Pat Cerroni enters his 13th year as UW-Oshkosh’s head football coach after leading the Titans to each of their four NCAA Division III postseason appearances, including trips to the program's first national championship game in 2016, to the semifinals in both the school's playoff debut in 2012 and in 2017, and to the quarterfinal round in 2015.
Cerroni, the 23rd head coach in UW-Oshkosh’s 124-year history, has guided the Titans to a 95-39 record (.709 winning percentage), including marks of 13-1 in 2012, 12-1 in 2017, 11-2 in 2015 and 13-2 in 2016. He became the program’s winningest coach with his 69th victory on Oct. 15, 2016, at UW-Stevens Point.
Last year the Titans finished with a 6-4 record and a third-place 4-3 mark in conference play, completing their eighth consecutive winning season. The Titans produced an eight-year run of winning seasons just once in program history from 1918-25.
The 2017 season included the program's third unbeaten conference title in six years and a trip to the national semifinals. Cerroni's Titans hosted four NCAA postseason contests and concluded the season ranked third in the country after amassing a school-record 36 touchdown passes. Cerroni coached six players to All-America honors in 2017, including Gagliardi Trophy winner Brett Kasper at quarterback. UW-Oshkosh's season-long march to the semifinal round included wins against eighth-ranked John Carroll University (Ohio), ninth-ranked UW-Platteville, ninth-ranked North Central College (Ill.) and 17th-ranked Wartburg College (Iowa) before falling, 43-40, to eventual national champion University of Mount Union (Ohio).
In 2017 Cerroni's Titans listed second in the country with a 189.11 passing efficiency rating. UW-Oshkosh also ranked second nationally in yards per kickoff return (26.56), seventh in first downs (302), and 10th in scoring offense (41.8) and interceptions gained (21).
During UW-Oshkosh’s historic 2016 season, Cerroni coached the Titans to wins against six of their seven opponents that advanced to the NCAA postseason. UW-Oshkosh finished second to defending national runner-up UW-Whitewater in the WIAC standings, but the Titans received an at-large berth into the 32-team field and concluded the season ranked second in the country. UW-Oshkosh's postseason run to the national championship game included home victories over Washington University in St. Louis (Mo.) and Saint John's University (Minn.) before the Titans won at the University of St. Thomas (Minn.) during the quarterfinal round. UW-Oshkosh then secured a home victory over John Carroll University (Ohio) to advance to the title game against top-ranked University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, which edged the Titans by a 10-7 score in a nationally televised game on ESPN from Salem, Va.
In 2016 Cerroni's Titans ranked third nationally in turnovers (43) and interceptions gained (27); fifth in fumbles recovered (16), turnover margin (+1.8) and points allowed per game (12.7); and seventh in passing efficiency defense (93.03).
In 2015 UW-Oshkosh advanced to the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Championship and concluded the season with an 11-2 record. The Titans ended UW-Whitewater's NCAA-leading 36-game winning streak with a 10-7 decision in the regular season and established a WIAC record with 829 yards of offense during a 69-14 rout over UW-Stout.
UW-Oshkosh ceded just six fourth-quarter points during the 2015 campaign while becoming the first team in WIAC history to score 60 or more points three times in a season as quarterback Brett Kasper was named the WIAC Offensive Player of the Year. The Titans set a school record for points in a game with their 86-0 triumph over Finlandia University (Mich.) en route to scoring a program-record 550 points on the season. Defensively, UW-Oshkosh produced four shutouts in the same season for the first time since 1933.
In 2014 Cerroni led UW-Oshkosh to a second-place finish in the WIAC with a 6-1 record. The Titans' sole league loss was at top-ranked and eventual national champion UW-Whitewater.
In 2013 Cerroni coached UW-Oshkosh to wins in its first six games. The Titans peaked at eighth in the national rankings before finishing the season 11th. UW-Oshkosh’s only defeats were by scores of 17-14 to fifth-ranked and eventual NCAA champion UW-Whitewater and 17-16 to 10th-ranked UW-Platteville.
UW-Oshkosh won its first 13 games of the 2012 season before suffering a 28-14 road loss to fourth-ranked University of St. Thomas in the semifinals of the NCAA Championship. The fifth-ranked Titans posted victories over five nationally ranked teams, including wins of 31-24 over third-ranked Linfield College (Ore.), 28-13 over fifth-ranked UW-Whitewater and 34-13 over 14th-ranked UW-Platteville. UW-Oshkosh also captured the WIAC championship that year for its first league title since 1976. A program record seven Titans were named to the D3football.com All-America Team.
In 2011 the Titans went 7-3 and finished second in the WIAC listings. UW-Oshkosh suffered losses that season of 20-17 to top-ranked and eventual national champion UW-Whitewater, 41-17 to second-ranked University of Mount Union (Ohio) and 30-24 (overtime) to UW-La Crosse. Cerroni’s first UW-Oshkosh team in 2007 also went 7-3.
Cerroni was named both the AFCA Region 5 and WIAC Coach of the Year in 2012 and 2015, and WIAC Coach of the Year in 2017. He was also selected the D3football.com West Region Coach of the Year in 2012 and 2017.
Cerroni has coached 47 players to 68 All-WIAC First Team laurels, 42 players to 46 All-Region citations and 17 players to 21 All-America selections. UW-Oshkosh quarterback Brett Kasper, a two-time WIAC Offensive Player of the Year, was named the winner of 2017 Galgiardi Trophy for Division III's most outstanding player. The first Titan to earn the Gagliardi Trophy, Kasper was also the D3football.com Offensive Player of the Year in 2017 and the first team quarterback on the 2017 Associated Press Little All-America Team. Titan quarterback Nate Wara was named the NCAA Division III Offensive Player of the Year in 2012 by D3football.com. Punter Nate Ray was chosen to the NCAA Division II-III, NAIA Little America Second Team in 2014 by the Associated Press.
Cerroni joined the Titans as an assistant coach in 2000. He came to UW-Oshkosh after three seasons as the head coach of Menomonee Falls High School. In 1997, he guided the Indians to a 7-4 record and an upset victory of defending state champion Hartland Arrowhead High School in the first round of the WIAA Division 1 Playoffs.
Prior to Menomonee Falls, Cerroni was an assistant coach at Hartland Arrowhead and Waukesha Catholic Memorial high schools. During Cerroni’s four seasons at Waukesha Catholic Memorial High School, he helped the Crusaders to Wisconsin Independent Schools Athletic Association Division 1 state titles in 1993 and 1996.
Cerroni and his UW-Oshkosh football team have performed several community services projects over the past seven years, including events associated with the Oshkosh Boys & Girls Club, Oshkosh YMCA, Habitat for Humanity, Old Glory Honor Flight, Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament and Feeding America. In 2015, Cerroni received the Excellence In Leadership Award for his work with Be The Match®, a National Marrow Donor Program.
A veteran of the U.S. Air Force (1984-88), Cerroni earned his bachelor's degree from Carroll University in 1992 and his master's from UW-Oshkosh in 2004. The Johnson Creek native was a member of Carroll University's 1988 football team that shared the CCIW title.
Cerroni and his wife, Tammy, are the parents of daughter, Kali, and son, Kyle.