New Coaches Added To Fordham Football Staff

(The Fordham Ram Archives)

Joe Conlin Adds Three to Fordham Football Staff

Fordham University football head coach Joe Conlin has begun to assemble his staff with the addition of three assistant coaches it was announced today. Paul Rice has been named Defensive Coordinator, Vincent Natali has been named Offensive Line Coach and Recruiting Coordinator, and Scott Vallone has been appointed as the Defensive Line Coach.

“I’m excited that Paul, Vincent and Scott have decided to join our staff,” said Conlin. “They each bring a unique set of skills that will help us reach our goal of being the best program in the Patriot League.”

Rice comes to Rose Hill after serving with Conlin as an assistant coach at Yale University for the past five years, serving as the Defensive Backs Coach and Special Teams Coordinator in 2017.

Rice helped the Yale defense rank number one in scoring defense in the Ivy League in 2017 as well as number two in defensive pass efficiency. He coached two First Team All-Ivy players and one Second Team honoree and was selected as one of the top 30 coaches under the age of 30 in the NCAA/NAIA/High School ranks by the AFCA.

Prior to his stint in New Haven, Rice served as an offensive graduate assistant coach at Georgia Tech in 2012, where he helped the Yellow Jackets to a 7-7 season and a 2012 Sun Bowl victory over Southern California.

Rice was a four-year Yale starter who began his career as one of the biggest cornerbacks in the country and finished his collegiate career as a first-team All-Ivy linebacker. He accumulated 196 tackles, six interceptions and numerous big plays with the football in his hands while earning league honors three seasons.

Rice played one season for the L’Hospitalet Pioners (Barcelona, Spain) in the spring of 2011. He served as a player/coach, competing on both sides of the ball and helping the Pioners to a national championship.

Rice, who received a degree in political science from Yale, was a volunteer with the Yale football team in the fall of 2011.

Natali arrives at Fordham after serving as the Director of Recruiting at his alma mater, the University of New Mexico, the past two years.

At New Mexico, Natali directed all aspects of the football program’s recruiting program and also worked in conjunction with the Assistant Athletic Director for Football Operations on New Player Orientation, housing, football camps, and advance travel.

As the director of recruiting, his responsibilities included the organization of all recruiting efforts. Natali also will work with compliance regarding initial eligibility and admissions with incoming recruits.

In his first year at New Mexico, the Lobos went 9-4, earned a co-Mountain Division championship and a New Mexico Bowl title.

Prior to his stay at New Mexico, Natali spent three seasons as the offensive line coach for the Indiana State Sycamores, including spending the 2015 season as the run-game coordinator.  In his one year as the run-game coordinator, the Sycamores showed tremendous improvement in rushing offense by going from 115th nationally in 2014 to 45th nationally in 2015. Natali was a part of the 2014 staff at Indiana State that saw the Sycamores reach the NCAA FCS playoffs for the first time since 1984, and picked up their first playoff win since 1983.

Prior to entering the coaching profession, Natali worked for two of the world’s largest accounting and advising firms at KPMG in Albuquerque, NM, and PricewaterhouseCoopers in Chicago, IL.

Natali played for the Lobos from 2004-07, defeating Nevada in the 2007 New Mexico Bowl. Natali earned First Team All-Mountain West honors and Second Team ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-American as a senior.  Overall, Natali was a three-time Academic All-MWC honoree and graduated in 2006 from UNM with a degree in Finance. He then earned his MBA from New Mexico in 2008.

Vallone joins the Fordham staff after spending the past two years at St. Lawrence University as the team’s defensive coordinator. He also coached the linebackers in 2017 and the defensive line in 2016.

In 2017, Vallone saw linebacker Skyler Williamson earned Liberty Conference Defensive Player of the Year and First Team All-Region honors along with three other payers who earned All-Liberty Conference accolades. The St. Lawrence defense led the Liberty Conference in fourth down conversion (seventh in the NCAA), tackles of loss (12th in the NCAA), first downs defense (41st in the NCAA), third down conversion and sacks.

In 2016, Vallone led the Saints defense to one of the most dominant seasons in program history. St. Lawrence was the top-ranked team in the Liberty League in 13 defensive categories and ranked in the top 10 in the nation in five categories, including scoring defense (second, 11.0 points allowed per game), defensive touchdowns (third, six in 10 games), first downs defense (seventh overall and third among teams that played more than eight games, 129 allowed), red zone defense (seventh, .500), and tackles for loss (ninth, 9.1 per game).

Vallone also served as the defensive line assistant coach at his alma mater, Rutgers University, in 2015 and started his coaching career as St. Lawrence’s defensive line coach in 2014.

Vallone graduated from Rutgers in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts in economics.  A four-year starter for the Scarlet Knights at defensive tackle, he was a First Team All-Big East selection and the school’s Best Rush Lineman Award winner as a senior after posting a team-high 12.5 tackles for loss. He finished his career with 195 tackles and made 51 consecutive starts. A Football Writers Association of America Freshman All-America in 2009, he scored a touchdown against North Carolina Central after recovering a fumble in the end zone in the first game of the 2011 season.

Following graduation, Vallone had professional stints with three NFL teams, including the Miami Dolphins, Detroit Lions and New England Patriots.  He also spent time in the CFL with the Montreal Alouettes.



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