Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

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Congratulations, Coach Ralph Isernia

From the President's Desk

To: The Rensselaer Community
Re: Congratulations, Coach Ralph Isernia

The fall 2021 football season has been a most uplifting and exciting time for our campus, thanks to our student-athletes and their coach, Mr. Ralph Isernia. Since his time at Rensselaer, Coach Isernia has profoundly and positively impacted our students and athletics program. His vision, tenacity, leadership, and fighting spirit led to an overall regular-season record for the Rensselaer football team of nine wins and two losses. The team’s win-loss record in the Liberty League was five wins and one loss. The team won the Liberty League football conference title and earned a berth to the NCAA Division III Football Playoffs for the third time in the last four seasons — truly outstanding! 

The first round of the NCAA tournament resulted in a win over Endicott College to advance to the second round of the tournament and a win against SUNY Cortland. The win over Cortland advanced the Engineers to the NCAA Division III Football Playoff Quarterfinal game against North Central College on Saturday, December 4, 2021.

I am tremendously proud of Coach Isernia and our student-athletes. I am pleased to extend his contract as Head Men’s Football Coach at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute for a term intended to span a period of five consecutive years, through December 31, 2027. The contract extension recognizes his devotion to building a winning football program, consistency in postseason play in the NCAA Division III Football Playoffs, and dedication to all program players and coaches.

“When people think of championships, they think of wins or losses,” said Lee McElroy, associate vice president and director of athletics. “Coach Isernia is doing more than winning games. He is building a program that keeps our student-athletes and coaching staff connected throughout the university. Our players have consistently high GPAs and are very involved in community service. The leadership model that Coach Isernia practices helps our young people to be successful in life. They are committed, have character, and promote the Rensselaer culture of excellence in everything they do.”

Coach Isernia has led the Engineers team since 2013 and has guided the team to seven consecutive postseason appearances (a school record), four league championships, two ECAC championships, and three NCAA playoff appearances.

“I want to thank Dr. Jackson, Vice President Curtis Powell, and Dr. McElroy for this opportunity,” said Coach Isernia. “This extension represents a continued commitment to our program, coaching staff, scholar-athletes, and our standard of excellence. I am honored to continue to lead the football program at RPI.”

Coach Isernia and his staff have garnered postseason Coach of the Year awards from the Liberty League, ECAC, and D3football.com. He has received the Marvin Anderson Award, which his peers awarded.

A coach since 1991, he has experience in Division III, Division II, and the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly I-AA). Coach Isernia came to Rensselaer from Ferrum College, where he served as an assistant head coach and offensive coordinator for the Division III Panthers. He spent six years prior at the University of Charleston as an assistant head coach, offensive coordinator, and interim head coach. 

A member of the American Football Coaches Association, Coach Isernia has been a speaker and clinician at the organization’s events and camps around the country. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Anthropology from Davidson College and a Master of Science in Counselor Education from Western Connecticut.

Please join me in congratulating Coach Ralph Isernia, his coaching staff, and our brilliant student-athletes for their continued successes on and off the playing fields. We are delighted he will continue to inspire them to greatness.