December 9, 2019
Former Marist HS and NIU lineman presently is on the staff at Kent State.
Fenwick High School has hired Matt Battaglia as its next varsity head football coach – the 16th football coach in the Catholic school’s storied, 90-year history. Mr. Battaglia, a graduate of Marist High School in Chicago (Class of 2009), also will serve as an assistant athletic director, effective December 23, 2019. Coach Battaglia will be at Fenwick this Wednesday, December 11, for a public introduction in the school auditorium at 6:30 p.m. (Media is welcome to attend.)
While at Marist, Battaglia played for his mentor and a highly successful coach in Pat Dunne. After Marist, he continued his playing career at Northern Illinois University. (His college teammate was Mt. Carmel Head Coach Jordan Lynch.) Battaglia’s coaching career began at St. Francis High School, Wheaton, IL, as an assistant under Mike Fitzgerald. He then returned to his alma mater (Marist), where he spent three seasons as an offensive assistant. Battaglia then was brought to Kent State University under Sean Lewis.
“We are thrilled to have Matt take the reins of our football program and lead the Friars on the gridiron into the next decade,” said Athletic Director Scott Thies, Fenwick Class of 1999. “Matt is a person of great character who has been surrounded by great coaches and mentors his entire life, including Pat Dunne, Rod Carey, Mike Fitzgerald and Sean Lewis. His vision for the program, student-centered approach and passion for football really stand out. Matt brings an innovative style of offensive football that has proven to be successful at the high school and collegiate level. I am really excited to see the Friars take the field next fall!”
In a statement, Battaglia said, “I am extremely grateful and excited for this opportunity to become the next head football coach at Fenwick and contribute to the great tradition of Friar Football. I can’t wait to get started and work with the Fenwick Family to build a program that is on the cutting edge of football and makes the entire community proud!”
Kudos from mentors
Kent State Head Coach Sean Lewis added: “Matt is one of the brightest young football minds I have been around. His love for his players and the game is second to none. He is more than ready to not only take over the Fenwick football program and, as a proud Chicago native, I know he will take that football family to a State Championship level. Our FlashFAST [Kent State] family couldn’t be happier for him, and we look forward to following all the future success!”
Pat Dunne, the former head football coach at Marist, said: “Matt’s relentless work ethic, energy and passion is second to none. He has coached in two successful high school programs and, for the last two years, absorbed one of football’s most innovative and dynamic offenses at Kent State University. Most importantly, Matt’s positive impact will extend much further than the football field and will help prepare his players for life.”
From Rod Carey, Temple Head Coach: “Matt was an outstanding football player for us at NIU, and I know he will make an excellent coach. We wouldn’t have won four MAC West titles and two conference championships without him, so I know he knows how to win. He knows the value of hard work, having paid his dues as an offensive assistant at Kent State. I wish him the best in this new role and trust the kids at Fenwick will benefit from having him as their head coach.”
The ’20 season next fall marks Fenwick’s 90th year of fielding a football team. Legendary Coach Tony Lawless’ inaugural team dates back to 1930. The Friars’ opening game on August 28, 2020, will kick off in Dublin, Ireland, versus a yet-to-be named opponent.