The 2014 season marks John Lyons’ fourth as defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach for the Wildcats. Lyons, the second-winningest head football coach in Dartmouth College history, was hired Jan. 21, 2011.
He was inducted into the Northwest Catholic (Conn.) High School Hall of Fame on April 27, 2013.
Under Lyons’ tutelage in 2012 Matt Evans became UNH’s all-time leader in career tackles (460) en route to a berth on the College Sporting News Fabulous Fifty All-America Team, and defensive tackle Jared Smith earned an invitation to the NFL Combine after claiming a spot on the College Sports Journal FCS All-America Team. The Wildcats' defense compiled 16 interceptions, which ranked second in the CAA, and finished second in turnover margin (+7).
In Lyons’ first season at the helm, Evans won the Buck Buchanan Award as the nation’s top defensive player –the first Wildcat to ever accomplish that feat. Evans finished tops in the country with 7.7 solo tackles/game, and sophomore safety Chris Beranger finished second in the CAA and third in the FCS with 77 solo stops.
Lyons earned 60 career victories as the head coach at Dartmouth from 1992-2004. His Big Green teams won two Ivy League championships (1992, 1996), including a perfect 10-0 season in ’96 when Lyons was named the New England Coach of the Year by the New England sports writers and the Division I N.E. Coach of the Year by the Gridiron Club of Boston.
The West Hartford, Conn., native prevoiusly worked at Kimball Union Academy in Meriden, N.H., where he served as football coach from 2005-10 and athletic director from 2008-10. He guided the school to three consecutive Evergreen League championships from 2007-2009.
Previously, Lyons spent three seasons (2005-07) in NFL Europe for the Cologne Centurions, the last two years as defensive coordinator. Under his tutelage, the Centurions had the league’s top total defense in 2005 and 2007 and the No. 1 pass yardage defense in 2006.
While serving as defensive coordinator at Boston University from 1985-87, Lyons led the Terriers to the top rated pass defense and No. 2 total defense in the Yankee Conference during his final season.
Lyons, who graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1974, began his coaching career at his alma mater, climbing his way up from an assistant freshman coach in his first season (1974) to the role of defensive coordinator in 1984 for an undefeated Ivy League championship Quakers team that featured the No. 1 total defense in the league. He played three years at Penn, and was an All-Ivy League Second-Team selection.
John and his wife Nancy are parents of four daughters: Katie, Kristen, Kelly and Kyle.