UMass Dartmouth announces new head football coach
Long-time Offensive Coach Josh Sylvester promoted after retirement of Head Coach Mark Robichaud
Dartmouth, MA – Today, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Director of Athletics & Recreation Lori Hendricks announced the retirement of Head Football Coach Mark Robichaud and the appointment of Offensive Coordinator Josh Sylvester as head coach of the Corsair football program.
“Mark Robichaud’s commitment to his team members’ personal growth and development is the gold standard,” said Hendricks. “I watched him teach and instruct young men not just in the sport of football, but also in the game of life. It is a high bar that has been set for Coach Sylvester and I have no doubt that he will build on Coach Robichaud’s success to write the next chapter of Corsair football.”
“I want to commend Coach Mark Robichaud for an incredible career. As we saw just this past season, he elevated not only the UMass Dartmouth Football program but our entire University’s reputation as champions,” said Chancellor Mark A. Fuller. “While Mark will be missed, I am excited to have Josh Sylvester take over as our new head coach. I am confident Coach Sylvester will continue strengthening our program and achieving success.”
Robichaud, the first full-time head coach in program history, guided UMass Dartmouth to an overall record of 70-81, including a 25-7 mark over the past three contested seasons during his 16-season tenure. He is second in wins and winning percentage (.464) in program history. Under his direction, the Corsairs captured the program’s first Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Championship, advanced to the NCAA Division III Playoffs, and raised the New England Football Bowl Championship trophy.
“It has been my absolute privilege to serve as the head coach of the UMass Dartmouth football program for the past 16 seasons,” said Robichaud. “I would like to thank the administration of the University and all those in the athletic department for their tremendous support over that time. I especially would like to thank the football staff and the players for all their incredible sacrifice, determination, and focus. The football program is now in great hands as Josh Sylvester takes over. Josh has incredible passion and enthusiasm and will take the program to the next level. The University could not have made a better decision and I know that the staff and the players feel the same way.”
Robichaud mentored 54 all-conference selections, including five players of the year and three rookies of the year. He coached the second All-American in program history, Pat Sullivan ’17, and six D3Football.com All-Region selections, including three first-team picks. Junior Quarterback Dante Aviles-Santos recently earned the prestigious Joe Zabilski Award, which recognizes New England’s top offensive player in Divisions II/III, and the New England Football Writers Association Season Golden Helmet Award. UMass Dartmouth also enjoyed success in the classroom under Robichaud as 175 student-athletes earned all-academic distinctions since 2013.
UMass Dartmouth was selected as the 2022 MASCAC Coaching Staff of the Year after posting an overall record of 9-2, matching the program’s second-highest win total. The Corsairs were undefeated against conference opponents to earn the automatic berth into the NCAA Division III tournament, the second invitation in program history.
Sylvester spent the past 11 years as offensive coordinator under Robichaud and has coached several positional groups, including offensive linemen, running backs, and safeties, since joining the staff in 2009.
“I am honored and humbled for the opportunity to be the head football coach at UMass Dartmouth,” said Sylvester. “I would like to thank Chancellor Fuller, Vice Chancellor David Gingerella, Vice Chancellor Dean Hickey, and Director of Athletics Lori Hendricks for trusting me to lead this program. I want to send a special thank you to Coach Mark Robichaud for his tremendous leadership and support. You are an amazing coach, person, mentor, and friend. UMass Dartmouth is a special place, and I will work relentlessly to help our players be successful in the classroom and on the field. We will embrace the “Win the Rep” mentality and attack every interaction and opportunity with great energy, focus, and grit. I am so excited to get started – Go Corsairs!”
The architect of UMass Dartmouth’s prolific offensive attack, Sylvester has produced four of the top five scoring seasons and seven of the top eight seasons of total offense in program history. Most recently, the Corsairs established a new single-season standard for passing yards (3,288), passing completion percentage (61.3), passing efficiency (157.1), total offense (5,852), touchdowns (95), all-purpose yards (6,469), and total points scored (449). UMass Dartmouth placed a program-best two student-athletes on the D3Football.com All-Region first-team this season.