CR’s Candeloro, Delmar’s Hearn receive Coach of Year honors


CR football coach Dan Candeloro by .

Dan Candeloro

DOVER — Dan Candeloro’s first two seasons as the head football coach weren’t easy.

The longtime assistant only had a pair of wins in his first year before a 1-9 season in 2016.

But it all turned around this season for the Riders.

Candeloro helped CR re-establish its strong football tradition, leading the Riders to a 7-3 regular season and a berth in the Division I state tournament.

And on Monday, Candeloro was honored by the Delaware Interscholastic Football Coaches Association) with the Division I Coach of the Year award at the annual banquet hosted by Dover Downs.

“There were some lean years where we were heading in the wrong direction,” Candeloro said. “I have a group of seniors that I would like to thank for just staying the course. We had a plan in place, we put it in place and they did it.”

Candeloro had been an assistant at Caesar Rodney since 2000 until he took over the head coaching job when Mike Schonewolf retired in 2015.

He joined Joe Purzycki (1975), John Coveleski (1983) and Schonewolf (2008) as CR coaches to win a DIFCA Coach of the Year award.

Candeloro’s brother Tony and wife Karen were in the crowd at the banquet and thanked by Candeloro during his acceptance speech. He was also joined on Monday night by current assistant coaches Brian Berns and his son Zach.

“I have a great staff,” Candeloro said. “There’s a whole staff back at the school which did a great job.”

Hearn wins DII award

The other Coach of the Year honor was hardly a surprise.

Dave Hearn took home Division II award after leading Delmar High to the Division II state title and the Henlopen Conference Southern Division regular season championship. It is the third Coach of the Year award for Hearn in his career.

“I’m fortunate to be at a place like Delmar with tremendous support from our community,” Hearn said. “We have players that are a lot of fun to work with and a coaching staff that I’ve been fortunate with to stay together. Every time one does leave we get another great coach in.”

Hearn also received a plaque from DIFCA commemorating win No. 200 of his career which he achieved this season.

Cape’s Collick honored

DIFCA also made sure to send Cape Henlopen High coach Bill Collick out in style.

The former Delaware State University head coach who also had stints at Sussex Tech and Cape Henlopen will be retiring after a 42-year coaching career. He was also given a plaque for his years of service to the game in Delaware.

“It’s a wonderful surprise,” Collick said. “I look over and see a lot of people I have either coached with or played with. It’s a great honor.”

Collick was joined at the banquet by a crop of assistant coaches including Mike Tkach, Ken Hardy, Harry Hudson and his son Billy Collick.

“I tell people all the time I don’t know where I would be without this great game,” Collick said. “I tell parents all the time, there’s a lot of great sports but nothing like football. Nothing else in my opinion teaches the life lessons that football does.”

Collick finished his high school coaching career with 101 all-time victories. He was also given an award to mark his 100th win which came on Sept. 22 against Northeast High of Maryland.

Extra points

Smyrna High senior running back Will Knight was given the state’s Maxwell Award as the top player in the state. … Woodbridge High’s Preston Grace was honored as the Assistant Coach of the Year. … Collick will coach the Gold team in the 63rd annual DFRC senior all-star game on Saturday, June 23. He will be assisted by Billy Collick, Candeloro, Shaun Strickland (Milford), Dwayne Henry (Seaford) and Rudy Simonetti (Dover). Howard’s Dan Ritter is the coach of the Blue team.


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