Delaware introduces Danny Rocco as head football coach
— University of Delaware Director of Athletics and Recreation Services Chrissi Rawak introduced Danny Rocco as the program’s new head football coach Wednesday.
Rocco, who spent the last five seasons as the head coach of CAA rival Richmond, becomes just the 22nd head coach in the school’s 125-year football history and the only the sixth since 1940.
“It really is an honor and a privilege for me to be the 22nd head football coach here at the University of Delaware, a place rich of history and tradition,” Rocco said. “I am really committed to putting our program back on a national platform. And in doing so I recognize that it’s going to have to be a team effort, a collective effort. I think everybody within the Delaware family
has got to rally and unite.”
Rocco led the Spiders to consecutive 10-win seasons and three straight NCAA Tournament appearances. Richmond went 8-3 in its first season under Rocco, after going 3-8 the previous year.
Before taking over at Richmond, he spent six years as head coach of Liberty. In 11 seasons as an FCS head coach, Rocco has amassed a 90-42 overall record.
“Danny has turned two programs around, has never had a losing season as a head coach,” Rawak said. “He’s won six conference championships, has been named coach of the year in his conference four times. His players excel in the classroom and they’ve been all Americans on the field. He’s worked in the NFL. He’s worked in the FBS. He’s worked in the FCS.”
Rawak said there was “unbelievable interest” in the open position, but that Roc- co was the clear choice.
“My focus was finding the very, very best football coach for this program,” she said. “It just reinforced how special this place is and how special this program is. But I can tell you as we went through each step in this process, it became so clear to us that Danny Rocco was the right man for Delaware, not just the right man for this job, the right man for Delaware.”
Rocco replaces Dave Brock, who was fired in his fourth season as head coach on Oct. 16. The Blue Hens have gone 4-7 in consecutive season – their first back-to-back losing years since 1938-39. Delaware has not made the NCAA Tournament since 2010. Rocco coached Richmond to a pair of playoff wins this season before falling in the FCS quarterfinals on Saturday.
The Spiders beat Delaware 31-17 on Nov. 12, but Rocco recalled a visit to Tubby Raymond Field three years earlier that swayed his decision.
“I came to this stadium in 2013 to play the Delaware football team. I walked the stadium, I walked the campus, I walked the grounds, and I saw those six National Championship banners out there in the stadium,” he said. “I kind of grew up in this part of the country. I grew up with an unbelievable admiration for Delaware football.”
Beyond his track record of turning college football programs around, Blue Hens fans have more reasons to be excited for Rocco’s first season at the helm.
“I think that we have a real solid roster here moving forward,” he said. “When we played this year, I studied the roster like I did every team on our schedule, and I recognized some youth. I recognized a smaller senior class. And I think there’s some real optimism in that.”
He plans on getting to work right away.
“I have an action plan in place. I have a three-phase action plan. Phase one starts tomorrow and it’ll really start focusing in on the recruiting cycle. It’ll focus in on the staff evaluations and interviews,” Rocco said. “I will interview and communicate with every single coach that was on staff here last year, and I’ll continue to communicate with other coaches, some of which are on my staff at the University of Richmond. So putting my staff together, getting off to a fast start here in recruiting, and then meeting the personnel here on campus and connecting with the community are the things I want to be able to do here before the Christmas break.”
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Danny Rocco addresses players and fans Wednesday after being named the new head football coach for the Blue Hens.