September 30, 1963 |
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|Northeast Louisiana (GA)
Georgia (asst. HC/OL)
Atlanta Falcons (TE)
|Head coaching record|
Chris Scelfo is an American football coach, who most recently served as the tight ends coach for the Atlanta Falcons. He served as head coach at Tulane from 1998 to 2006, including in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and amassed a 37–57 record. Scelfo is the only Tulane head coach to have won two bowl games. He previously held assistant coaching positions at Marshall and Georgia.
Scelfo was born in Abbeville, Louisiana on September 30, 1963, and later lived in New Iberia, Louisiana, where he attended New Iberia High School. He went on to college at Northeast Louisiana University. He played football in high school and college, and was a three-year letterwinner at both institutions. In college, he also served as the team captain. Scelfo graduated with a bachelor's degree from Northeast Louisiana in 1986 and received a master's degree from there in 1988.
Scelfo gained his first coaching experience as a graduate assistant at his alma mater from 1986 to 1987, and then in the same position at the University of Oklahoma from 1988 to 1989. He then served as the offensive line coach at Marshall University from 1990 to 1995, and also held the position of offensive coordinator in his last three seasons there. Scelfo then spent three seasons at the University of Georgia as its assistant head and offensive line coach.
Tulane University in New Orleans hired Scelfo to replace Tommy Bowden as its 36th coach mid-season on December 7, 1998. The only game he coached that year was the Liberty Bowl, where he led the Green Wave to victory over Brigham Young. With the win, Tulane finished the season with a perfect 12–0 record and the Conference USA championship. In 2002, Scelfo led Tulane to the 2002 Hawai'i Bowl, where they defeated June Jones' high-octane Hawaii Warriors. The Green Wave surprised observers by recovering an onside kick on the first play of the game, and went on to win, 36–28. The victory made Scelfo the only Tulane coach in history with two bowl game wins.
After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in August 2005, the Tulane football team was forced to play all 11 of its games on the road, each in a different city, which may have contributed to the Green Wave's 2–9 record. Ole Miss head coach Ed Orgeron contacted a Tulane assistant about players transferring in the wake of the hurricane. Scelfo accused Ole Miss of tampering and said:
"In the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States, you've got to stoop pretty low to do that. You're lower than dirt ... I'm not going to tolerate that. There's people in our business that don't belong in our business."
After failing to compile a winning season since 2002, Tulane fired Scelfo on November 29, 2006. His final record at Tulane was 37–57. In January 2008, the Atlanta Falcons of the NFL hired Scelfo as its tight ends coach.
Scelfo is married to wife Nancy née Caldwell, with whom he has a son and a daughter. His brother, Frank Scelfo, is a coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars. His nephew, Anthony Scelfo, played as a quarterback at Tulane.
Head coaching record
|Tulane Green Wave (Conference USA) (1998–2006)|
|National championship Conference title Conference division title|
|#Rankings from final Coaches Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.
- Player Bio: Chris Scelfo, Tulane University, retrieved June 27, 2010.
- Tulane Game by Game Results, College Football Data Warehouse, retrieved June 27, 2010.
- Mel Kiper, Can Tulane slow high-octane Hawaii?, ESPN, December 25, 2002.
- FOOTBALL: COLLEGE ROUNDUP; All-Around Effort Helps Pitt Stop Oregon State, The New York Times, December 27, 2002.
- Tulane's rebuilding in football to go on without Scelfo, ESPN, November 29, 2006.
- Orgeron defends conversation with Tulane aide; Mississippi coach discussed possible transfers from New Orleans school, MSNBC, November 28, 2005.
- Ole Miss' Ed Orgeron defends conversation with Tulane coach about possible transfers, The Tuscaloosa News, November 29, 2005.
- Tulane at end of the road; Katrina forced Green Wave into 11-stadium fall tour, The Dallas Morning News, November 25, 2005.
- INSIGHT BID ENDS RUTGERS' DROUGHT, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, November 29, 2005.
- All-Time Coaching Records By Year, College Football Data Warehouse, retrieved June 27, 2010.
- Falcons hire Scelfo to coach tight ends, Sporting News, January 30, 2008.
- Spring wrapup: Taking stock of football landscape, USA Today, May 10, 2007.