Collick getting ready for one more game

Gold team head coach Bill Collick will lead a team for the last time on Saturday at the Blue-Gold senior all-star high school football
game. (Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

NEWARK — It’s an 85-degree day in the middle of June and Bill Collick announced he was retiring from coaching back in October.

But of course, where is Collick on this Sunday? On a football field.

The Cape Henlopen High coach has one more game before he hangs it up.

Collick will be coaching the Gold team in the 63rd annual Blue-Gold senior all-star high school football game this Saturday at Delaware Stadium in Newark. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.

Collick has had coaching stops at Delaware State, Sussex Tech and his alma mater Cape Henlopen for a career that spans 42 years. He officially retires on June 30.

“If you asked me where I would be without the game of football I would tell you I don’t know,” Collick said. “Nothing good lasts forever so I’m in tune with that. This is it for me and I’ve been very blessed.”

Collick, 66, played in this game when he was a senior at Cape Henlopen in 1970, he was named the Lineman of the Game as a defensive tackle.

He has coached in the Blue-Gold game once before. He was the head coach for the Gold team in 2010 after his last season at Sussex Tech before he came back home to Cape.

As someone who has been around the game for so long, Collick has impacted the lives of so many football players and a handful will be around Saturday.

Dan Candeloro, Caesar Rodney High’s head coach, and Dwayne Henry, Seaford High’s head coach, are both assistants on the Gold staff. Both played college football for Collick at Delaware State.

Collick’s son Billy Collick is also on the staff, he’s been an assistant at Cape Henlopen with Collick. Shaun Strickland, Milford High’s head coach, is on the Gold staff too. Collick said he’s known Strickland since he was eight and would watch Strickland play with his son growing up.

The connections stretch over to the Blue side too. Assistant coaches Rahsaan Matthews (Howard High assistant) and Franz Kappel (William Penn assistant) both played for Collick at Delaware State.

When Collick was named the Gold coach, one of the first people he called was Candeloro.

“When he got picked to be the head coach he called me and said he wanted me to join the staff,” Candeloro said. “It was an honor. It’s his last football game and I’m glad to be part of it.”

Candeloro graduated from Delaware State in 1987. He remembered the first time he met Collick as a freshman.

“He put his arm around me and said, ‘If you need anything, you call me, I’ll be here 24-7’” Candeloro said.

Then there was the time Candeloro showed up to the bus for a Hornet road game not wearing a tie. Collick quickly sent him back to his dorm to put one on.

“He’s a straight-forward guy, a rules guy,” Candeloro said with a laugh as he recalls the story. “We grew together at DelState and he just made me a better man. He taught me the right way to do things.”

Even though it is his final game, Collick said he’s anxious to connect with his assistant coaches and see what he can absorb from them.

“I see them all the time but I’m excited to spend a week with them and learn from them,” Collick said.

Most importantly Collick says, he understands what this particular game is all about.

The contest benefits the Delaware Foundation Reaching Citizens with intellectual disabilities (DFRC). Each player is paired up with a “buddy” ages 4-18 who has an intellectual disability.

“I feel honored the committee chose me and it really does mean something,” Collick said. “The game means so much. You think about 63 years, and kids realize when they make a commitment to this game to go all out because its a great cause.”


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