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Rocco welcomes challenge of reviving UD football

The University of Delaware’s new football coach officially landed in the Blue Hen nest Wednesday.

UD formally introduced Danny Rocco Wednesday at the Carpenter Center, culminating a nearly two month search to replace Dave Brock, who was fired midway through the season back in October.

Rocco appeared to be at or near the top of the Hens’ wish list all along, though he and UD Athletic Director Chrissi Rawak says a deal to lure Rocco from Delaware’s Colonial Athletic Association rival Richmond wasn’t done until early Monday night.

Rocco called Rawak "relentless" in her efforts to land him.  Rawak and University president Dennis Assanis   say that's because they believe Rocco is the right fit for the program and UD.

“That means a proven winner, but somebody that wins the right way," said Rawak. "That means somebody that doesn’t just say they understand and value the student-athlete experience, but demonstrates that in all the decisions and choice they make.  That means a team player - a partner for me, a partner for our other coaches – that embodies the values and traditions of this university and this program.”

In 11 seasons as a head coach at Liberty and Richmond, the 56-year-old Rocco has never had a losing season and won six conference titles.

In his five years at Richmond, he won 43 games and took the Spiders to the NCAA playoffs in each of the past three seasons.

So why leave the Richmond head coaching job for UD, which is coming off its first back-to-back losing season since the late 1930’s?

“I am very highly motivated by challenges.  I am a problem solver.  I work to identify and solve problems.  And I was really looking for another challenge," said Rocco. "And maybe in some ways I may have taken the last program as far as I thought I could take it.”

The challenge at UD is bringing a storied program which owns six national championships back to life. The Blue Hens have been absent from the playoffs since 2010 and are coming off their first back to losing seasons since the late 1930s.  They finished  4-7 in both 2015 and 2016.

“I am really committed to putting our program back on a national platform,” said Rocco.

Rocco says his initial priorities are putting together a staff and hitting the ground running on recruiting.  He also wants to start building connections on the campus and in the community quickly.

Tom Byrne has been a fixture covering news in Delaware for three decades. He joined Delaware Public Media in 2010 as our first news director and has guided the news team ever since. When he's not covering the news, he can be found reading history or pursuing his love of all things athletic.
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