A former assistant coach at the University of Akron, Reno Ferri joined the Tiger football staff in March, 2011.
His first season as a member of the Tigers’ staff was certainly a memorable one. As the Tigers’ running backs coach, he mentored a group that rushed for 229.9 yards per game, a mark that led the Colonial Athletic Association.
He also coached two players who earned All-American notice as fullback Tyler Wharton and running back Terrance West were honored. West, who led NCAA FCS with 29 rushing touchdowns, was named as the winner of the Jerry Rice Award as the top freshman in FCS football.
A member of the Akron staff for six years, Coach Ferri is the Tigers’ Running Backs coach and he will serve as the program’s Recruiting Coordinator. During his years at Akron, he served in four different roles.
“Reno brings a high degree of experience and success to our program in both recruiting and playing at the Division I level,” says Coach Rob Ambrose.
A native of Youngstown, Ohio, Coach Ferri is a 2000 graduate of the United States Military Academy. A three-year letter winner at running back for the Black Knights, he was part of Army’s first team that competed in Conference-USA.
In 1996, he was a member of Army’s nationally-ranked team that posted a 10-2 record and lost to Auburn in the Independence Bowl.
As a senior, he served as one of Coach Bob Sutton’s game captains for the Air Force game.
After earning his Bachelor’s degree in General Management with a minor in Systems Engineering, he started his coaching career at West Point. During the 2000 season, he served as a graduate assistant on the Army coaching staff.
A 1st Lieutenant in the United States Army from May of 2000 to March of 2002, he served as a Fire Direction Officer and a Battalion Survey Officer.
In 2004, he joined Coach J.D. Brookhart’s staff at Akron as a graduate assistant who worked with the offense. In 2005, he was Akron’s Director of Football Operations, overseeing all administrative duties with the staff. During the 2005, he was part of an Akron team that earned a berth in the Motor City Bowl where the Zips lost a 38-31 thriller to Memphis.
He was promoted to Wide Receivers Coach in 2006 and worked with Jabari Arthur, who became an all-league performer, and David Harvey, All-MAC performer and a Freshman All-American.
In 2007, he was named as the Running Backs Coach at Akron, a position he held for three years.
He had an impressive debut as Akron’s Running Backs Coach in 2007. Led by Bryan Williams and Alex Allen, the Zips averaged 127.8 rushing yards per game. Williams, who ran for 728 yards, was named third team All-Mid-American Conference. In MAC games, he was very impressive as he rushed 612 yards and averaged 4.5 yards per carry. Williams and Allen combined to rush for 1,148 yards while averaging 4.5 yards per carry.
In 2008, Allen rushed for 103 yards and scored two touchdowns in Akron’s 42-28 win over Syracuse. However, Allen suffered a season-ending injury in the third game of the season. So, Coach Ferri turned to Dennis Kennedy, who responded with a record-setting season.
Kennedy, who rushed for 1,321 yards, produced the third-best single season rushing total in Akron history. He also set school records with 17 rushing touchdowns and 18 overall TD’s. He had several memorable performances as he rushed for 277 yards and scored three touchdowns in a 42-35 victory over Eastern Michigan. He also ran for 123 yards with four touchdowns in a wild 49-42 loss to Ohio. Kennedy also rushed for 142 yards with three TD’s in a narrow loss to Buffalo.
While coaching at Akron, he worked with some excellent return specialists. In 2006, Harvey led the MAC in kickoff returns and was second in the nation. In 2007, Williams averaged 31.9 yards per kickoff return as he led the MAC and was second nationally. In 2007, he also coached Andre Jones, the top punt return specialist in the MAC with a 14.5 average. In 2008, Williams averaged 29.0 yards per kickoff return to rank second in the MAC and sixth nationally.
During his tenure at Akron, he also served as the program’s Recruiting Coordinator. From 2005 to 2007, Akron landed the Mid-American Conference’s top recruiting classes. The Zips also had three players named as Freshman All-Americas from those three classes.
He spent most of last year as a consultant for British Petroleum working in the Gulf of Mexico. A systems engineer, he and his team designed and implemented a software solution to decontaminate and redeliver 16,000 vessels.’
A graduate of Cardinal Mooney High School in Youngstown, he was a two-sport standout for the football and track teams.
In football, he was a first team All-Ohio selection. He was also named as the Cardinals’ Most Valuable Player and Northeast Ohio Player of the Year.
Reno and his wife, the former Rebekah Hardin, are the parents of four children, including a pair of twins who are infants.