Ivy League Championships
In 2013,enters his 22nd season at Penn and his 19th as quarterbacks coach.
Woods has mentored a string of record-setting quarterbacks since 1995. In all, he has coached the top-six passers in Penn’s 135-year history. Of the nine 2,000-yard single-season passing performances in Penn history, eight have come under Woods.
His most recent protege is three-time Ivy League champion and two-time All-Ivy honoree, Billy Ragone, who posted the fifth-best offensive season in school history with 2,284 total yards in 2011. Ragone ranks in the Top 5 all-time at Penn in career completions, completion percentage, total touchdowns, passing touchdowns, passing yards and all-purpose yards. He is the only Penn player to ever record 1,000 rush yards and 2,000 pass yards in a career.
Penn has been blessed with some great talent at the quarterback position, but it is Woods' ability to teach, develop and prepare each of his signal-callers that has led to the Quakers' unprecedented success over the last 20 seasons. That depth has never been more important than during Penn's recent run of three Ivy League titles in the last four years.
Last season, Penn lost Ragone to injury in the second half of the de facto Ivy League championship game against Harvard (Nov. 10), but backup Andrew Holland was well prepared. Holland helped Penn clinch the Ivy title over the Crimson and then made his first career start in the season finale at Cornell (Nov. 17). En route to clinching the outright league championship, Holland earned Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week honors.
In 2010, Woods guided two underclassmen to a combined 9-1 record and an Ivy title as first-time starting signal-callers. As a sophomore, Ragone was named a finalist for the Ivy League MVP award, earned two Ivy Offensive Player of the Week awards and was named to the All-Ivy first team, while freshmanwon Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors when filling in for Ragone at Bucknell (Oct. 9).
In 2009, for the second straight season, Penn was forced to use four different quarterbacks after losing three starting signal-callers to injury. But the Quakers won the 2009 Ivy League championship, finishing unbeaten in Ivy play—earning Woods the seventh of his nine Ivy championship rings. Three different Quaker quarterbacks started and won a game, while Kyle Olson eventually finished the season undefeated under center (6-0) and went on to earn All-Ivy honors.
A year earlier, after being forced into action, four different Quakers led the Red and Blue to victory from under center. Despite the injuries, the Quakers were able to remain in contention for the Ivy title until the final quarter of the final game.
Woods’ success tutoring the Quakers’ signal callers was never more evident than in the case of Mike Mitchell, as his prodigy was named the 2003 Ivy League Player of the Year. Mitchell passed for a Penn-record 26 touchdowns and the third-most yards in a season (2,470), leading the Quakers to their second-straight Ivy title and third in four years. Mitchell and his classmates ended their careers with an unblemished home record, going 19-0 at Franklin Field, and a 26-2 Ivy League mark. In 2002, Mitchell earned first-team All-Ivy honors and posted the second-best single season by a quarterback in program history with 2,803 passing yards and 20 touchdowns in 2002.
Prior to that, quarterback Gavin Hoffman rewrote the Penn record books in three seasons, setting new marks for single-game, single-season and career records. Hoffman also became Woods’ first NFL product, as the 2000 Ivy League Player of the Year signed a free agent contract with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2002. Before Hoffman, Matt Rader threw for 2,026 passing yards and 172 completions during the 1998 campaign. Mark DeRosa, currently a member of the Toronto Blue Jays Major League Baseball team, was an early star under Woods’ tutelage, passing for 2,053 yards in 1995.
Woods earned his degree at St. John’s in 1982, and began his collegiate coaching career at North Carolina in 1983. Woods arrived at Penn for his first stint as tight ends coach in 1988 before heading to Brown from 1990-93. Woods came back to Franklin Field for good in 1994, resuming his role as wide receivers coach before taking over quarterbacks in 1995.
Woods and his wife, Sally, reside in Bryn Mawr, Pa.
THE WOODS FILE
First Year at Penn 1988