Assistant Coach Dave Wissman returns for his seventh season as a member of the Sacred Heart coaching staff for the 2015 season. Wissman will also begin his fifth season as the Pioneers' defensive coordinator. Wissman helped lead the Pioneers to the 2013 and 2014 Northeast Conference Championships, and the program's second consecutive berth into the FCS Playoffs.
The Sacred Heart defense finished 2014 ranked eighth in the FCS National Rankings. The Pioneers ranked number one in the nation in two categories: Red Zone Defense and 4th Down Defense. All told, the SHU defense ranked in the top-10 in 10 total defense categories, including third in rushing defense, allowing only 86.3 yards per game to opponents on the ground. Sacred Heart was second in the nation in 3rd Down Defense (.263), fourth in interceptions (20, fifth in 1st Down Defense (175), sixth in sacks (3.33/game) and 10th in scoring defense (18.8/game). Sacred Heart also averaged 8.3 tackles for loss a game, ranking 11th nationally.
The Pioneer defense was well represented in the postseason award announcements as a result, with a program-best seven All-NEC honorees. For the second year in a row, SHU had a defense player earn All-America status, when Gordon Hill was tabbed Second Team All-America by Sports Network. Hill, and Troy Moore, both earned All-New England accolades in 2014 and along with James Rentz comprised three First-Team All-NEC selections.
Under Coach Wissman, the 2013 Sacred Heart defense was outstanding, leading the NEC in both scoring defense and total defense. They also led the conference in sacks (42), tackles for loss (128), and rushing defense (112.0 yds/gm).
Not only dominant on the conference-level, the Pioneers led the nation in interceptions (23), total takeaways (39), and ranked second in the country with 128 tackles for loss. Of all teams that earned berths into the FCS playoffs, the Pioneers ranked first in total defense.
Wissman's defense earned five All-Northeast Conference selections following the Pioneers NEC Championship in 2013 and included two All-America selections in junior defensive tackle Troy Moore and senior defensive back J.D Roussel.
Wissman will work with the Pioneer outside/inside linebackers this fall.
Wissman came to Sacred Heart after a serving as the head coach, Assistant Athletic Director and a Studio Art teacher while at the Berkshire School in Sheffield, Massachusetts.
Wissman was the head coach at Berkshire from 2005 through 2007 and was the defensive coordinator at the Northfield Mount Hermon School in Northfield, Massachusetts for five seasons prior to that. He has had collegiate coaching stops at Colgate University and Brown University, both as a linebackers coach.
He had a standout player career at the University of New Hampshire where he was named the Defensive Team Captain and received the Coaches MVP Award. Wissman was also a Yankee Conference first team selection as a strong safety. Wissman also still holds various records, as a punt returner, at UNH.
A native of rural Western Massachusetts, he currently resides in Vermont with his wife (Mary), their 3 sons, two dogs and 14 chickens. When the game isn’t calling, he can be found (or not) hunting and fishing throughout northern New England and also pursuing his passions as an artist.