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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The new coach has received generally good reviews. Tom Crescenzo, a UD grad, season ticket holder and member of the Touchdown Club, says he was impressed by Brock when he spoke to the club.
“He’s got a lot of football experience, and I like his philosophy, the way he’s talking about handling the kids,” Crescenzo says. “I think he’ll hold them to high standards and a commitment to being a better student, a better athlete, a better citizen. His limitation is he’s never been a head coach, so whether or not he’s going to be able to pull it all together is a question, but I suspect he will. And I think he’ll be more accessible than K.C. was.”
Joe Conaway, a longtime season ticket holder, is hoping to see a more exciting product than the one he and his buddies have watched in recent years. He attributes the drop-off in fan support in part to ticket licensing fees and mediocre performance. The Blue Hens’ record is 31-25 since 2007, when Flacco took them to the national championship game—a 49-21 loss to Appalachian State, but Conaway believes a primary factor was Keeler’s lackluster game plans. “Everybody knew pretty much what they were going to run. I think they would be a pretty easy team to prepare for because they did the same stuff every week.”
Conaway is encouraged by Brock’s aggressive game plan. He likes what he’s heard about the coaching staff’s focus on player grades. “They’re there to get degrees and it appears that may not have been at the top of the list in the last several years.”
A Philadelphia Eagles fan, Conaway sums up his expectations: “I’m hoping Brock has the same effect on Delaware that I’m hoping [new Head Coach Chip] Kelly has on the Eagles. I’m looking for a little excitement.”
Not surprisingly, his coaches are among Brock’s biggest supporters. Sean Devine, the offensive coordinator, worked with his new boss at Boston College. “He’s a tremendous motivator,” says Devine, “and very consistent in what he brings to the table. And he’s a good person. When you have good people, you attract good people.”
Brian Ginn, the wide receivers coach, is one of the two holdovers from Keeler’s staff. He’s been impressed with Brock’s efficient practices. “We hit the field and we’re running. The practice provides the conditioning. Then we wrap it up.”
The players got a taste of Brock’s coaching style this spring. Travis Hawkins, for one, seemed to like it. “He always emphasizes the word ‘attack,’” the senior defensive back said after the spring intrasquad game. “And he’s got all of us on the same page and focused on our goals. I think the future here is very bright with Coach Brock.”
Brock moved to a Newark hotel soon after he was hired, and began putting in his customary 70- to 80-hour work weeks. His wife stayed in Westfield, N.J., awaiting the end of the school year, when she and the children, ranging in age from 6 to 15, would move to Delaware.
Karen Brock understands both the positives and negatives of a nomadic coaching life. “Moving middle school kids away from their friends can be a bummer,” she says. “On the other hand, they have friends all over the country now, and with Facebook and texting, it makes it easier to stay in touch.”
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