BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Andy Coen, a man who won a program-record 85 games and led the Lehigh football program to five Patriot League championships in 13 seasons as head coach, passed away Friday at the age of 57. Coen guided the Mountain Hawks to an 85- 64 record from 2006 through 2018, when he stepped away from coaching to deal with a diagnosis of Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease.
Lehigh Athletics will pass along additional information as it becomes available.
A fiery and passionate leader who possessed a unique ability to motivate and inspire his student-athletes,
Coen mentored 135 All-Patriot League selections, six Patriot League major award winners, 25 All-America selections, 10 CoSIDA Academic All-District honorees, two CoSIDA Academic All-Americans and 236 Patriot League Academic Honor Roll selections.
Coen’s 85 career victories tied Bill Leckonby for the most in the long and distinguished history of Lehigh football. Under Coen’s leadership, Lehigh won Patriot League championships in 2006, 2010, 2011, 2016 and 2017.
Coen won the Patriot League Coach of the Year honors in 2010 and 2016 and was a three-time finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award, given to the top coach in the Football Championship Subdivision.
Lehigh’s 2011 squad was one of the finest in school history. Under Coen’s leadership the Mountain Hawks won their second straight league title, and after earning a first-round bye, defeated CAA champion Towson 40-38 in the second round of the FCS Playoffs, to secure Lehigh’s first NCAA quarterfinal berth since 2001. Lehigh finished the season ranked fifth nationally and earned the program’s eighth Lambert Cup, given to the top FCS program in the northeast.
In addition to the 2011 Lambert Cup, Coen’s Lehigh teams were twice recognized as ECAC Team of the Year: the 2011 team and the 2016 squad which won its final nine regular season games to claim the program’s 11th Patriot League title.
Coen’s final game and victory as Lehigh’s head coach came against rival Lafayette on Nov. 17, 2018. He went 9-4 in 13 Rivalry games as a head coach, highlighted by a 2017 win that clinched Lehigh’s 12th Patriot League crown and an overtime win in 2009 that denied the Leopards a share of the league title. Of the 11 classes in school history to go 4-0 over their careers against Lafayette, three (2012, 2013 and 2019) did so under Coen’s guidance.
Coen became the 28th head football coach in Lehigh history on January 3, 2006. That announcement marked his return to Lehigh, where he spent six seasons as an offensive line coach – including four as the team’s offensive coordinator. Coen was part of three Patriot League championship teams during his first stint at Lehigh.
A native of Cherry Hill, NJ, Coen was an offensive lineman at Gettysburg College, earning his degree in history in 1986 before embarking on a 30-plus year coaching career that included stops at Minnesota, James Madison, the United Stats Merchant Marine Academy and Penn, in addition two his two stints at Lehigh, which spanned nearly 20 years.
Coen is survived by his wife Laura, daughter Molly and sons Nolan and Finn.