Villanova defeated Stony Brook, 35-6, in its season home opener on September 21, 2013.
Entering his 20th season as a member of the Wildcat coaching staff and 16th as the team's Offensive Coordinator is Sam Venuto. In his 15 years as Offensive Coordinator, the Wildcats have averaged 29.6 points per game. Besides handling the Offensive Coordinator duties, Venuto also coaches the Villanova quarterbacks. During his first four seasons on the Main Line, Venuto coached the Villanova wide receivers.
Venuto primarily recruits Central Pennsylvania, including Harrisburg and Williamsport.
During the 2013 season, the Villanova offense averaged 30.6 points per game and 433.5 yards of total offense per contest, including 250.9 rushing yards per game. The 30.6 points per game ranked fourth in the CAA, while the 250.9 rushing yards led the conference and ranked ninth nationally. Under Venuto's direction last year, sophomore quarterback John Robertson threw for 1,957 yards and rushed for 1,405 yards en route to being a second team All-CAA selection. Robertson also finished ninth in the Walter Payton Award balloting.
In 2012, Venuto helped Robertson earn national recognition as he became just the fifth Wildcat in school history and the first quarterback to rush for 1,000 yards when he ran for 1,021 yards and 14 scores. He also completed 152-of-253 passes for 1,965 yards and 14 touchdowns. For his efforts in 2012, Robertson won the Jerry Rice Award which is given to the top freshman in FCS football. In addition, he earned the CAA and ECAC offensive Rookie of the Year awards and was a third team All-CAA honoree.
In 2009, Venuto's offense led the CAA in three different offensive categories, including scoring offense (30.8 ppg.), rushing offense (194.9 yards per game) and passing efficiency (149.9). Also, that year, Venuto coached his third Wildcat signal caller to first team All-Conference honors when junior quarterback Chris Whitney earned first team All-CAA accolades. In 2010 as a senior, Whitney earned All-Conference acclaim for the second straight season when he was a second team All-CAA selection. In Venuto's offensive scheme in 2010, five different Wildcat players were named to an All-Conference team. Highlighting the list was junior wide receiver Norman White who had a breakout year that saw him earn first team All-CAA accolades.
During the 2009 campaign, Venuto led seven players to All-CAA distinction. The offensive headliner in 2009 was Matt Szczur who was named the CAA Offensive Player of the Year, becoming the fourth player to earn conference player of the year honors under Venuto's guidance.
In 2002, Venuto helped guide quarterback Brett Gordon to a season that saw him earn both the Atlantic 10 and ECAC Offensive Player of the Year Awards and a second place finish in the Walter Payton Award balloting. The Payton Award is given to the top player in NCAA FCS (formerly Division I-AA football). In 15 games in 2002, Gordon completed 386-of-579 for a school record 4,290 yards and 36 touchdowns. The passing yards represent the first player in school history to reach the 4,000-yard plateau.
In 2001, Venuto helped senior running back Brian Westbrook earn the Walter Payton Award as Westbrook amassed 2,823 yards of all-purpose offense in Venuto's offensive scheme. He is the second Wildcat to win the Walter Payton Award under Venuto's direction. As the team's receiver coach in 1997, Venuto guided wideout Brian Finneran to numerous awards including ECAC Offensive Player of the Year, Atlantic 10 Offensive Player of the Year and the Walter Payton Award. Finneran tallied 96 receptions for a school-best 1,389 yards and a school-record 19 touch-downs as a senior en route to becoming the all-time leading receiver in Villanova school history.
He was also very instrumental in helping quarterback Chris Boden earn first team All-Conference honors for the second time in his career during the 1999 campaign.
Venuto has a wealth of coaching experience. Before Villanova, he was the tight ends coach and the head junior varsity coach at Cornell University. From 1989-1993, Venuto was the passing game coordinator and receivers coach at Southern Illinois University. During the 1988 season, he was the assistant quarterback coach and receivers coach at the University of Illinois. Venuto spent three seasons (1985-87) as James Madison's quarterbacks coach and one year (1984) as the linebackers coach at Colby College. His coaching career began in 1982, when Venuto was the freshman offensive line and linebacker coach at his alma mater, the University of Delaware.
While at Delaware, Venuto was a linebacker for the Blue Hens and was a member of the 1979 National Championship team. Venuto owns a Bachelor's Degree in Physical Education from Delaware and a Master's Degree in Education from James Madison.
Venuto and his wife, Diane, reside in Collegeville, Pa. with their 18-year-old daughter Amanda, and 16-year-old son, Ricky. Amanda is currently a freshman at the University of Delaware.