Blue Hens football coach
Photo by Mark Campbell December 13, 2016
Danny Rocco selected new head coach of UD football program
Danny Rocco, who served as head coach at the University of Richmond for the past five seasons, has been named the next head coach of the University of Delaware football program, it was announced Tuesday, Dec. 13, by Chrissi Rawak, UD director of athletics and recreation services.
Rocco led Richmond to three straight NCAA Football Championship Subdivision tournament appearances.
Rocco was formally introduced by Rawak and UD President Dennis Assanis during a ceremony on Wednesday, Dec. 14, in the Bob Carpenter Center Auditorium. UD Athletics has made materials about the day's events available at BlueHens.com.
Rocco, 56, who led Richmond to back-to-back 10-win seasons, becomes just the 22nd head coach in UD’s 125-season history and just the sixth head coach since 1940.
“I’m thrilled that Danny Rocco will be the new head coach for the Fightin’ Blue Hens,” said UD President Dennis Assanis. “Like all of us at UD, Danny is committed to excellence in everything he does. He brings significant coaching experience at both the collegiate and professional level. Most importantly, Danny is dedicated to the success of our student-athletes, both on the field and in the classroom. We know he will build a powerful team of players and coaches and take UD football into a strong and winning future.”
“We welcome Coach Rocco and his family to our Blue Hen football family,” said Rawak. “This is an exciting day for the University of Delaware, our football program, our student-athletes, and everyone who loves and supports Blue Hen football. During our search we wanted to find someone who had demonstrated outstanding success not only on the field but in building young men as leaders, citizens, and achievers. In Coach Rocco we found the perfect fit and someone who is committed to excellence in every area. We are excited to see the direction he takes us under his leadership. His impact will be felt immediately.”
A veteran of 33 seasons as a football coach, including the last 11 as a head coach at the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision level, Rocco has found nothing but success. He has never posted a losing season and owns a career record of 90-42 (.682), including a 10-4 mark this past fall when Richmond went 5-3 in Colonial Athletic Association and advanced to the NCAA tournament for the third straight year.
The No. 12 ranked Spiders defeated No. 17 North Carolina A&T 39-10 in the opening round and rallied to down No. 8 North Dakota 27-24 on the road in the second round before falling at No. 3 Eastern Washington in the quarterfinals this past Saturday.
“It is with great enthusiasm that I accept the head football coaching position at the University of Delaware,” said Rocco. “I am very excited to take on this challenge, recognizing that I have full and total support from President Assanis and AD Chrissi Rawak. I have always had an appreciation for the history and tradition of Delaware football and I am highly motivated to return Delaware to its winning ways and to a position of national prominence.”
A native of Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, and a 1984 graduate of Wake Forest University, Rocco inherits a program that has won six national championships, finished as national runner-up five times, made 20 NCAA tournament appearances, and captured 16 conference championships. However, the Hens have not advanced to postseason play since 2010 and have posted consecutive 4-7 seasons, the first back-to-back losing seasons in school history since 1938-39. Dave Brock, who led the Blue Hens for the previous four seasons, was dismissed on Oct. 16 and replaced by interim head coach Dennis Dottin-Carter.
Rocco, whose Richmond team defeated Delaware 31-17 at home back on Nov. 12, transformed the Spiders back into a national power during his five-year tenure. He inherited a team that went 3-8 in 2011 and led the 2012 squad to a five-win turnaround with an 8-3 overall record and a share of the CAA title.
He went on to lead Richmond to a five-year record of 43-22 that included three consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, including a berth in the semifinals in 2015 and a trip to the quarterfinals this past season. He was named the Touchdown Club of Richmond Coach of the Year in both 2012 and 2015 and was a finalist for the FCS Eddie Robinson National Coach of the Year award both of those seasons.
During his 11 seasons as a head coach -- five at Richmond, six at Liberty -- he has been a National Coach of the Year Finalist five times, and has won six conference championships and four conference Coach of the Year honors.