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Football: Riordan named Kingsmen head coach

Penn defensive coordinator Pete Riordan named head coach for Kingsmen Football

Penn High School football players learned in a “surprise introduction” during an early morning team meeting that Pete Riordan would be their new head coach! The announcement came in the locker room of the Chris Geesman Kingsmen Athletic Center on Wednesday, March 20, 2024. Riordan has been an assistant coach on the Kingsmen Football staff for 20 years (most recently serving as Defensive Coordinator). Riordan will be the seventh head coach of the Kingsmen Football Team.

It was important for Coach Riordan to talk to his players first this morning before making a public announcement. A news conference with the media is scheduled for 2:00 o’clock this afternoon.

Taking over one of Indiana’s elite Football programs, Riordan replaces Cory Yeoman, who recently retired as the Penn Football Head Coach. Penn finished the 2023 season with a 10-2 record, winning Sectional and Northern Indiana Conference Championships. Riordan has coached in four State Championship Football games as an assistant with the Kingsmen (2003, 2011, 2015 and 2017), with Penn earning a State Runner-up finish in those seasons.

Pete Riordan coaching

Riordan started his teaching career at Penn High School in 2000. He relocated to Indianapolis from 2007-2009 while his wife was in residency as a physician. During this time, Coach Riordan served as assistant coach at Ben Davis for three seasons (2007-2009), the last two seasons as the Giants’ defensive coordinator.

Penn AD Jeff Hart was in on the planning of this morning’s surprise for the players.

“Coach Riordan brings a proven track record of elite success to this role, both on and off the field,” Hart said. “A state champion as a high school student-athlete, and two decades of coaching while being mentored by Hall of Fame coaches at both Penn and Ben Davis have shaped him for this moment.”

Riordan also teaches Economics, Advanced Placement Economics and ACP Business at Penn High School. He was recently named a teacher Impact Award winner by the Penn-Harris-Madison School Corporation for helping his students increase their test scores on their AP exams by as much as 20%. Click here for more information.

Pete Riordan, PHM Teacher Impact Award winner (2-29-24)

Pete Riordan, PHM Teacher Impact Award winner (Feb. 29, 2024)

“He has a teacher’s heart and his high character leadership in the classroom and on the field fits our culture perfectly,” Hart said. “I can’t wait to see where his positive vision takes the program.”

Riordan is excited about the opportunity to lead one of Indiana’s elite Football programs.

“It is humbling and an incredible honor to be chosen to continue the success and tradition of the Long Black Line as the next Head Coach at Penn,” Riordan said. “While it is a great responsibility, it is one that I am thrilled to undertake.

“The Penn Football Program has always been a family that has supported each other,” Riordan added. “The coaches, their wives and families, the administration and boosters have always had great camaraderie and that is one of the things that helps make Penn Football such a special program.”  

Riordan is grateful to the Penn-Harris-Madison leadership for the opportunity to lead the Penn Football Program.

“I would like to thank Coach Cory (Yeoman), Coach Geesman, and all of the great Penn assistant coaches for helping me get to this point,” Riordan said. “Additionally, the support of the Penn Athletic Department led by Jeff Hart, the school Administration led by Dr. Galiher and the corporation’s leadership from Dr. Thacker and Dr. Leniski has been tremendous and I look forward to this opportunity.”

Coach Riordan and his wife, Nicole (Penn Class of 1999) have two daughters who attend P-H-M schools.

Riordan owns a state championship legacy. He played on the 1995 South Bend St. Joseph State Championship Football Team and was a three-year starter. Riordan also played one year of Football at Wabash College. He earned a B.A. from Wabash and earned an MBA in Finance from Indiana University South Bend.

Riordan credited his high school coach, Frank Amato, for teaching love and respect for the game of Football. He also credited former Penn Defensive Coordinator Don Monhaut for teaching the details and preparation of game-planning, and credited former Penn Head Coach Cory Yeoman for his unbelievable passion for the game.

Riordan embraces the standards of excellence that are at the foundation of Kingsmen Football.

“I look to continue the traditions and improve on the successes that have made Penn a premier program in the state,” Riordan said. “The staff and I will continue to evolve without losing sight of what makes Penn such a special place.” 

Yeoman leaves Penn after 21 seasons as the head coach. He compiled a record of 208-56, winning four Semi-state championships, nine Regional championships, 13 Sectional championships and 17 Northern Indiana Conference championships. Click here for more information on Coach Yeoman.

Prior to Yeoman’s tenure as the Penn Football Head Coach, Chris Geesman coached the Kingsmen. Geesman led Penn to five state championships and had an overall record of 310-48. The legendary Kingsmen Head Coach guided Penn to 16 undefeated regular seasons and a state-record 89-game regular-season winning streak. Click here for more information on Coach Geesman.

Riordan joins an elite Football fraternity as the Kingsmen head coach. Yeoman and Geesman are both Indiana Hall of Famers. Rogers Reynolds (1970-1972) played for the New York Giants, and Bob Ward (1965-69) played for Notre Dame. After coaching one season at Penn, Ron Meyer (1964) eventually coached at SMU and coached the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots. Dale O’Connell started the Penn Football program (1958-1963) and compiled a 32-21-4 record.

In addition to coaching Football at Penn, Riordan was a Junior Varsity Baseball Coach at Penn (2001-2003). Penn won State in Baseball in 2001. He served as the Boys Basketball Freshman Head Coach (2001), the season that the Kingsmen finished as State Runner-up. He was a volunteer assistant Football coach at Northridge for the 2000 season.

The P-H-M Board of School Trustees will officially approve Superintendent Dr. Jerry Thacker’s recommendation of Coach Riordan to this position at its meeting on Monday, March 25, 2024.

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