Andy Coen, who led the Lehigh football program to five Patriot League championships in 13 seasons as head coach, passed away April 15, 2022. He was 57.
Coen won 85 games—tied for most in school history—as he guided the Mountain Hawks to an 85-64 record from 2006 through 2018, when he stepped away from coaching to deal with a diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
A fiery and passionate leader who possessed a unique ability to motivate and inspire his student-athletes, Coen mentored 135 All-Patriot League selections, six Patriot League major award winners, 25 All-America selections, 10 CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America) Academic All-District honorees, two CoSIDA Academic All-Americans and 236 Patriot League Academic Honor Roll selections.
“Andy Coen was deeply admired and respected for his unwavering devotion to his athletes, his staff, his universities, and most of all, to his family,” Joe Sterrett ’76 ’78G ’03P ’05P ’07P ’09P, the Murray H. Goodman Dean of Athletics, said. “He touched lives in profound and enduring ways, and his legacy will live through all those who had the fortune of knowing him. We will miss him always, yet we are grateful to have shared the time we had.”
Coen won Patriot League Coach of the Year honors twice, in 2010 and 2016, and was a three-time finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award, which is given to the top coach in the Football Championship Subdivision.
In 2011, Lehigh enjoyed one of its finest seasons in school history, finishing the year ranked fifth nationally and earning the program’s eighth Lambert Cup, given to the top Football Championship Subdivision program in the Northeast. Coen’s Lehigh teams were twice recognized as Eastern College Athletic Conference Team of the Year: the 2011 team and the 2016 squad, which won its final nine regular season games to claim the program’s 11th Patriot League title.
Coen’s final game and victory as Lehigh’s head coach came against rival Lafayette on Nov. 17, 2018. He went 9-4 in Rivalry games as a head coach, and three of the 11 classes in school history to go undefeated against Lafayette came under Coen (2012, 2013 and 2019).
A native of Cherry Hill, N.J., Coen was an offensive lineman at Gettysburg College, earning his degree in history in 1986 before embarking on a more than 30-year coaching career that included stops at Minnesota, James Madison, the United States Merchant Marine Academy and the University of Pennsylvania, in addition to two stints at Lehigh, which spanned nearly 20 years.
During his first stop at Lehigh (1994 to 1999), Coen was the team’s offensive line coach for the first two years, then added offensive coordinator to his responsibilities. The Mountain Hawks won three Patriot League championships during that span, which included the 1998 team that set a school record
for most wins in a season, going 12-1 and reaching the NCAA Division I-AA quarterfinals.
Coen is survived by his wife Laura, daughter Molly, and sons Nolan and Finn.