Mike Terwilliger, a member of the ESU Athletic Hall of Fame as a player and a coach, completed his 47th season at ESU and his 43rd season as an assistant coach during the 2021 season.
Terwilliger has twice been recognized with major national awards by the American Football Coaches Association – he was named DII Assistant Coach of the Year in 2006, and was honored as the Outstanding Achievement Award recipient in 2015.
Terwilliger was involved in all 471 games – the Division II record – that Denny Douds spent sidelines as a head coach prior to his stepping aside last fall. Terwilliger was a four-year starter at quarterback for the Warriors from 1974-77, and has been an assistant coach since graduating in the spring of 1978 with a degree in health and physical education. He also holds a Master’s degree in physical education from Temple University, which he earned in 1983.
Terwilliger has been the offensive coordinator since 2001 and has led a record-setting offense that averaged at least 24 points per game for 18 straight seasons from 2001-2019. ESU QB’s ranked in the top three in the PSAC in total offense in every season from 2002-15 – Matt Soltes (2012-15), Ray Wagner (2011), Matt Marshall (2009-10), Tim Roken (2007-08), Jimmy Terwilliger (2003-06) and Jeremy Palm (2002).
Terwilliger’s son and current ESU head coach, Jimmy, set the standard for ESU, PSAC and Division II quarterbacks in his playing career from 2003 through 2006. He set 16 ESU and 18 NCAA records, including Division II marks for passing yards (14,350), total offense (16,064) and passing touchdowns (148). Jimmy was a three-time selection as the PSAC East Offensive Player of the Year and won the Harlon Hill Award in 2005 as the most outstanding player in Division II football.
ESU has a long history of standout quarterbacks with Mike Terwilliger playing a prominent role. He was 30-4-1 as a starter, leading the Warriors to undefeated seasons and PSAC championships in 1975 and 1976. He was inducted to the ESU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1994.
As ESU’s quarterback coach since 1978, Terwilliger has tutored all of his successors at the position, including Andy Baranek, Bret Comp, James Franklin, Damian Poalucci, Jeremy Palm, Jimmy Terwilliger, Tim Roken, Matt Marshall, Ray Wagner and Matt Soltes.
Soltes was a three-time Harlon Hill candidate and a finalist as a senior in 2015, placing t-4th in the national voting. He set five DII records, including career TD passes per game (3.20), and also set PSAC records for total offense per game and passing yards per game that were held by Jimmy Terwilliger. He was named PSAC East Offensive Athlete of the Year and the regional player of the year by two organizations as a senior while also earning All-America honors. Soltes’ top target, Jon Schnaars, was DII’s leading receiver.
ESU’s quarterback has been named a candidate for the Harlon Hill Award in 11 of the last 27 years, the most in Division II. Franklin, the head coach at Penn State, was a candidate in 1994, followed by Poalucci in 1996 (finished 3rd) and 1997, Jimmy Terwilliger from 2003-06 (3-time finalist, won in 2005), Wagner in 2011 and Soltes from 2013-15.
Matt Marshall guided the Warriors to their most recent NCAA Playoff appearance in 2009, the first of his two years under center. Roken guided the Warriors to a 9-2 record in 2008 after taking over from Jimmy Terwilliger in 2007.
In 2005, the Warriors averaged 42.6 points per game and 508.4 yards of total offense as they won the Division II Northeast Region championship and advanced to the national semifinals for the first time in school history. The younger Terwilliger threw for 4,571 yards and 50 touchdowns, while the rushing game averaged 163 yards per game.
The 2004 Warriors recorded nearly 500 yards of total offense per game and Jimmy Terwilliger led the nation in pass efficiency while throwing for 3,826 yards, the third-highest total in PSAC history. In 2003, Terwilliger set the Division II record for total offense by a freshman.
Poalucci had a record-setting career as a three-year starter from 1995-97. He set DII records with 383.1 passing yards per game and 616 yards against Mansfield in 1996 and graduated with 17 school passing records.
Terwilliger has coached four All-America quarterbacks – Soltes (2015), his son Jimmy (2004-06), Poalucci (1996) and Andy Baranek (1984), who led the Warriors to the 1982 PSAC championship.
The Warriors have had an All-PSAC quarterback in 19 of the 42 seasons that Terwilliger has been on staff since 1978 – Barry Kennedy (1978-79), Baranek (1982-84), Franklin (1993-94), Poalucci (1996-97), Palm (2001-02), Jimmy Terwilliger (2003-06), Wagner (2011) and Soltes (2013-15). The Warriors’ signal caller has been named to the first team 12 times.
As a player, Terwilliger was one of the finest quarterbacks in program history. After taking over as a starter early in his freshman year, Terwilliger earned All-Conference first team honors twice and was also an Associated Press Little All-America honorable mention selection. He threw for 3,799 yards and 33 touchdowns in his playing career.
Terwilliger and his wife Kim are the parents of three children – Jimmy (ESU Football head coach), Kelly (IUP Field Hockey head coach) and Jackie. The Terwilligers live in East Stroudsburg.