in 2005 for the most valuable player in NCAA Division II football.
Last year, Terwilliger was inducted into the ESU Athletic Hall of Fame.
After earning his degree in health and physical education in 2007, Terwilliger became a teacher. He taught public health and coached high school football for eight years. He spent two years at East Stroudsburg South and five years at Pleasant Valley. He then spent a year at the Parkland School District before taking his talents back to ESU as an assistant coach in 2015.
“The greatest thing for me as a coach was to come here,” said Terwilliger. “I see X’s and O’s from an offensive perspective, but it was a blessing to coach the defensive backs from the quarterback’s viewpoint.”
One of the bright spots from last year’s defense was the secondary. Redshirt-junior free safety Billy Inge III was recently named the NCAA Division II football statistical champion for forced fumbles per game for the 2017 season.
With Terwilliger coaching the secondary, ESU’s defense forced 31 turnovers and grabbed eight interceptions.
“I tried to bring an offensive mentality. It was a great thing to learn and develop as a coach to see the field from the defensive perspective,” stated Terwilliger.
Terwilliger is something of a Renaissance man.
“I am a melting pot of coaches,” stated Terwilliger. “I have been blessed to be around the best, and I think I’ve taken bits and pieces of a lot of different people.”
But without a doubt, the two people who have had the most influence on him as a football coach are his dad and Douds.
“Dad is the offensive coordinator for quite some time,” said Terwillger. “He has been on staff since 1978.”
“One of the great things to be coaching here is to come work with dad,” said Terwilliger.
“We have fun, but it is a very competitive mentality when we get on the football field. There is not one day when we don’t compete. Iron sharpens iron,” said Terwilliger.
“One of the great things is when two minds are on the same page,” said Terwilliger. “Our success is because we think a lot alike.”
“We teach our players, but it’s not so much about what the coaches know. It’s about what they [as players] know and how we work together,” said Terwilliger. “Hopefully, our players will work tirelessly to get on the same page.”
“When the players and coaches are on the same path, then you have a chance at something great,” stated Terwilliger.
The other person who has had the most influence on Terwilliger is Douds.
“How do you put a measurement on how a person impacts your life? He [Douds] has been a hero to me. He is one of the top guys I’ve been around in my life,” said Terwilliger.
“From a fan to a ballboy to a player to an assistant coach, I learned by his side every step of the way,” said Terwilliger.
“He is a godfather figure, a mentor, a tremendous leader and a friend. I can talk to him about anything, and he has the greatest advice for me,” said Terwilliger.
“I am completely honored to coach for him and to learn from him. I feel blessed that I can coach for a living legend and learn from the best,” stated Terwilliger.
Terwilliger sees ESU Football as a field of dreams.
“I believe that if you build it, they will come. Fans come when they are inspired,” stated Terwilliger.
“We have a tremendous community, and people have come when ESU has inspired the community,” said Terwilliger.
“I want our guys to know that they have that kind of impact on people. So I look forward to our players training and practicing with that same passion,” said Terwilliger.
“Our fan base will build as all that positive energy goes out to our community,” said Terwilliger.
“I will be here as long as it takes to get ESU to the top of Division II,” stated Terwilliger.
The Warriors will return to the gridiron in April for its annual spring football game.
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