Chris Pincince, who was introduced in February as UNH's new head football coach, doesn't subscribe to the old saying, "you can't go home again."
His nearly 20-year coaching career began in 1995 at UNH as an assistant under Chargers Athletics Hall of Famer and current Oakland Raiders assistant head coach Tony Sparano. He later served on the staff of Darren Rizzi, current special teams coordinator for the Miami Dolphins.
"This truly is a homecoming for me," Pincince said during an introductory press conference. "There is really no other place that I call home in college athletics."
Pincince, who most recently served as offensive coordinator at NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) member Elon University in North Carolina, said his only regret on the day in which he accepted his first head coaching position was that his wife and three children could not be there with him.
“I am an incredibly emotional person when I talk about two things: my football program and my family,” he said, his voice breaking. “Those four people mean the world to me.”
He said his oldest son tried to persuade his wife to let him stay home from school to watch the press conference streamed live on NewHavenChargers.com. “I can’t wait to get back to see them, and I can’t wait to make my family a part of the New Haven football family."
He also became emotional when he mentioned Sparano, the man who gave him his first coaching job following a decorated career as a student-athlete at Boston University. “He’s been a big part of my life as a player and as a coach,” said Pincince. “He has always been there for me. He is New Haven football.”
Pincince also acknowledged former coach Peter Rossomando, a college teammate, who last month was named head football coach at Central Connecticut State University, a Division I program.
“I was 100 percent on board with everything that he was doing,” said Pincince. “I share a lot of his beliefs, and I thank him for what he has done for me in my career as a friend and as a coach.
Pincince’s immediate goals include hiring a staff and hitting the road recruiting. “I guarantee that we will bring in quality young men,” he said. “I guarantee we will do it the right way, and I guarantee you will be proud of the University of New Haven football team.”
He used the word special several times when describing UNH and his previous five years coaching here.
“Not just anybody can come to the University of New Haven and win football games,” said Pincince, who also coached at the University of Rhode Island, the College of the Holy Cross, Brown University and Fairfield University. “This is a special place. I know that we will be successful here at UNH. We are going to win a lot of football games, we always have, and we are going to do it the right way.”
President Steve Kaplan offered his praise for Pincince, who becomes the 10th head coach in program history.
“We were pleased to have such an outstanding pool of candidates in our search for a new head football coach,” Kaplan said in a statement read by vice president for enrollment management Jim McCoy. “During this process, Coach Pincince rose to the top because of his record of achievement, his passion for the University of New Haven’s program and his commitment to the success of our student-athletes on and off the field. I am excited for the future of Chargers football.”
“Coach Pincince is the perfect choice to keep our program at the top of Division II,” added Debbie Chin, associate vice president for athletics and recreation. “It was important for us to find a head coach with previous experience in all phases of running a team. He will be an excellent recruiter and a dynamic leader who will continue our proud winning tradition. I’m sure our alumni and fans will appreciate what he brings to our program.”
“I think Chris is absolutely the right person for us at this time,” said Ralph F. DellaCamera Jr. ’75, a member of the UNH Board of Governors who named the University’s football stadium in his father’s honor. “He has great energy and a clear vision for what we can accomplish. I think he will be a terrific addition to the UNH football program.”
This story, by UNH Today Editor Dave Cranshaw, originally appeared in UNH Today in February 2014.