Wednesday, July 17, 2024

W&M Football Announces Coaching Staff Changes

(Tribe Athletics)

WILLIAMSBURG — The William & Mary football program has made two changes to the offensive coaching staff, head coach Mike London announced on Friday. Offensive line coach Mario Acitelli has been promoted to offensive coordinator, while former Tribe team captain Ted Hefter will return to coach the Tribe’s quarterbacks.

“I am excited about the opportunity to have coach Acitelli serve as our offensive coordinator,” London said. “He is an experienced coach and an integral part of establishing a productive rushing attack for us. His knowledge and past experiences will help us achieve an offensive attack that impacts not only the run game but the passing game as well.

“Ted Hefter is another talented young coach who is a great addition to our staff, and I have firsthand knowledge of his impact on our program. He was a HEYFARL scholarship recipient as well as an elected captain. He was a tremendous leader here and has developed into a bright young star in the coaching profession. His knowledge of the passing game will tremendously benefit our offensive approach. Coach Hefter, along with Perry Jones (running backs coach), Mike London Jr. (wide receivers coach) and Jack Armstrong (tight ends coach / run game coordinator), will continue to develop and enhance our offensive goals and productivity.”

Acitelli, who has played a pivotal role in W&M’s success the last two seasons as the Tribe’s offensive line coach/run game coordinator, takes over the play-calling duties with the departure of Christian Taylor, who recently accepted a position as an assistant with the Buffalo Bills.

In addition to being honored as the nation’s top-graded FCS offensive line coach in 2023 by Matrix Analytical, Acitelli helped his position group post the best statistical season in school history in 2022. At the conclusion of the regular season, W&M ranked first nationally in sacks allowed per game (0.64), second in explosive runs (97), third in rushing yards per game (274), third in rushing yards per carry (6.3) and sixth in rushing yards before contact (1,307). Additionally, the Tribe piled up 35 rushing touchdowns — the third-most in school history — as well as 448.8 total yards per game and 33.5 points per game — averages that rank fourth and fifth, respectively, on the program’s all-time single-season list.

Under his direction the past two seasons, W&M’s offensive line has helped the Tribe average 234.2 rushing yards per game with 49 rushing touchdowns. Additionally, his group allowed just 1.2 sacks per game during the two-year span.

In addition to the unit’s collective success, a number of individual standouts have thrived under his tutelage at W&M. Highlighting the group are a pair of consensus All-Americans — Colby Sorsdal and Charles Grant. Sorsdal recently finished his rookie season with the Detroit Lions after being selected in the fifth round of the 2023 NFL Draft, while Grant has garnered six All-America accolades during the past two seasons.

“I could not be more honored, thankful, and excited for this opportunity,” Acitelli said. “I love this place and this university. William & Mary represents one of the most unique opportunities for student athletes in the entire country. People come here to be the best and our offensive staff will continue to build on that standard. I can’t wait to help Coach London and the players continue on the hunt for championships and make an impact in the community.”

Hefter returns to Williamsburg after serving as the passing game coordinator/quarterbacks coach at the University of Dayton last season where he helped the Flyers program transition under first-year head coach (and former W&M defensive coordinator) Trevor Andrews. The Flyers offense finished second in the PFL (Pioneer Football League) in third down percentage, and third in the scoring offense and first downs. The team finished the season with a pair of impressive wins in which is scored a combined 80 points in victories against league rivals Marist College and Davidson College.

Hefter also helped mentor FCS All-American and Jerry Rice Award Finalist Gavin Lochow, who transitioned from quarterback to wide receiver/returner.

Prior to joining Dayton’s staff, Hefter began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Western Michigan (2021-22) working with quarterbacks and as a defensive assistant. He helped the Broncos win the Quick Lane Bowl in 2021.

“I couldn’t be more excited to be back in Williamsburg and work with some incredible people,” Hefter said. “I am thankful for Coach London giving me the opportunity to positively impact the William & Mary football program as a coach after years as a player. This is a special place. Go Tribe!”

A team captain as a quarterback at W&M (2016-21), Hefter appeared in 24 games with four starts.

An outstanding leader on and off the field, he served as the SAAC President and earned W&M’s prestigious Cypher Award, which recognizes elite students as being stewards of the university’s core values, and for their unceasing efforts to make a meaningful difference while at the university. He also excelled in the classroom, garnering W&M’s Provost Award and CAA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll distinction every year of his career.

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