Joe Trainer will spend his 12th season overall on the Villanova coaching staff in 2017, and his fourth year back with the Wildcats since returning in 2014 for his second stint on the Main Line. Trainer is the team’s Defensive Coordinator and will work with the Villanova linebackers this season. He handles recruiting for Villanova in Philadelphia County (North) and in New Jersey in Burlington, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean counties. Trainer was formerly an assistant coach at Villanova from 1997-04, and was the team’s Defensive Coordinator for the final five years of his first stint on the Main Line. He also has collegiate head coaching experience at Millersville and Rhode Island among his coaching stops.
Last season was one of the most rewarding for Trainer in his time at Villanova, as he coached defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon who went on to be a second round pick in the NFL Draft. Kpassagnon, who was also a consensus first team All-American, was selected as the CAA Football Defensive Player of the Year and was named to the All-CAA first team for the second straight year. He racked up 21.5 tackles for loss and 11.0 sacks in 13 games last season, making 45 tackles overall and adding two fumble recoveries, one forced fumble and a blocked kick. Kpassagnon was chosen by the Kansas City Chiefs with the 59th overall pick in the 2017 draft.
In his first season back at Villanova in 2014, Trainer guided senior nose guard Pat Williams to second team CAA Football All-Conference accolades. Williams had his best season as a senior and finished the 2014 campaign with 36 total tackles, including 12.5 tackles for loss and three sacks. He also had two fumble recoveries, one forced fumble, a blocked kick and four pass breakups on the year. With the selections of Kpassagnon to the All-CAA squad in each of the last two years, Trainer is working with a defensive line that has produced at least one all-conference performer in six consecutive seasons.
Trainer spent five years as the head coach at CAA Football member Rhode Island from 2009-13 before returning to Villanova. He was voted the CAA Coach of the Year in 2010 after leading the Rams to five wins, including a 4-4 record in conference play and four victories over nationally-ranked opponents during the year. Trainer coached 44 players who earned CAA All-Academic Team honors during his five-year tenure, as well as 18 All-CAA honorees and one All-American.
Trainer was also the head coach at Division II Millersville from 2005-07, then spent the 2008 season as Rhode Island’s Defensive Coordinator before being elevated to the head coaching position.
During his first stint at Villanova from 1997-04, Trainer coached numerous players to all-conference acclaim. Three of his defensive standouts were first team All-Atlantic 10 selections in 2003, including defensive end Darrell Adams, linebacker Brian Hulea and safety Raymond Ventrone. Trainer also helped linebacker Shaun Lyons (1996-99) become the second player in program history to record at least 400 career tackles.
Trainer came to the Wildcats in 1997 after serving as Defensive Coordinator at New Haven for two years. He has also coached at Colgate, Frostburg State and Temple. Trainer is a 1990 graduate of Dickinson where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. He earned a Master’s in Education from Temple in 1992 and a Master’s in Counseling and Human Relations from Villanova in 2004.
Trainer and his wife Moreen reside in Glenside, Pa. with their 17-year-old son Liam, 15-year-old son Dillon and 13-year-old daughter Keira.