Coach Jennings answers a question during the press conference announcing his appointment.

By Miles Maguire

UW Oshkosh has chosen the pocket of rival UW Whitewater to find its new football coach.

Peter Jennings, who has been the offensive coordinator for the past four seasons at Whitewater, was named head coach at a news conference Tuesday. He was selected from more than 70 applicants, said UW Oshkosh athletic director Darryl Sims.

The new coach has drawn attention to his top-performing teams at every school he has coached, including Rhodes College in Tennessee, Carroll University and Iowa Wesleyan University.

Jennings “has an innovative spirit and a proven ability to work well with student-athletes and make them better both in the classroom and on the football field,” Sims said.

“Peter’s enthusiasm is contagious and resonates well with players and coaches through his interactions. He also understands our conference makeup and knows what it takes to be successful in our league and nationally,” according to Sims.

Jennings replaces Pat Cerroni, who resigned in November just as news was about to break that he had raised tens of thousands of dollars using an unauthorized fundraising group the school feared violating university and NCAA regulations.

“With Jennings leading the offense, UW-Whitewater qualified for the 2019 NCAA Division III Championship Game and reached the National Semifinals in 2018 and 2021,” Oshkosh said in a press release. “The Warhawks compiled records of 13-1 in 2018 and 2021, and 13-2 in 2019. The 2020 season has been canceled due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.”

Over the past four seasons, the Titans and Warhawks have split in one-on-one meetings.

UW Oshkosh has not responded to a compensation claim from the new coach. According to an online UW System salary database, Jenkins earned $67,000 in fiscal year 2021 while Cerroni earned $87,000.