Starting from scratch might be considered
an obstacle for many football coaches, but Gerry DiNardo is
no stranger to building success from the ground up. He has
accepted and met the challenge at virtually every stop along
his career path.
Granted, Vanderbilt University and Louisiana State University
were not in the first year football competition when DiNardo
arrived in Nashville and Baton Rouge, respectively. Still
the wins had been few and far between in the Music City and
the on the Bayou in the previous seasons.
Vanderbilt was 2-20 in the two seasons prior to DiNardos
arrival as head coach in 1991. The very next season the Commodores
were 5-6 and DiNardo was named SEC Coach of he Year. DiNardo
and his staff helped guide VU to 19 wins over four years,
the most successful four-year run at Vanderbilt since the
The situation was much the same at LSU. The Bengal Tigers
had recorded just 11 victories in three seasons prior to DiNardos
arrival in time for the 1995 season. The next three seasons
saw DiNardo lead LSU to a 26-9 record and three consecutive
With those credentials in his hip pocket, DiNardo welcomes
the challenge of building the Thunderbolts from the ground
up in a state where many say football is more than just a
game or even a way of life, but a game to be honored and revered.
If you cant enjoy coaching where people are so passionate
about football, then you cant enjoy coaching, DiNardo said.
Some may view coaching where fans are so knowledgeable as
a challenge, but I view it as a positive to be in a market
where people really care about the game of football.
Even before becoming a head coach, DiNardo had continually
been associated with winning football. As an All-American
offensive guard at Notre Dame he helped lead the Fighting
Irish to a 29-5 record over three seasons, including a national
title in 1973.
The national championship he helped win as a player was the
first of two DiNardo would be a part of. In 1990, he helped
guide the University of Colorado to a national title as offensive
coordinator. In fact, the Buffs were an impressive 22-2-1
over DiNardos last two seasons as offensive coordinator in
Prior to the head coaching positions at LSU (1995-98) and
Vanderbilt (1991-94), DiNardo was an assistant at Colorado
for nine seasons (1982-90). Prior to Colorado he made assistant
coaching stops at Eastern Michigan (1978-81) and Maine (1975-77).
His nine-year record as a head coach is 46-43-1. His combined
record as a head coach, assistant coach and player is 151-147-4.
A Brooklyn, N.Y. native, DiNardo was born Nov. 10, 1952. He
was educated at St. Francis Prep in Brooklyn, graduating in
1970 and at Tabor Academy in Marion, Mass., where he finished
in 1971. He played quarterback, tight end, as well as on the
offensive and defensive lines at St. Francis and Tabor before
signing with Notre Dame.
DiNardo earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from
Notre Dame in 1975 and his Masters in education administration
from Maine in 1977.
He is married to the former Terri Brown of Madison, Wis. and
is the father of two children. DiNardos daughter Kate is
a freshman at Notre Dame and his son Michael is in elementary
school in Birmingham.