Football Coaching Staff
Paul Ferraro
Defensive Coordinator/Assistant Head Coach
Coach Info:
Position: Defensive Coordinator/Assistant Head Coach
Hometown: Ridgewood, N.J.
High School: Ridgewood H.S.
Alma Mater: Springfield College
Graduating Year: 1982
Experience: 3 Years
Phone: 212-854-7115

Recruiting Areas – New York (Duchess, Orange and South), Ohio, Kentucky.


With over 30 years of coaching experience at the highest levels of football, Paul Ferraro joined the Columbia Football Program in March 2015 as its Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator. Prior to Columbia, Ferraro spent the previous two seasons at Maine and was on National Football League coaching staffs from 2005-11.


In three years at Columbia, Ferraro's impact has been felt immediately on the defensive side of the ball. In his third season in 2017, Columbia’s defense was a major factor in the Lions finishing 8-2 overall and in second place in the Ivy League with a 5-2 record. Once again, Columbia ranked among national leaders in a variety of defensive statistics including scoring defense (No. 14, 17.5), red zone defense (No. 11, 69 percent), team passing efficiency defense (No. 16) and third down defensive efficiency percentage (No. 14, 31 percent). Four Lions earned All-Ivy League honors including defensive lineman Lord Hyeamang (First Team), cornerback Cameron Roane (First Team), safety Landon Baty (Second Team) and linebacker Michael Murphy (honorable mention).


His second season at Columbia saw the Lions’ defense rank among the nation’s best in several statistical categories including third down conversion defense (No. 5, 29.3), first downs defense (No. 7, 177.0) and team tackles for loss (No. 14, 7.6 per game). In addition, the Lions also finished No. 39 in total defense and No. 43 in scoring defense (24.7 points per game allowed). Four defensive players earned All-Ivy League honors including middle linebacker Gianmarco Rea, who led the league in tackles, safety Brock Kenyon, defensive back Cameron Roane and defensive lineman Lord Hyeamang.


In his first year at Columbia, the Lions made the biggest leap in the FCS, going from No. 115 in total defense the year before, to No. 8 at 291.1 yards allowed per game in 2015. The Lions kept points off the scoreboard, allowing just 19.8 points a game, which ranked as the No. 17 best tally in the country. Columbia held opponents to 13 points or less four times, as five defensive players earned All-Ivy League honors, led by defensive linemen Toba Akinleye (first team), Niko Padilla (second team) and Chad Washington (second team).


Prior to his tenure at Columbia, Ferraro served two years as the defensive coordinator at Maine. In 2012, his Black Bear team led the Colonial Athletic Association in scoring defense, before he helped lead the squad to a CAA Championship and an FCS playoff appearance in 2013.


Ferraro made his NFL debut in 2005 as the Carolina Panthers' assistant special teams coach. He then took over the special teams coordinator position with the Minnesota Vikings from 2006-08, and led the linebackers with the St. Louis Rams from 2009-11.


Ferraro jumped to the NFL after working as Rutgers' defensive coordinator from 2001-04, as the Scarlet Knights led the Big East in sacks, takeaways and third-down defense in 2004.


In his two seasons as the defensive backs coach at Georgia Tech, the Yellow Jackets went 8-4 in 1999 and faced Miami in the Gator Bowl. The next year, they posted a 9-3 mark and advanced to take on LSU in the Peach Bowl.


From 1991-98, Ferraro nestled down in Northwest Ohio as Bowling Green's defensive coordinator. The Falcons claimed the 1991 and 1992 Mid-American Conference titles, while also topping Fresno State in the 1991 California Bowl and then Nevada in the 1992 Las Vegas Bowl.


Ferraro earned his start in coaching as a graduate assistant at UMass in 1982. Before joining the staff at Bowling Green, he served stints at Syracuse (1983), Villanova (1984-86), Dartmouth (1987), Catholic University (1988), the first of two stops at Maine (1989) and Ohio (1990).


A 1982 graduate from Springfield College, Ferraro was an All-New England defensive back his senior year in 1981. He went on to receive his master's degree at Syracuse.


Ferraro is a native of Ridgewood, N.J.



Birthdate: April 30, 1959

Hometown: Ridgewood, N.J.



Bachelor of Arts, Springfield College, 1982; Masters degree, Syracuse University, 1986, Ridgewood High School, 1977.


Coaching Career

Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator, Columbia University, 2015-current

Defensive Coordinator, University of Maine, 2012-13

Linebackers Coach, St. Louis Rams, 2009-11

Special Teams Coordinator, Minnesota Vikings, 2006-08

Assistant Special Teams Coach, Carolina Panthers, 2005

Defensive Coordinator, Rutgers University, 2001-04

Defensive Backs Coach, Georgia Tech, 1999-2000

Defensive Coordinator, Bowling Green State University, 1991-98

Linebackers Coach, Ohio University, 1990

Linebackers Coach, University of Maine, 1989

Assistant Head Coach, Assistant Athletic Director, Catholic University, 1988

Defensive Coordinator, Dartmouth University, 1987

Defensive Coordinator, Villanova University, 1984-86

Graduate Assistant, Syracuse University, 1983

Graduate Assistant, University of Massachusetts, 1982


Playing Career

Four-year letterman at defensive back at NCAA Division III Springfield (1979-82) … All-East selection … Inducted into the Ridgewood High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006 … Awarded Ridgewood’s Outstanding Senior Athlete award … Acknowledged as one of the greatest two-way football players in the school’s history … First Team All-Decade linebacker by the Record … Two-time First Team All-County, All-Suburban and All-NNJIL All-Star … First-ever single-season 1,000-yard rusher in school history and held the single-season rushing record of 1,079 yards (9 GP) for 28 years … His father Mario is also inducted into the Ridgewood Athletic Hall of Fame.