Steve Tirrell rejoined the Minutemen in 2009 as the squad's Defensive Line Coach and Special Teams Coordinator and is entering his fifth year in this position. Tirrell left UMass in 2007 to become the Associate Head Coach and Defensive Coordintor at Nichols College. He served with the Bison for two seasons under William Carven, the brother of junior UMass defensive back James Carven.
Tirrell spent three seasons with the Minuteman coaching staff as defensive line coach, special teams coach and administrative assistant head coach from 2004-06. Tirrell came to UMass from Northeastern University, where he worked for four seasons under Don Brown.
Tirrell was key part of the UMass staff in 2006 as the Minutemen advanced to the NCAA Championship game. Tirrell tutored many all-conference selections including punter Christian Koegel, placekicker Chris Koepplin and returner Courtney Robinson along with defensive lineman John Hatchell.
In 2005, UMass featured its first A-10 Special Teams Player of the Year in Koegel, who led the league with a 43.0 average as he was also named a Walter Camp First-Team All-American. In his work with the defensive line, Tirrell coached A-10 first-team honoree Keron Williams, who was among the national leaders in tackles for loss of yardage in addition to his big sack total. Williams parlayed his senior season into a training camp invite from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Along with Williams, nose tackle Hatchell emerged as a force on the line as well under Tirrell's tutelage.
In 2004, under his guidance, Williams was named to the A-10 third team as he posted 15.5 tackles for loss. On special teams, Koegel was a second-team A-10 honoree as he finished second in the league in punting average at 41.3, 17th in the nation.
Tirrell spent four years on Don Brown's staff at Northeastern as defensive line coach and special teams coordinator, in addition to adding the title of administrative assistant head coach in 2003. During the 2003 season, Tirrell led a group which ranked second in the Atlantic 10 Conference with 34 sacks on the season, while the defense as a whole surrendered just 338.2 total yards and 18.2 points per contest. During the 2002 season, he helped guide a Husky defense which allowed opponents only 299.3 total yards and 16.0 points per game, while the team posted an overall record of 10-3, won a share of the Atlantic 10 Conference title and made the school's first-ever trip to the NCAA Division I-AA Playoffs. Tirrell was also instrumental in the development of defensive end Steve Anzalone, who earned All-America honors in 2002 after totaling 25 tackles for loss.
Prior to his time at Northeastern, Tirrell served as an assistant coach at Brown University for four seasons. He spent two years as the defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator (1998-1999) on Phil Estes' staff, after serving under Mark Whipple for two seasons as assistant defensive line coach and special teams coordinator (1996-1997). He previously served as an assistant coach at Plymouth State College from 1989-1995.
Tirrell is a 1989 graduate of Plymouth State, where he earned All-ECAC honors as a defensive lineman, while setting school records for career sacks (35) and career safeties (four). He was inducted into the Plymouth State Hall of Fame in 2001.
Tirrell and his wife, Tracey, reside in Belchertown with their sons, Joseph and William.
Tirrell's Collegiate Coaching File
Years School Assignment 1989-95 Plymouth State Defensive Line 1996-97 Brown Def. Line / Special Teams 1998-99 Brown Recruiting Coordinator/Defensive Line 2000-02 Northeastern Def. Line/Special Teams 2003 Northeastern Def. Line/Special Teams/Admin. Asst. Head Coach 2004-2006 Massachusetts Def. Line /Special Teams/Admin. Asst. Head Coach 2007-2008 Nichols Associate Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator 2009 Massachusetts Def. Line /Special Teams