Fresh off his team’s best finish in the Ivy League since he was hired as the then-youngest Division I college football coach in 2013, Cornell football head coach David Archer ’05 has signed his second contract extension, the Cornell Athletics Department announced Monday afternoon.
The extension, which the Athletics Department told The Sun was signed “some time ago,” will include “additional performance-based incentives,” per the official release. The Athletics Department declined to comment on the specifics of the extension, though Archer told The Sun before the 2016 season that he had signed a first extension earlier that summer.
Since Archer took the helm five years ago, Cornell has amassed a 12-38 record, including a 9-26 mark in the Ivy League.
“I am enthusiastic that Coach Archer will continue to lead our football program into the future,” Athletic Director Andy Noel said in the press release. “David’s plan to rebuild our Big Red football from the ground up has gained momentum with Ivy wins this past season over Harvard, Brown and Princeton. He has my full support.”
“Coach Archer’s tenure has embodied the values of Cornell and the Ivy League by promoting a holistic student-athlete experience,” added Ryan Lombardi, vice president for student and campus life. “I am pleased at the progress that is being made on the field as well as the positive culture that he has established in the program and among the student-athletes. I am pleased that David will continue to lead our program and build upon the progress that has been made.”
This past season, Archer’s most successful in Ivy play since he was named head coach of his alma mater, was marked by upset victories and a run that fell short of an Ivy title. Cornell’s three wins on the year were over preseason No. 1’s Harvard and Princeton, as well as a Homecoming thrashing of Brown.
Cornell was in contention for a conference title until the second-to-last week of play, but a loss to Columbia stymied the Red’s hopes for at least a share of its first crown since 1990. The next weekend, a season-finale loss to Penn prevented Cornell its first winning Ivy record since 2005.
Unable to notch any out-of-conference victories, Cornell finished the 2017 season 3-7 — one win less than the preceding year’s 4-6 record and the same overall record as Archer’s first season. The 2017 mark comes two years after two-straight 1-9 seasons in both Archer’s second and third seasons at the helm.
“Building a program takes time, and never goes as fast as any of us would like, but the fact is we are making huge progress,” Archer said in a Feb. 8 letter to the Cornell Football Association. “… This year was the first meaningful week 9 game for Cornell Football in 17 years. … [Our] program is here, and we will compete for a championship again in 2018!”
As the youngest coach in Divison I college football at the time of his hiring and someone who has “been in our shoes, literally,” according to running back Jack Gellatly ’18, Archer has always had with his student-athletes something they describe as a special type of bond.
“It’s really different having a younger coach like Coach Archer because you definitely have a lot better relationship than you would with someone with a bigger age gap,” safety Nick Gesualdi ’18 said before the 2017 season. “He’s running around, he’s hooting and hollering. He just keeps up pumped up. I love playing for him and I respect everything that he says.”
As a student, Archer was an offensive lineman for the Red and a team captain in 2004. Two years later, Archer was hired as an assistant coach at Fairleigh Dickinson for one season and then came to Cornell as an assistant the following year. In addition to spearheading the program’s recruiting efforts, Archer worked with the fullbacks, tight ends, running backs, offensive line and linebackers across his six years as an assistant.
Adam Bronfin ’18 contributed to this report.