(STATS) - Villanova's Andy Talley is delighted to say he will be handing off the Wildcats' coaching reins to trusted assistant Mark Ferrante following the 2016 season.
Yes, Talley was quick to joke with Ferrante at Wednesday's news conference to announce his impending retirement. Forever the competitor, Talley is planning to make his swan song - his 32nd season at Villanova - a successful campaign.
"He was just named the FCS assistant coach of the year," Talley, 72, said. "You know how many assistant coaches there are in the country in FCS?
"He's the best and the guy that should be the new head-football coach-in-waiting ... give me that year now, Mark. Not so fast."
The Wildcats program is anticipating a smooth handoff from Talley to Ferrante, considering Ferrante played collegiately under Talley and has coached under him the last 29 seasons, currently as assistant head coach and offensive line coach.
Following his retirement from coaching, Talley will stay at Villanova through 2017 in an administrative role, serving as special assistant to athletic director Mark Jackson.
By then, Ferrante will be putting his stamp on a coaching philosophy that will forever reflect Talley's influence.
"It's the relationships you build with your peers and the relationships you build with your players on and off the field," Ferrante said.
Talley's legacy will stretch well beyond the number in the win column and to the countless people he has touched during his long coaching career.
Since Talley was hired to restart Villanova's program, which he did with the 1985 season, he has posted a 221-133-1 record as the school's all-time winningest coach and the CAA Football leader with 136 conference victories.
His tenure is highlighted by a 23-21 victory over Montana in the 2009 FCS championship game. The Wildcats have also won six conference titles and reached the national semifinals in 2002 and 2010 in 11 playoff appearances under Talley.
In 1997, he was named the FCS Coach of the Year.
The Wildcats were picked as the CAA's preseason favorite this past season, only to have star quarterback John Robertson suffer a season-ending knee injury in the third game. They slumped to a 6-5 finish.
Off the field, Talley has been a driving force with the "Be The Match" foundation for the national bone marrow program. The foundation registers people for bone marrow tests and Talley has helped recruit the participation of nearly 80 other college football programs.
All told, they have made nearly 200 matches for ailing patients, including six Villanova players, most notably current Chicago Cubs outfielder Matt Szczur, the most outstanding player of the 2009 national title game for the Wildcats.
Before arriving at Villanova, Talley posted a 28-18-1 record in five seasons (1979-83) at Division III St. Lawrence. He has a 249-151-2 career mark, so his next win will give him another milestone.
While at St. Lawrence, Talley coached Ferrante, who played quarterback and earned the 1982 Division III player of the year award as a senior. Ferrante started his coaching career at Wagner in 1984 and went to Lafayette for '85 and '86 before reuniting with Talley at Villanova in '87.
The American Football Coaches Association named Ferrante its FCS assistant coach of the year this past season.