Youngman Field at Alumni Stadium provides one of the best settings in New England for college football and lacrosse. The stadium is set in the ground with hillsides surrounding the field. The 3,500 seats overlook Middlebury's outdoor facilities as well as the Green Mountains.
Ritter is in his 15th season as head coach of the Middlebury College football program, holding the Michael “Mickey” Heinecken Coaching Chair.
His teams have a combined record of 20-4 over the past three seasons with 7-1, 7-1 and 6-2 campaigns and capturing the NESCAC title in 2013. In addition to 2013, the Panthers won the NESCAC title in 2007 as Ritter was named the NESCAC Coach of the Year in both seasons. He earned national acclaim as a finalist for the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Coach of the Year Award in 2007. He now owns a career mark of 70-42 over 14 previous seasons at Middlebury, which positions him with the second-best winning percentage (.625) in the history of the program.
As the head coach for the Panthers, Ritter has mentored 96 All-NESCAC selections and 55 NESCAC players of the week, while seeing his players break over 50 school records. While 108 players have earned All-NESCAC Academic honors during his tenure, 20 more were named Academic All-Region picks, and two players have received Academic All-American status. Fourteen different Panthers have been recipients of the Vermont Chapter of the National Football Foundations College Scholar Award, including McCallum Foote. A two-time finalist for the Gagliardi Award as Division IIIs top honor, Foote also received a coveted NCAA Post-Graduate scholarship. Several other players under Ritters guidance earned All-American awards, as a trio have gone on to NFL rookie camps. One former Panther, Steven Hauschka, has played in back-to-back Super Bowls in 2014 and 2015, earning a Super Bowl ring on February 2, 2014 while kicking for the NFLs Seattle Seahawks.
Beyond head coaching duties, Ritter serves as the quarterback coach for one of the most prolific passing offenses in the country. From 2009-2013, the Middlebury passing attack led all of Division III in pass completions per game, while holding dozens of spots in the top-10 national rankings. Over those five years, two quarterbacks, Foote (2011-13) and Donald McKillop (2009-10) peppered the school and NESCAC record book, appearing first or second all-time for Middlebury 29 times, while holding 12 top-two spots in conference passing annals.
Assistant Coach – Offensive Coordinator
Caputi took over the responsibilties as the schools offensive coordinator in the spring of 2015. Caputi replaced 14-year veteran Joe Early, who took a similar job at the Brunswick School in Connecticut.
A 1981 graduate of Middlebury College, Caputi earned his undergraduate degree in American history. On the gridiron, he was the starting quarterback for a Panther squad that finished the 1980 season with a 6-1-1 record. In 1994, Caputi earned his Masters Degree in Education from North Adams State (Mass.) College.Caputi stepped down as the head coach at Bowdoin last fall following 15 seasons at the helm. In his time in Brunswick he accumulated the fourth-most wins of any coach in program history (35) and led the Polar Bears to four CBB (Colby-Bates-Bowdoin) championships. Caputi directed a Bowdoin offense that re-wrote the school record books, setting single-season and single-game records in passing yards, touchdowns and total offense at points during his tenure.
Caputi joined the Bowdoin staff after serving as the offensive coordinator for Williams College. In his 13 years at Williams, the Ephs compiled an 88-13-3 record with four undefeated seasons. Before joining Williams, Caputi served as the quarterback and secondary coach for Tufts University from 1985 to 1986. Prior to that he also spent a pair of years coaching the offensive backfield and receivers at Amherst.
Assistant Coach – Defensive Coordinator
Now in his fifth season at Middlebury, Mandigo returns as the teams defensive coordinator as well as the defensive backs coach. A 1996 graduate of Middlebury, Mandigo served as an assistant coach in football, baseball and womens ice hockey at his alma mater the year following his graduation.
He moved on to St. Anselm College to serve as the defensive coordinator and secondary coach in football for the 1997 and 1998 seasons. While earning his M.Ed. degree, he served as a graduate assistant in football at Boston College during the 1999 and 2000 seasons, and Mandigo received his degree in 2001. He subsequently returned to Middlebury to work as an assistant professor in physical education. Mandigo also served as defensive coordinator and secondary coach in football and as assistant baseball coach through the spring of 2004.
In 2005, Mandigo moved to California, where he served as assistant baseball coach at Ohlone College and head football coach at Piedmont High School, receiving conference Coach of the Year honors. He returned to Wesleyan in the fall of 2006, and stayed as the teams defensive coordinator for four seasons.
Assistant Coach – Strength & Conditioning
Paquette joined the football coaching staff at Middlebury in the summer of 2014. He also serves as the departments strength and conditioning coach. Paquette comes to Middlebury from Maine Maritime Academy, where he served as the defensive coordinator and strength and conditioning coach for the past two seasons.
During his two seasons in Castine, Paquette coached two All-New England Football Conference selections and guided a defense that ranked in the top three in fumble recoveries and defensive touchdowns in the New England Football Conference (NEFC). In his position as the Mariners strength and conditioning coach, Paquette provided sport-specific workout plans for each of the schools athletic teams.
Prior to Maine Maritime, he served for six seasons at Salve Regina University. Paquette coached all areas of the defense, including the defensive line, linebackers and defensive backs. He was also the teams video coordinator, while coaching special teams.
Brakeley returns for his seventh season with the Panther football team, working with the defensive line for the fifth-straight year. He previously worked with the running backs and tight ends in 2009 and 2010.
In the spring, Brakeley will begin his seventh season as assistant coach of the three-time NCAA Champions mens lacrosse team.
A Middlebury native, Brakeley earned his degree in political science in 2003 from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. He later earned his masters degree at the school.
Phelps is now in his ninth season on the football coaching staff. He graduated from nearby Castleton State College with a degree in sports administration and a minor in business. The Middlebury native will again coach the wide receivers in 2015. Phelps has also spent the last 10 springs as an assistant coach for the Middlebury baseball team.
Phelps has also worked as an assistant coach with the Middlebury High School football team. During his time at the high school, Phelps was a three-sport athlete, playing football, basketball and baseball. His team won a state title with an undefeated season during his senior year, with Phelps taking part in the Maple Sugar Shrine game for senior all-stars from Vermont and New Hampshire.
Marsella returns for his fifth season coaching both the tight ends and running backs, after previously working as the wide receivers coach at Mount Ida. He will also be coaching the special teams in 2015.
A four-year member of the Wesleyan football team from 2005-08, Marsella began his coaching career at his alma mater in 2009, serving as the wide receiver coach. During his playing career, Marsella played both quarterback and defensive back for the Cardinals.
Before attending Wesleyan, Marsella was an all-state football player at Woonsocket (Rhode Island) High School, where he earned all-division baseball honors and was a state place-winner in wrestling.