The Amherst Coaches:
A Look at the Men Who Light the Fire Behind the Lord Jeffs
E.J. Mills leads this years' Amherst squad in his second year at the helm. As interim coach in 1997, Mills led the Lord Jeffs to a 7-1 record, standing atop the NESCAC and rated the No. 3 team in New England. He has served as the Amherst defensive coordinator for the last five seasons including the 1996 season when the Jeffs led all of Division III football by allowing only 8.4 points per game. Last season, Mills' stingy defensive unit posted three shutouts while holding NESCAC opponents to a mere 215 yards and a meager 11.6 points per game. A 1988 graduate of the University of Dayton, Mills began his coaching career at Midlakes High School in Clifton Springs, NY. Two years later, Mills joined the staff of SUNY-Albany, where he coached the defensive secondary. In 1992, Mills became the defensive coordinator at Ramapo College (Mahwah, NJ).
Assisting Mills will be Offensive Coordinator Don Faulstick. In his first year on the Amherst sidelines, Faulstick's "take no prisoners" attitude allowed the Amherst offense free reign to run and throw with reckless abandon. The 1997 offensive attack shredded the NESCAC for an average of 386 yards and 32 points per contest. A 1986 graduate of Mansfield University, the former quarterback most recently served as the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at WPI in his second stint at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Before the 1996 season, he ran the offense at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where the Engineers' 31-8 record over four years is the best in school history. In three of his four seasons with RPI, the Engineers won the ECAC Championship. In Faulstick's previous two years at WPI, his teams earned an 8-0-1 record in 1990 before a 7-3 season in 1991 when WPI won the Northeast Division III ECAC Championship. Faulstick also heads up the Amherst softball program. After two seasons under his leadership, the softball squad has posted an impressive 52-13 record, including two post-season appearances.
Adding some ties to the Jeffs of yore is Running Backs Coach Tracy Mehr. Returning to the staff in 1993 after a three-year hiatus (in which he coached three-time Division III National Women's Golf Champion Amy Hooks '91), Coach Mehr brings thirty-one years of experience to the Jeffs' leadership. After serving as the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at Boston College, Mehr was the Amherst offensive coordinator from 1965 to 1989. He helped lead the Jeffs to six consecutive Little Three titles from 1981-1986, including the undefeated season of 1984. Mehr knows a little something about basketball, too. While an undergraduate at Holy Cross, he played with future Celtic Hall of Famer Bob Cousy.
Entering his eighth year as an Amherst football and head men's lacrosse coach is Inside Linebackers Coach Jim McKeon. A 1982 graduate of NESCAC foe Middlebury College, McKeon has coached the defensive line at Washington & Lee and the offensive line at NESCAC rival Trinity. Last spring his lacrosse team finished in the ECAC Tournament with a 9-7 record and also captured the Little Three Title with a 13-12 victory over Williams.
Also entering his eighth year at Amherst is the Wide Receivers Coach Billy McBride. Drafted out of Tennessee State University by the San Francisco 49ers, McBride spent six years in the Canadian Football League, where he played for the British Columbia Lions, the Saskatchewan Roughriders, and the Ottawa Rough Riders. McBride is also the head coach of the women's basketball program, who last year posted a 15-9 record that included a share of the Little Three Title, a first since 1995. Before coming to Amherst, McBride served as the athletic director at the Allen Stevenson School in New York City.
Coming back for his second year as the coach of the offensive line, Greg Schneider '96, the recipient of the Mossman Trophy for the Class of '96, spent his first year after Amherst teaching English and coaching football and boy's basketball at Hawaii Preparatory Academy. The Economics-English major captained the 1995 Lord Jeffs to a 5-2-1 record in his senior season as a four-year starter at offensive tackle.
Joining their former coaches will be two recent Amherst graduates. Jake Conca '98 will work with the outside linebackers after finishing his career as the team's second leading tackler in 1997. The Political Science major registered six sacks for a loss of 59 yards, recovered three fumbles, and caused three more. As an outside linebacker, Conca was one of the three Lord Jeffs named the NESCAC Defensive Player of the Week in 1997.
Rob Schur '98 anchored the offensive line at right tackle during the Jeffs consecutive 7-1 seasons, both 1996 and 1997. As an emotional leader on the sidelines and in the huddle as a player, Schur's charisma as a coach should bring some additional motivation to the 1998 squad. In his days at Amherst, Schur also threw the shot put as a co-captain for the indoor and outdoor track and field teams. The Political Science major has made several appearances at the ECAC Track and Field Championships, and he placed 11th out of New England shot-putters as a junior. Schur will make the switch from his playing days on the offensive side of the ball and coach the defensive line.