Rocco out as UD football coach

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Danny Rocco is out as the  University of Delaware football coach after a five-year stint.

Athletic director Chrissi Rawak announced Monday that the university needed to turn the page and produce results that match its “level of investment” by regularly winning championships.

Rocco guided UD to a conference championship during a  shorter, pandemic-related spring season, but was unable to repeat that success in the fall. 

“As we turn the page, I want to thank Coach Rocco for all that he and his staff did during his five years in Newark. We are in a better place than when he arrived as he has created a strong team culture and developed great young men. Coach Rocco’s commitment to our student-athletes experience, navigating the team safely through a pandemic, and winning a CAA championship are great examples of his efforts and his character. We are grateful for all that he did in his time at Delaware and the foundation he laid for the future,” Rawak wrote.

A search for a successor is already underway.

Rawak said she will have “select Delaware Football alums who will help me find the coach with the experiences, values, and characteristics we need to achieve our goals the Delaware Way.”

Rocco was known for being fan-friendly and did not have what some described as the more hard-nosed personality of the former championship-winning coach KC Keeler. Keeler was fired after a losing season.

Keeler has gone on to build on his winning record at Sam Houston State in Texas. As a result, the university has moved into the major college FCS ranks.

Pressure to win is intense on all college football coaches, with a number of major universities now looking to fill the lucrative top jobs with salaries that exceed compensation for presidents.

Football has been given greater emphasis by current UD President Dennis Assanis, with the university making a major upgrade to its stadium.

Former President Patrick Harker, a former college football player, had been less enthusiastic about athletics after student surveys showed sports were lower on the list of attractions that drew students to UD.

Full stadiums have been a rarity in recent years, due to an aging and sometimes unhappy base of season ticket holders upset over changes in perks, and students skipping games.

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