Roar, Lion, Roar: A Celebration of Columbia Football

People > Coaches > Ray Tellier

Football Coach Ray Tellier

Coach Ray Tellier, 2006. Courtesy of Columbia Athletics.

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Ray Tellier, Coach 1989-2002

Arriving from the University of Rochester in January 1989, Ray Tellier rebuilt and revitalized Columbia's football program.

In the 13 years before he arrived, the Lions were 15-107-3 and were only one year removed from a 44-game losing streak. In 1994 the Lions posted their first winning season since 1971. Two years later, in 1996, he led them to an 8-2 record winning the last two games of the season to give the Lions their most successful season in 30 years.  After just seven seasons, Columbia catapulted from last place among the Ivy League teams to second place in 1996. As a result of this achievement, Tellier was voted the Division I-AA National and Regional Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association, becoming only the second Ivy League coach ever voted National Coach of the Year.

After the pinnacle of the 1996 season, fortunes began to change and the Lions failed to post another winning record. In 2002, after 14 years as head coach, Tellier became an assistant athletic director with Columbia Athletics.

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