The recent departure of Lords head football coach Chris Monfiletto leaves a hole in leadership for the football team both on and off the field. Although Monfiletto struggled to secure wins for the team, the effort he put in to improve his player’s lives is essential to his legacy at Kenyon.
Monfiletto set up the Kenyon football alumni mentorship program early in his Kenyon tenure as a way to help connect undergraduate Lords football players with football alumni. The program aims for every graduating football player to either have a job lined up or have gotten into one of their top three graduate school choices.
“I met with Kenyon pretty early on in the recruiting process and I learned about the alumni mentorship program,” defensive end Sam Becker ’20 said. “It impressed me so much, to the point where for every other school that I interacted with I asked if they had something similar. None of them did, and [the program] turned out to be a pretty big pull as to why I went to Kenyon.”
The alumni mentorship program has its own webpage that acts like a personal LinkedIn for Kenyon football alumni. The site helps the undergraduate players connect with alumni for advice, leadership and job opportunities.
“That was one of the biggest things [Monfiletto] did for us,” kicker Mamadou Fofana ’21 said. “Leaving that out is like leaving out his legacy at Kenyon.”
Another program that Monfiletto helped pilot and grow was the team’s yearly summer golf outing. Anyone involved in the team, from alumni and coaches to parents and fans, were invited to the event, and, over the near-decade that Monfiletto ran the outing, it went from sparsely-attended to a football calendar staple with over 140 attendees.
Finally, Monfiletto left an impact on the current Kenyon students he helped through trying times. Fofana talked about how Monfiletto helped him through the incident that triggered the anonymous “I Am Not Your N Word” open letter in the spring of 2018.
“Coming into my freshman year, I wasn’t even thinking about playing football until I met with [Monfiletto] last summer,” Fofana said. “He’s pushed me to become a better athlete and a better man. He helped me through my whole situation with the [I Am Not Your N Word] thing. In that time [Monfiletto] was the most influential person to me, not only as a coach but also as an older mentor.”
Last Friday, Monfiletto tweeted out a letter describing the experiences he had at Kenyon. To conclude it, he told a story about Jake Genachowski’s ’15 wedding over the summer, which he attended, and the wide range of career paths he saw in his former players on the dance floor. “They came from various backgrounds and worked in different professions ranging from medicine to politics to business,” Monfiletto wrote. “They were sharing a life-long memory, through a bond that was formed in our football family … to me that dance floor on the night of Jake’s wedding is the best representation of their collective success.”
“I think whoever the new coach is should be very excited,” Fofana said about the culture Monfiletto instilled at Kenyon. “We got 50 guys ready to go to work, and I’m looking forward to it moving forward.”