New Hampshire Football Report

UNH will introduce Santos today

DURHAM – University of New Hampshire athletic director Marty Scarano announced Tuesday the hiring of Rick Santos as the 20th head coach in UNH football history. Santos, who served the last three seasons as associate head coach/quarterbacks coach — including a six-month term as interim head coach — succeeds Sean McDonnell, who retired Dec. 1 following 23 years leading the Wildcats.

“UNH Football has a long and storied history, much of it built by the efforts of Bill Bowes, followed by Sean McDonnell,” Scarano said. “Our program has had success at the highest level and is nationally respected in large part because of how we do things. Our blue-collar mentality, which emphasizes playing the game the right way, demands a particular leader. Rick Santos embodies all that is UNH Football. Through his highly decorated playing years and his coaching career, including as our interim head coach, he has proven that he will continue the legacy of successful coaches who embrace the UNH way.”

Santos, a record-setting Wildcat quarterback from 2004-07, has been building toward this important promotion since returning for his second stint on McDonnell’s staff in March 2019. As associate head coach, Santos oversaw offensive strategy while simultaneously coaching the QBs.

“I am humbled and honored to be named head coach for such a storied program and continue to work at such a prestigious institution,” Santos said. “We believe great teams are built on toughness, grit, and a family atmosphere. We will work hard to instill these qualities in our young men and cultivate an environment where our leaders thrive. This is truly an honor, and I am beyond excited to lead UNH football into the future.”

Santos rose to the occasion as interim head coach for the 2019 campaign and led UNH to a 6-5 record, including 5-3 in the CAA. He developed Max Brosmer (Roswell, Ga.), UNH’s first true freshman to start at quarterback in more than four decades, and Dylan Laube (Westhampton, N.Y.), a HERO Sports Freshman Honorable Mention All-American.

“Ricky brings a great amount of energy, leadership and the same winning attitude he had as a player to the way he coaches,” McDonnell said. “He has that new voice and fresh ideas that will help us recapture the success UNH Football deserves. He may not be New Hampshire born, but he is New Hampshire bred, and I’m excited to see where he leads this football program.”

In his first tenure as a Wildcat assistant coach from 2013-15, Santos coached wide receivers. In 2015, he mentored R.J. Harris to the single greatest wide receiver statistical season in program history. Harris tallied a school-record 100 catches and led the nation with 1,551 receiving yards, which tied the program’s all-time single-season benchmark. In 2013, Harris and Justin Mello became the first wide receiver duo in school history to each register 1,000 yards in a single season.

Santos, a native of Bellingham, Mass., worked three seasons (2016-18) as the QB coach/passing game coordinator at Columbia University of the Ivy League between his two stretches as an assistant coach and associate head coach at his alma mater.

During his playing career, Santos compiled a 37-14 record and directed the Wildcats to four NCAA Division I-AA/FCS playoff appearances. He guided UNH to its first postseason victory at Georgia Southern (Nov. 27, 2004), was part of the 2005 Atlantic 10 championship team that was ranked No. 1 in the country, and he won two A-10 Northern Division titles (2004, 2006).

Santos passed for 13,212 yards and 123 touchdowns while accumulating 14,615 yards of total offense. The three-time Walter Camp All-American connected with UNH’s all-time leading receiver and fellow University Hall of Famer David Ball for 53 touchdowns from 2004-06 to set an FCS record that still stands for most career TD connections for a QB-WR duo. Santos also owns the FCS single-game record for highest percentage of passes completed (96.2 percent) when he went 25 of 26 for 306 yards and five TDs in a 52-21 defeat of Northeastern on Oct. 22, 2005.

In 2006, Santos won the Walter Payton Award as the most outstanding offensive player in FCS football when he threw for 3,125 yards and 29 touchdowns. He was a three-time Atlantic-10/CAA Offensive Player of the Year (2005-07) and four-time All-Conference First Team QB. In 2004, he was named the ECAC Rookie of the Year, Atlantic 10 co-Rookie of the Year, set the FCS record for most yards gained by a freshman in a game (538, at Villanova, Oct. 2, 2004) and freshman TD passes in a season (31).

Santos possesses school career records in pass attempts (1,498), completions (1,024) and passing yards (12,189). He holds the top two and four of the top six single-season records in completions, headlined by 301 in 2005. His 2005 season included a school all-time high 3,797 passing yards.

Following his graduation with a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology: Sport Studies with a concentration in sports management, Santos played football professionally for five years. He signed as an undrafted free agent with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2008 before moving north to play in the Canadian Football League from 2009-12.



Rick Santos                  2022- 

Sean McDonnell             1999-2021

Bill Bowes                    1972-1998

Jim Root                       1968-1971

Joe Yukica                    1966-1967

Andy Mooradian            1965

Chief Boston                  1949-1964

Bill Glassford                1946-1948

Herbert Snow                 1944

Charlie Justice               1942

George Sauer                 1937-1941

William Cowell              1915-1936

T.D. Sheppard                1914

Tod Eberle                    1912-1913

Ray B. Thomas              1910-1911

Willard Gildersleeve       1909

Charles Gill                   1908

Edward Herr                  1906-1907

G.B. Ward                     1904

John Scannell                 1902-1903

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