Meet New University of Delaware Head Coach Dave Brock
Fightin’ new hen: The new coach brings an aggressive approach to football and academics. Can he continue—and even improve upon—the program’s storied success?
Photo by Ron Dubick
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“We’re going to be much more about the players than the plays,” he says. “We’re going to feature the right players. I don’t think we have a player problem. I think we have enough [good] players.”
Brock and his coaches know that continuing to recruit good players is the key to their success. “I’ve been in some very, very competitive recruiting situations,” he says, “and I’m hoping one of the benefits of that experience is that we’ll have a very good plan on how we can differentiate Delaware from who we’re going to recruit against.”
He says recruiting may proceed at a slower pace than in the past. “I’m going to be very deliberate. I’m going to know something about their families, their circumstances. I’m going to talk to their coaches, to some of the coaches in their league. There’s a lot more to it than watching tape and whether the player is fast or big.
“And we’re going to focus on the guy who wants to be at Delaware. I don’t want the guy who wants to be somewhere other than here.”
While he seems satisfied with his squad’s athletic talent, he has some concern about their academic performance. When he became the head man, the team’s cumulative GPA was 2.35, a number that displeased university officials, including Ziady and President Patrick Harker, and may have figured in Keeler’s exit. Brock made raising the average to 2.67 an immediate goal for the spring term. He chose that number by having a staff member check team GPAs over the past 10 semesters and finding the highest number. Then, at each team meeting, his Power Point presentation included this graphic: “Team Academic Challenge, Spring 2013: 2.67.”
“I wanted to challenge them in the offseason, force them to compete,” he says. “When you’re a competitor and you’re challenged, you respond. It will give me something to judge every player by. That will work for some of them, and it will work against some of them.”
Every year, he says, the team will have “some type of academic goal. Next year we’re going to try for the highest team GPA during the season that we’ve ever had.”
Brock will place a priority on the well-rounded student-athlete. That means achievement not only on the field and in the classroom, but in the community as well. Community service is something the team has done in the past but, he says, it hasn’t received sufficient credit.
“I think the players deserve recognition when they do the right thing. They’re going to get recognition if they don’t do the right thing. That’s not why you do it, but there’s nothing wrong with publicizing it. We should do these activities because we’re very, very fortunate, all of us, and we should be helping people who are less fortunate, whether it’s reading books to school kids or serving at the Sunday Breakfast Mission. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with people knowing about it.”
He’s been doing his own community outreach, speaking to various groups, including the Blue Hen Touchdown Club, representatives of fraternities and sororities, and to alumni and fans at Applebee’s locations in Wilmington, Middletown and Rehoboth.
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