College Football

NCAA Football: Mora Announces Four Additions to UConn Football Coaching Staff


STORRS, Conn. – UConn head football coach Jim Mora has finalized the addition of four members to his staff, as announced on Sunday.  John Allen, E.J. Barthel, Siriki Diabate, and John Marinelli have joined the UConn football program pending the successful completion of the university employee onboarding process.

Allen will join the coaching staff as the wide receivers coach/passing game coordinator, Barthel is the Huskies’ new running backs coach, Diabate has been named as the linebackers coach, and Marinelli joins the program as the tight ends coach.

Mora also announced that members of the 2021 coaching staff will not be retained.


John Allen
Wide Receivers | Passing Game Coordinator

Allen spent the 2020 and 2021 seasons coaching the outside receivers for head coach Skip Holtz at Louisiana Tech.

“To find a coach with more experience than John Allen would be a difficult task, and I’m thrilled that he will be joining the UConn football family,” Mora said.  “John is an excellent recruiter who knows the commitment it takes to be successful at this level.  John’s knowledge of the game and coaching acumen will make an immediate impact on the young men in our program and I know he is going to hit the ground running.”

In 2021 La. Tech outside wide receivers, led by C-USA Freshman of the Year candidate Tre Harris, have amassed over 1,500 yards and 10 touchdowns.

During the 2020 season, La. Tech wideout Adrian Hardy caught 33 passes for 440 yards and Allen helped the Bulldogs tally 2,166 total receiving yards in 10 games.

Prior to his time in Ruston, Allen spent two seasons as the wide receivers coach at Old Dominion.

“I want to thank Coach Mora for this incredible opportunity to join the Husky Family,” Allen said. “I’m looking forward to joining this wonderful community.”

In 2018, ODU wide receivers Jonathan Duhart and Travis Fulgham became the first two receivers to record 1,000 receiving yards in the same season in program history.  Fulgham led C-USA in receiving yards per game with 90.2, while Duhart finished third in the league with 87.1 yards per contest.

Duhart finished second in the league in receptions with 74, while Fulgham placed ninth with 63, and both found the end zone nine times. Isaiah Harper also posted 55 catches in 2018, marking the second time in school history that three receivers totaled at least 55 receptions.

All three players, Duhart, Fulgham and Harper played in postseason all-star games. Fulgham joined defensive end Oshane Ximines as the first ODU players to play in the Reese’s Senior Bowl, Duhart played in the East-West Shrine Game, and Harper Played in the Spiral Tropical Bowl.

Prior to his time in Norfolk, Allen spent three seasons as the offensive coordinator at Delaware State and his 2016 squad registered its best league ranking on offense in eight years.

Prior to joining Delaware State, Allen was the head coach at Division II Lock Haven (PA) for four seasons. He helped the Bald Eagles snap a 52-game losing streak, the longest in Division II, and in 2013 led the team to its most wins in 10 years.

Before accepting the head coaching position at Lock Haven, Allen spent four years as the player development coordinator at nearby Penn State, and was in NFL Europe for four years, three as the offensive coordinator of the Amsterdam Admirals, and one as the head coach of the Berlin Thunder.

Allen began his coaching career at Lock Haven, working in various positions for eight years. He spent time coaching the wide receivers, quarterbacks and as offensive coordinator.  He also served as the defensive backs coach, special teams coach, and recruiting coordinator.

He also spent one season coaching the wide receivers at Bucknell.

Allen was a three-year starter at wide receiver and team captain at James Madison, where he played from 1991-94.

E.J. Barthel
Running Backs Coach

E.J. Barthel, who competed on the gridiron for Rutgers and UMass, and spent the previous two seasons as a coaching assistant for the Carolina Panthers joins Jim Mora’s staff as the running backs coach.

“E.J. fought through a lot of injuries during his time as a student-athlete, and the success he has achieved over the last seven years in coaching is evidence of his high character,” Mora said.  “E.J. will be a great role model and teacher for our student-athletes and is an unrelenting recruiter.  I’m excited to welcome E.J. to the UConn football family.”

During his time in Carolina, Barthel assisted specifically with coaching the running backs and offensive line, while spending time in the pro personnel department.

Prior to his time with the Panthers, Barthel served as the recruiting coordinator/running backs coach for William & Mary during the 2019 season and coached the running backs at Howard in 2018, and at Albany in 2017.

Barthel made an immediate impact on the running game during his time at William & Mary as the team’s rushing yards increased from 827 in 2018 to 1,950 in 2019.  Yards per carry improved from 3.03 to 4.65, and William & Mary ran for 18 TD’s in 2019 after rushing for only three in 2018.

“I am extremely excited to join the Husky community and it’s outstanding tradition of developing successful student-athletes both on and off the field,” Barthel said.  “I have been fortunate to learn from some of the best coaches in the profession and am excited to continue that here at UConn. Coach Mora’s reputation in the sport of football is second to none; I am humbled to work and grow under his leadership as a part of the Husky family.”

During Barthel’s time with the Bison in 2018, Howard led the MEAC in rushing yards per game (192.8) and he developed freshman walk-on running back Dedrick Parsons into the league’s Rookie of the Year.

In 2016, Barthel was on staff at Penn State as the recruiting coordinator and came to State College from Temple, where he was the director of player personnel during the 2015 season.  Barthel comes to the Huskies as a proven recruiter, as he helped PSU sign the nation’s fifth-highest rated recruiting class.

Siriki Diabate
Linebackers Coach

Diabate comes to Storrs after spending the last five seasons as the linebackers coach at Middle Tennessee.

Since joining Middle Tennessee in 2017 Diabate has coached in a pair of bowl games and has helped linebacker DQ Thomas develop into a player who ranks fourth in school history in sacks and second in tackles for loss.  Diabate also coached All-CUSA Second Team performer Khalil Brooks and Camellia Bowl MVP Darius Harris.

“Siriki is an outstanding coach who has a tremendous track record of developing student-athletes into excellent college players,” Mora said.  “He is a tireless recruiter who understands firsthand the challenges that student-athletes face, and I know our young men will benefit greatly from his mentorship.”

Prior to his time in Murfreesboro, Diabate spent the 2017 season as a defensive analyst, focusing on the secondary, and coached the safeties at Colgate from 2015-16.  A native of the Bronx, Diabate helped Colgate capture the 2015 Patriot League Championship on the strength of the nation’s top-ranked rushing defense.

During the offseason, he participated in the NFL’s Minority Internship Program, spending time at training camps for the Buffalo Bill and the Dallas Cowboys.

“I want to share my gratitude with coach Mora for his belief in me. I am thankful and appreciative of this opportunity,” Diabate said. “I am excited to get going and to work alongside the University of Connecticut family and to actualize this shared vision of success.  I would be remiss if I did not thank Middle Tennessee State Coach Rick Stockstill for giving me the platform to grow as a young coach, and to Coach Scott Shafer for his unwavering belief, loyalty and trust.  I would also like to thank all the players and coaches that helped prepare me for this opportunity. Without them none of this would be possible.”

Before his time at Colgate, Diabate served as a graduate assistant for Syracuse from 2013-15.

Diabate earned his bachelor’s degree in economics in 2013 and his master’s degree in 2015, from Syracuse University where he competed on the gridiron from 2011-13.  During his time at Syracuse, the Orange won the 2012 BIG EAST Championship and he was selected as a co-captain.

John Marinelli
Tight Ends Coach

Marinelli, the son of legendary New Canaan High School football coach Lou Marinelli, comes to UConn after spending the 2021 season as a senior analyst at the University of Illinois where he worked with head coach Bret Bielema on special projects including analytics and situational strategy development.

“I’m excited to welcome John Marinelli to the UConn football family,” Mora said.  “John has deep ties to the state of Connecticut, and it is imperative that we keep the best talent in our backyard right here in the Nutmeg State.  He’s an excellent coach and I know the young men in our program will benefit from his presence.”

Prior to his time with the Illini, Marinelli served as an analyst at the University of Arizona for two seasons.

“I’m excited to join the UConn Football family under Coach Mora’s leadership,” Marinelli said.  “Coach Mora is a proven head coach with great experience in both the NFL and college football, and I’m excited to be able to learn from him every day and help build this program back to where it belongs.”

Marinelli started his coaching career in the high school ranks, where he won multiple state titles in Connecticut. He was a two-time state champion player, then assistant coach, under his father at New Canaan before taking over as head coach at Greenwich. Marinelli’s Greenwich teams went 36-10 in four seasons, including a 13-0 season in 2018 that ended in a 34-0 state title victory over New Canaan for the Class LL championship. Following the season, he was awarded the 2018 USA TODAY Connecticut Coach of the Year.

Marinelli started his collegiate playing career at Fordham before transferring to Trinity (Conn.). He was a three-year starter and two-time all-conference selection for Trinity, leading the team to a conference championship in 2008.

Marinelli and his wife Anna, have one child, Luke, born in April of 2021.

Recommended for you