Wareham native Josh Sylvester has been named the new head football coach at UMass Dartmouth.

Sylvester has spent the last 13 seasons as part of the coaching staff at UMD and the past 11 as offensive coordinator under retiring head coach Mark Robichaud.

“I am honored and humbled for the opportunity to be the head football coach at UMass Dartmouth,” said Sylvester. “UMass Dartmouth is a special place, and I will work relentlessly to help our players be successful in the classroom and on the field.”

Sylvester has big shoes to fill coming in after Robichaud, who led the Corsairs to new heights both on and off the field.

“Mark Robichaud’s commitment to his team members’ personal growth and development is the gold standard,” Director of Athletics & Recreation Lori Hendricks said. “I watched him teach and instruct young men not just in the sport of football, but also in the game of life. It is a high bar that has been set for Coach Sylvester and I have no doubt that he will build on Coach Robichaud’s success to write the next chapter of Corsair football.”

Sylvester graduated from Wareham High in 2001, having been a standout fullback for Vikings teams that averaged 7.5 wins during his final two seasons. He was also captain of the varsity basketball team that went 16-0 in the South Coast Conference in his senior season, and played No. 1 singles on the boys tennis team that went 16-4 his senior year, losing only to Bourne.

An “A” student who took six AP courses and ranked in the top 10 percent of his class, Sylvester went on to Babson College, where he received a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 2005.

In 2009, Sylvester returned to Wareham High to resurrect a boys’ tennis program that had gone dormant. That same year, he also joined the Corsairs coaching staff under Robichaud and coached several positional groups, including offensive linemen, running backs, and safeties, before becoming offensive coordinator.

“The architect of UMass Dartmouth’s prolific offensive attack, Sylvester has produced four of the top five scoring seasons and seven of the top eight seasons of total offense in program history,” UMD stated in a press release, noting the Corsairs recently established new single-season marks for passing yards (3,288), passing completion percentage (61.3), passing efficiency (157.1), total offense (5,852), touchdowns (95), all-purpose yards (6,469), and total points scored (449) under Sylvester.

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“I want to commend Coach Mark Robichaud for an incredible career. As we saw just this past season, he elevated not only the UMass Dartmouth Football program but our entire University’s reputation as champions,” said Chancellor Mark A. Fuller. “While Mark will be missed, I am excited to have Josh Sylvester take over as our new head coach. I am confident Coach Sylvester will continue strengthening our program and achieving success.”

Robichaud, the first full-time head coach in program history, guided UMass Dartmouth to an overall record of 70-81 in 16 seasons, including a 25-7 mark over the past three seasons. He is second in wins and winning percentage (.464) in program history. He led the Corsairs to the program’s first Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Championship, advanced to the NCAA Division III playoffs, and won the New England Football Bowl Championship trophy.

“It has been my absolute privilege to serve as the head coach of the UMass Dartmouth football program for the past 16 seasons,” Robichaud said in a release. “The football program is now in great hands as Josh Sylvester takes over. Josh has incredible passion and enthusiasm and will take the program to the next level. The university could not have made a better decision and I know that the staff and the players feel the same way.”

“I want to send a special thank you to Coach Mark Robichaud for his tremendous leadership and support. You are an amazing coach, person, mentor, and friend,” Sylvester said.

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