Prior to the arrival of Mike Feminis in 1999, Saint Xavier football had won just eight games in its six-year history. Over the last 13 seasons, the Cougars have amassed a 116-41 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 five of the last 10 seasons and qualified for the NAIA postseason in 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011. The 2011 NAIA national championship was the first national title for the University in any sport in its 41-year history.
To say that Mike Feminis knows how to turn a football program around would be a huge understatement. In fact, the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) named Feminis the 2011 NAIA National Coach of the Year, while American Football Monthly (AFM) and Schutt Sports honored him as the NAIA Coach of the Year in both 2006 and 2010. Feminis has also made a name for himself within the MSFA earning the 2009 and 2010 Mideast League Coach of the Year award as well as 2005 Midwest League Coach of the Year recognition. In 2009, he was dubbed the AFCA-NAIA Regional Coach of the Year after guiding Saint Xavier to the program's first undefeated regular season (11-0) and advancing to the NAIA semifinals for the second time in four years (2006 & 2009). Feminis followed that up with a second straight perfect regular season (11-0) in 2010 and again advanced his Cougars to the semifinals of the NAIA Football Championship Series.
Under Feminis, winning is the norm as SXU has established itself as one of the premier small college football programs in the country. Since 2006, the Cougars have won more games (67-13) than any of the 32 college football institutions in Illinois and rank third among the 90 football institutions in the NAIA. In 2012, Saint Xavier will shoot for its 13th straight winning season and, more importantly, defending the school's first national title.
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 St. Francis 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 records at St. Francis, 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 most recently served as president of the NAIA Coaches Association from 2007-08 and has been a member of the NAIA Raters Committee since 2000.
Feminis resides in Plainfield with his wife, Meredith, and daughters, Gianna, Francesca and Sophia.
Yanule is in his 14th year of coaching at Saint Xavier and 10th season as the team's offensive coordinator.
Yanule directs a powerful offense that has broken nearly every SXU season record over the last few years. Last season, the Cougars led the NAIA in both total pass offense (4,902) and total scoring offense (666) and second overall in scoring offense per game (44.4 ppg). In 2009, Yanule was named the MSFA Mideast League Assistant Coach of the Year and had the NAIA's No. 1 ranked total offense per game and third-best scoring offense. 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 and 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 daughters, Alexis (3) and Alyssa born on Dec. 7, 2011. Yanule is a Chicagoland native and graduated from Notre Dame High School in Niles.
Emmrich starts his 13th season at Saint Xavier and 36th overall. He has served as defensive coordinator for SXU since his arrival back in 2000.
In 2009, the Cougars had the NAIA's third best sack-producing defense (43 total) and the No. 15 ranked total defense (289.9 ypg) nationally. The MSFA honored Emmrich as the Mideast League's Assistant Coach of the Year after the 2007 campaign.
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, and children, Clay and Savannah.
Slovick enters his eighth season at Saint Xavier and serves as the Cougars' special teams coordinator and linebackers coach. Prior to SXU, he spent 11 seasons as football coach of former MSFA Midwest League rival University of St. Francis (Ill.).
In 2010, he was named the MSFA Mideast League Assistant Coach of the Year and his kicker, Tom Lynch, won the prestigious Fred Mitchell Award back-to-back years (2010 & 2011) as the top placekicker among NCAA Division I-AA, Division II, Division III, NAIA and junior college institutions. He has also had a linebacker receive All-American recognition each of the past five years.
From 1986-92, Slovick was the defensive coordinator for the Fighting Saints. In 1987 and 1991, St. Francis was ranked among the NAIA's best in pass, rush and total defense.
In 1995, when St. Francis (Ill.) was a NCAA Division II member, the Fighting 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.
Gleeson is entering his 12th season at Saint Xavier and instructs the Cougar wide receivers. From 1994-98, he was the head football coach at Brother Rice High School. Gleeson still teaches full-time at Brother Rice in addition to serving as its head track coach since 1992.
Gleeson is a 1980 graduate of Illinois Benedictine College with degrees in physical education and history/education. He earned his master's degree from the University of Illinois.
He lives in Oak Lawn with his wife, Mary Joan, his son, Thomas, and daughter, Jillian.
D'Ambrosio joined the Cougars' coaching staff in 2004, but has over 40 years of coaching experience. He was a 2003 inductee into the Illinois Football Coaches Hall of Fame.
Prior to SXU, D'Ambrosio was the head football coach at Bremen High School from 1982-2003. He led the Braves to nine conference championships and 12 state playoff appearances. 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 three grandchildren, Dominic, Nicholas and Owen.
Watson enters his eighth season with the SXU football program and will command the defensive line. He was an assistant coach at Alan B. Shepard High School in Palos Heights from 2001-03.
Watson has had assistant coaching stints at high schools around the Chicago area, including 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 of football at outside linebacker.
Watson lives in Oak Lawn with his wife, Heather, and their two sons, Patrick and Brendan.
Schreiber enters his fifth season at SXU as the team's video coordinator after wrapping up a successful playing career in 2007. He was the right tackle for the Cougars from 2003-07 earning second team all-conference honors as a senior.
Schreiber graduated from SXU in 2008 with a degree in computer science and also works for the Deaton-Kennedy Company in Joliet.
Casson begins his fourth year at Saint Xavier and will work with the Cougar receivers. Prior to SXU, he served as head football coach at Bremen High School in Midlothian, Ill., from 2004-09 leading the team to a 28-21 record and three playoff appearances over the stretch.
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 Insurance.
Leccesi served as a student assistant in 2010 and joins the staff as assistant offensive line coach this fall. He was a three-year starter and a first team selection on the All-MSFA Mideast League Team as well as an honorable mention All-American by College Fanz Sports Network as a senior in 2009.
Leccesi graduated from SXU in December 2010 with a degree in social science with a minor in secondary education. He lives in Chicago and also works as a recruiting coordinator for NCSA Athleadership Network downtown.
In his second year with the program, Sheehy helped out the Saint Xavier coaching staff as a student assistant in 2011. This season, he will help coach the Cougar linebackers.
Playing at SXU from 2007-10, Sheehy earned honorable mention All-American recognition from the Victory Sports Network as a senior and was a two-time Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete. He was also SXU's Defensive Player of the Year in 2010.
Sheehy graduated from SXU in 2011 with a degree in accounting. He lives in Chicago.
Rodgers joins the staff in 2012 and will help direct the defensive backs. He had a standout playing career from 2005-08 and earned All-American honors as well as the team's Most Valuable Player (MVP) award following his senior season. Rodgers still ranks No. 2 all-time at Saint Xavier for career pass break-ups with 38.
Rodgers graduated from SXU in 2008 with a degree in criminal justice. He works for the Merrionette Park Police Department and resides in Chicago.