Steve Tirrell, a well-known name in New England college football circles, returns for his fourth season at the helm of the suddenly surging Dean College football program in 2019.
It only took Tirrell two season playing exclusively against NCAA Division III competition to post a winning record with the Bulldogs and they are now viewed as one of the region's most intriguing programs.
Tirrell has nearly 30 years of collegiate coaching experience under his belt and was chosen to take over the Bulldog program in late December of 2015 when the College made the decision to begin the process of becoming a member of the NCAA.
Under Tirrell in 2018, Dean went 5-5 - winning its final three games - including finishing 4-2 in the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC). The Bulldogs had 12 student-athletes earn ECFC All-Conference honors, while he had a student-athlete earn All-New England accolades for the second season in a row.
2017 saw Tirrell guide the Bulldogs to a 4-6 mark, which included three losses by a touchdown or less. In his first season as the sideline boss, he guided the Bulldogs to an impressive 6-4 record that included five straight wins to end the season.
Tirrell’s coaching odyssey began back in 1989 when he spent six seasons as the defensive line coach at his alma mater, Plymouth State. While with the Panthers, he helped guide them to consecutive NCAA appearances under legendary head coach Don Brown, combining to go 19-2 in his final two seasons on staff.
He then spent the next four seasons at Brown University where he worked with the defensive line and the special teams units and was eventually promoted to recruiting coordinator. In his final season in Providence, Tirrell and the Bears shared the Ivy League title with rival Yale as both teams finished with identical 9-1 (6-1 Ivy) records.
Tirrell then reunited with Don Brown at Northeastern, spending four seasons on staff (2000-03) with the Huskies as they laid claim to a share of the A-10 title, won ten games and made the program’s inaugural appearance in the NCAA I-AA playoffs.
In 2004 Tirrell moved to UMass-Amherst, spending seven seasons during two (2004-07, 2009-11) separate stints with the Minutemen. During that time, he helped UMass reach the 2006 national championship game and win an A-10 championship.
For two seasons, Tirrell was the associate head coach and defensive coordinator at Nichols College in Dudley, Mass.
A tremendous defensive lineman in his own right during the mid-1980’s, Tirrell was a key cog in the legendary “Green Wall” defense of the Panthers. During his four seasons, Plymouth State went 38-6 and at one point won 20 consecutive contests.
Overall, they won four conference championships and made the program’s first-ever NCAA appearance in 1984 while Tirrell was busy earning all-conference and all-New England honors.
A 2001 inductee into the Plymouth State Hall of Fame, Tirrell still holds school records for sacks in a season (14) and career (35) and safeties in a season (3) and career (4).
Tirrell, who also serves as Assistant Director of Athletics at Dean, graduated from Plymouth State in 1989 with a degree in education and he went on to earn a master's degree in Sports Management from Southern New Hampshire University in 2019.