Mike Feminis Image

Prior to the arrival of Mike Feminis in 1999, Saint Xavier University Football had won just eight games in its six-year history.  Over the last 16 seasons, the Cougars have amassed a 144-50 record, won the 2011 NAIA Football National Championship, captured the Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) Mideast League title outright in 2009 & 2010, shared the MSFA title six of the last 13 seasons and qualified for the NAIA postseason nine times since 2002.  The 2011 NAIA national championship was the first national title for the University in any sport in its 42-year history.

To say that Feminis knows how to turn a program around would be a huge understatement.  The American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) named him the 2011 NAIA National Coach of the Year, while American Football Monthly (AFM) and Schutt Sports honored him as NAIA Coach of the Year in both 2006 and 2010.

Feminis has also made a name for himself in the MSFA earning the 2009, 2010 and 2012 Mideast League Coach of the Year award as well as 2005 Midwest League Coach of the Year.  In 2009, he was dubbed the AFCA-NAIA Regional Coach of the Year after guiding SXU to its first undefeated regular season (11-0) and advancing to the NAIA semifinals twice in four years (2006 & 2009).  Feminis followed that with a second perfect regular season (11-0) in 2010 and again advanced his Cougars to the national semifinals.

Under Feminis, winning is the norm as SXU has established itself as one of the premier small college football programs in the country.  Since 2000, the Cougars have won more games (140) than any of the 35 college football institutions in Illinois and rank second among the 87 NAIA football institutions.  In 2015, SXU shoots for its ninth playoff berth in the last 11 years after making its sixth trip to the national semifinals in 2014.

Prior to SXU, Feminis coached at the University of St. Francis in Joliet, Ill.  He served as linebacker coach (1990-93) before becoming defensive coordinator (1994-98).  As a player at USF from 1986-89, Feminis started every game of his career (41) and was a four-time NAIA All-District 20 selection at linebacker.  In 1989, he was the NAIA Defensive Player of the Year by USA Today and earned NAIA All-American First Team honors.  Feminis holds numerous USF records, including most tackles in a game (29) and career (469).  He was inducted into the USF Athletics Hall of Fame (1996) as well as his high school Marian Catholic (2000) in Chicago Heights.

Feminis earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism/communications from St. Francis in 1990 and a master’s in physical education/athletic administration from the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) in 1993.  He served as president of the NAIA Coaches Association from 2007-08 and been on the NAIA Raters Committee since 2000.

Feminis resides in Plainfield with his wife, Meredith, and daughters, Gianna, Francesca and Sophia.

Mark Yanule Image

Yanule is in his 17th year of coaching at Saint Xavier and 13th season as the team’s offensive coordinator.

Yanule directs a powerful offense that has broken nearly every SXU record over the last few years.  In 2012, the Cougars ranked No. 3 nationally in total pass offense (3,866), No. 5 in the NAIA in pass offense per game (297.4) and No. 5 in total scoring (495).  Following the season, he was named the 2014 Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) Mideast League Assistant Coach of the Year.  It was the fourth time in his career he has received the MSFA honor.   

In 2011, the Cougars led the entire NAIA in both total pass offense (4,902) and total scoring offense (666) and second overall in scoring offense per game (44.4 ppg).  Yanule was named the MSFA Mideast League Assistant Coach of the Year in both 2009 and 2012 and boasted the NAIA’s No. 1 ranked total offense per game and third-best scoring offense during the 2009 campaign.  He was also named MSFA Midwest League Assistant Coach of the Year in 2003.

Before coming to Saint Xavier, Yanule was the offensive line coach at University of St. Francis (Ill.) from 1995-98.  Yanule was a two-year starter on the offensive line at USF earned NAIA All-District 20 Second Team honors in 1993.  He graduated in 1994 with a degree in communications.

Yanule lives in Shorewood with his wife, Lisa.  The couple have two young daughters, Alexis and Alyssa.  Yanule is a Chicagoland native and graduated from Notre Dame High School in Niles.

Werner Emmrich Image

Emmrich starts his 16th season at Saint Xavier and 40th overall. He has served as defensive coordinator for SXU since his arrival back in 2000.  The 2014 season was a big year for the Cougar defense with the team ranked No. 8 in the nation in total sacks (36.0) and No. 10 in sacks per game (2.8).  In 2012, SXU also posted its first shutout since the 2008 campaign in a 31-0 win over No. 13 ranked William Penn University (Iowa) in the first round of the NAIA Football Championship Series.

In 2011, the Cougars had the NAIA’s seventh best sack-producing defense (34 total) and ninth ranked total defense (269.2 ypg). The Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) honored Emmrich by naming him the Mideast League’s Assistant Coach of the Year after the 2007 season.

Prior to SXU, Emmrich was the head coach at Marist High School in Chicago from 1995-99, where he compiled a 29-23 overall record and made two appearances in the ISHA state playoffs.

Emmrich was defensive coordinator at Marist High School from 1984-91 and at Illinois Benedictine College in Lisle from 1992-93.

He has held coaching stints at the University of St. Francis (Ill.), Columbus Wehrle Catholic (Ohio) and Logan (Ohio) High Schools.  Emmrich also was a student coach at his alma mater Muskingum College (Ohio).

Emmrich has been teaching at Marist since 1982 and resides in Plainfield with his wife, Ann.  The couple has a son, Clay (24), who coaches at Augustana College (Ill.), and daughter, Savannah (22) in the Air Force.

Mike Slovick Image

Slovick enters his 11th season at SXU and serves as the Cougars’ special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach. Prior to Saint Xavier, he spent 11 seasons as head football coach at area rival University of St. Francis (Ill.).

During the 2014 season, both his freshman placekicker Abdul Mahdi and freshman punter Joe Bailey earned spots on the 2014 Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) All-Midwest League Second Team.  Mahdi finished the season ranked fourth in the entire NAIA in total scoring for kickers (94).  The Cougars also ranked No. 3 in the nation in punt return yards per attempt (16.0) during the 2014 campaign.

Slovick was named the 2010 MSFA Mideast League Assistant Coach of the Year after Tom Lynch won the prestigious Fred Mitchell Award back-to-back years as one of college football’s top placekickers.  Slovick has also had a linebacker earn All-American honors in five of the last six seasons.

From 1986-92, Slovick was the defensive coordinator for the Fighting Saints.  In 1987 and 1991, St. Francis ranked among the NAIA’s best in pass, rush and total defense.

When USF was NCAA Division II in 1995, the Saints ranked second in the Midwest Intercollegiate Football Conference in both total defense (305 ypg) and rushing defense (152.8 ypg).

Slovick earned his bachelor of arts degree in political science from Lewis University (Ill.) in 1971 and a master’s degree in physical education from Eastern Illinois University in 1974.

Slovick resides in Joliet and has a son, Shane.

Bill Gleeson Image
Bill Gleeson
Assistant Coach - 15th Season
Alma Mater: Benedictine University (Ill.)

Gleeson is entering his 15th season at SXU and instructs the Cougar split ends receivers.  He has coached football in some capacity at the high school and college levels for over 30 years.  From 1994-98, Gleeson was head football coach at Brother Rice High School.  He teaches history and P.E. at Brother Rice in addition to serving as an assistant track coach.

Gleeson is a 1980 graduate of Illinois Benedictine College with degrees in P.E. and history/education.  He earned his master’s from the University of Illinois.

He lives in Oak Lawn with his wife, Mary Joan, his son, Thomas, and daughter, Jillian.

John D'Ambrosio Image
John D'Ambrosio
Assistant Coach - 12th Season
Alma Mater: University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

D’Ambrosio joined the Cougars’ staff in 2004, but has over 40 years of experience.  He was a 2003 inductee into the Illinois Football Coaches Hall of Fame.

Prior to SXU, D’Ambrosio was football coach at Bremen High School from 1982-2003.  He led Bremen to nine conference titles and 12 state playoffs.  In 1995, the UW-Whitewater and Mundelein grad was named Daily Southtown Football Coach of the Year.

D’Ambrosio resides in Oak Forest with his wife, Judy.  They have five children:  Dominic, Melissa, Christina, Lauren and Gregory as well as five grandchildren, Dominic, Nicholas, Owen, John and Carmela.

Joe Watson Image
Joe Watson
Assistant Coach - 11th Season
Alma Mater: St. Norbert College (Wis.)

Watson is in his 11th season at SXU and heads the defensive line.  He also teaches at Shepard High School in Palos Heights.

Watson has assisted at high schools around the South Side, including Shepard, Rich South, Marist and Joliet Township.  He graduated from Marist and attended St. Norbert College (Wis.), where he earned his degree in history and played four years at outside linebacker.

Watson lives in Oak Lawn with his wife, Heather, and their two sons, Patrick and Brendan.

Eric Schreiber Image
Eric Schreiber
Assistant Coach - 8th Season
Alma Mater: Saint Xavier University

Schreiber enters his eighth year after wrapping up a successful playing career in 2007.  He is a 2008 graduate of SXU in computer science and lives in Joliet with his wife, Theresa, and son, Brayden.  Schreiber works at RJ2 Technologies in Schaumburg.

John Casson Image
John Casson
Assistant Coach - 7th Season
Alma Mater: North Central College (Ill.)

Casson begins his seventh year at Saint Xavier and will work with the running backs.  Prior to SXU, he coached at Bremen High School in Midlothian, Ill., for 22 years and as a head coach led the team to a 28-21 record and three playoff appearances.

Casson graduated and played football at North Central College in Naperville, Ill., from 1982-86 and is also a graduate of Rich South High School in Richton Park, Ill.

Casson lives in Plainfield with his wife, Laura.  The couple have four children: Brian (former SXU player), Sam, Kevin and Caitlin. He also works for State Farm.


Smith is in his second year on the Saint Xavier assistant coaching staff.  He will oversee the slot receivers this season.  In 2013, he was a receivers coach at Spring Lake High School in Spring Lake, Mich.  Smith was a wide receiver/tight end for the Cougars from 2009-12, including a member of the national championship team in 2011.

Smith graduated from Saint Xavier University in 2013 with degrees in sociology and criminal justice.  He lives in Chicago and also works full-time at SXU in Information Technology (IT).  He is pursuing a Masters of Business Administration at SXU.


Tim Ladd
Assistant Coach - 2nd Season
Alma Mater: Saint Xavier University

Ladd is in his second season at SXU and heads the offensive line.  He was a standout offensive lineman for the Cougars from 2010-13 earning All-MSFA recognition in both 2012 (second team) and 2013 (first team).

Ladd graduated from Saint Xavier University in 2014 with a degree in marketing.  Two of his younger brothers, Dan and Jack, are on the 2014 SXU roster.  He resides in Chicago and also works for Lagunitas Brewing Company.

Brian Bonds
Assistant Coach - 3rd Season
Alma Mater: Elmhurst College (Ill.)

     Bonds starts his third season at SXU and will work with the safeties.  He played at Elmhurst College (Ill.)and graduated in 2013.  Bonds lives in Minooka and is pursuing his master’s degree in education at SXU.