Mike Santella completed his 23rd season as an assistant coach at his alma mater, and his 20th as the full-time offensive line coach during the 2021 season. He has also served as the Warriors’ recruiting coordinator since returning to ESU prior to the 2001 season.
A 1994 graduate of ESU, Santella has made an impact as an assistant coach for two championship NCAA Division I-AA programs, and three NCAA Division II Playoff teams at ESU, during his coaching career.
His front five has provided the protection for the Warriors’ record-setting offensive performances, and was instrumental in Jimmy Terwilliger’s Harlon Hill campaign in 2005. ESU averaged nearly 500 yards of total offense and more than 35 points per game from 2004 through 2006. Most recently, the Warriors have ranked in the top 10 in Division II in total offense in 2012 (4th – 497.9 ypg), 2013 (7th – 508.1 ypg) and 2015 (10th – 488.0 ypg).
Santella has coached players who have combined for 25 All-PSAC selections and had at least one All-PSAC offensive lineman in every season from 2001 through 2013. Center Dan Caffrey was a first team All-PSAC East and Daktronics All-Region selection in 2011 as the Warriors led Division II in fewest tackles for loss.
Anthony Capitini (2021), Michael Fleming (2015-18), Seve Rivers (2011-12), Caffrey (2010-11), Morgan Thomas (2008-09), Mike Habel (2007-08), Dan Crozier (2004-05), Greg Munch (2002-03) and Joe Burton (2001-02) are all multiple-time All-PSAC honorees under Santella’s mentorship. Norman Rogers III (2016), Cody Laubach (2013), Keith Weaver (2008), Jeff Kocsis (2005), Colin Delaney (2004) and Jim Sodano (2001) have also been all-conference.
Santella was a part-time assistant coach for the Warriors in both 1998 and 1999, working with the offensive line, and was a student coach in the fall of 1994 after receiving his bachelor’s degree in physical education.
A native of Bethlehem, Pa., Santella went home to join the coaching staff at Lehigh University where he was an assistant for three years. He worked with the offensive line in 1995, coached the tight ends in 1996 and was the running backs coach in 1997.
Lehigh won the 1995 Patriot League championship in Santella’s first year on the staff, and tailback Rabih Abdullah was a first team all-league selection and went on to play in the NFL.
In 2000, Santella was the tight ends coach at the University of Pennsylvania and helped the Quakers claim the Ivy League championship with a 7-3 record. The Quakers had the number one passing offense in I-AA football.