CWRU Football Preview Week: Coaching Staff Announced

CWRU Football Preview Week: Coaching Staff Announced

From Monday, July 31 through Thursday, August 3, we will be previewing the 2017 Case Western Reserve University football season on, including PAC Media Day on Wednesday, August 2, in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, where Head Coach Greg Debeljak and senior quarterback Rob Cuda will be representing the Spartans.  Fans can watch PAC Media Day live via coverage on the PAC Sports network at

Case Western Reserve University Head Football Coach Greg Debeljak has announced his coaching staff for the upcoming 2017 season, which will consist of six returning coaches and four newcomers to the staff.

New coaches added to the staff for the 2017 campaign include Kevin Burke (running backs), Anthony Cicione (safeties), Micah Johnson (wide receivers) and Jake Schaefer (quarterbacks).

Burke gained notoriety across the Division III level as the quarterback for the University of Mount Union, where he was a three-time All-American and the first-ever two-time Gagliardi Trophy winner, awarded to the best D-III football player each year, weighing in athletics, academics and community service.  He led his team to the National Championship game each season as a starter, winning the title in 2012, and compiled an overall record of 43-2.  Since graduating from Mount Union in December 2015 with a major in Business Administration, he has served as an Assistant Coach at his alma mater for the last two seasons, while also playing in the Austrian Football League, where he recently led the Vienna Vikings to the league's championship, earning Most Valuable Player honors in the title game.

Cicione was a defensive back in college, starting his career and earning an All-Ohio Athletic Conference honor at Capital University, before finishing his career at John Carroll University.  He played in nine games his senior season for the team that reached the NCAA semifinals, recording an interception against Otterbein.  Cicione also worked as an assistant coach at St. Vincent St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio from 2014-15.  He will graduate from John Carroll with a major in Sports Studies and Coaching & Recreation in December of 2017.

Johnson, a former NFL wide receiver for the Atlanta Falcons, Cincinnati Bengals, and San Francisco 49ers from 2007-09, most recently served as the Head Coach at Joy Christian High School in Glendale, Arizona from 2014-16, going undefeated and winning two state championships.  Prior to that, he was an Assistant Coach for quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends at NCAA D-III Grinnell College, helping to guide an offense that ranked in the top-10 in passing three years from 2010-13.  In addition to his time in the NFL, Johnson also played in the Canadian Football League as a wide receiver for the BC Lions.  He graduated from South Dakota State University as a Biology major in 2007, where he was an all-conference receiver.

Schaefer comes to Case Western Reserve after a stint as a player/coach and team captain of the Munich Cowboys of the German Football League.  While there, he assisted in weekly game planning, in addition to serving as the co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach of a U-19 football team.  Schaefer also worked at his alma mater, John Carroll University, as the assistant quarterbacks coach.  He was a four-year member of the football team at John Carroll from 2012-15, starting at quarterback for the Blue Streaks and serving as a team captain during his senior year.  Schaefer graduated from John Carroll in May 2017 with a degree in Forensic Psychology.

Returning coaches for 2017 include Derek Slesh, who will begin his 18th season at CWRU and his 14th as the team's offensive coordinator, Warren Miller, who will be starting his third year as the team's defensive coordinator and fifth overall with the Spartans, and Ben Lolli, who is now in his second year as Special Teams Coordinator and Defensive Backs coach, and his fourth overall at CWRU.  Mark Murray (offensive line), Conor Reilly (defensive line) and Jim Stephens (outside linebackers) will each be returning for their second year with the program.

The staff will be guiding a CWRU squad that features 107 players, including 61 returners and 46 newcomers, and finished the 2016 season with a 9-1 overall record.

The Spartans will open their 2017 campaign on Saturday, September 2 at the University of Chicago.

2017 Football Preview Week Schedule on

Monday: Coaching Staff Announced | Fall Sports Schedule Poster Revealed
Tuesday: Football Season Preview
Wednesday: PAC Media Day webcast (Head Coach Greg Debeljak & Senior QB Rob Cuda at approx.. 1:35 PM)

Thursday: Media Guide Available Online