Day hopes to help rebuild DSU football team again

Eric Day

DOVER — As much as Eric Day loved being a college football coach, he loved being a dad more.

That’s why, at the end of the 2006 season, Day stepped away from the Delaware State University football program.

Now with his kids grown up. Day is back with the Hornets hoping to again help turn the team into a contender.

Day is entering the second season of his second stint as Delaware State’s offensive coordinator. He previously held the position from 2004-2006.

“When I left 13 years ago it was because of my kids,” Day said. “My kids were six and 10. I wanted to be a dad. I had always said that when my kids were gone, if I had an opportunity I’d love to go back to college. How many people can go back to the same position, same place, in basically the same office 13 years later?”

“I always wanted to do it,” Day added. “I never wanted to leave coaching in the first place. It was more because of you’re never home when you’re coaching college football.”

Day was one of the first phone calls head coach Rod Milstead made after he was hired early in 2018.

In fact, the two were in contact long before then. When Milstead interviewed for the job in 2015, he had also contacted Day.

But Delaware State hired Kenny Carter in 2015 and Milstead went to coach at La Plata High in Maryland. When Carter’s contract was not renewed after the 2017 season, Milstead was in contact with Day during the application process again.

Day was recommended to Milstead by a mutual friend and by the late Al Lavan — the head coach of the Hornets during Day’s first stint who died in April 2018.

“Coach Day was part of the original equation,” Milstead said. “Unfortunately things happened the way they did, and I think that was a blessing looking back on it. When I applied again, I called coach Day and said I was applying and asked if he would be interested. He said he wanted to sit down with me and talk things out. He was highly recommended and then Al Lavan gave him a great reference. Al was a great friend of mine, unfortunately we lost him last year. After we sat down, I knew he was the guy and he was someone who could help me take this program and build it to the highest level.”

Delaware State went 3-8 last year in the first season with the new coaching staff. The three victories were DSU’s highest win total since the 2013 season.

Day would love if that improvement kept up so history would repeat itself.

When he first arrived at Delaware State in 2004, the Hornets were coming off a 1-10 season. The Hornets then went 4-7, 7-4 and 8-3 in the three years with Day as offensive coordinator before they won the MEAC in 2007 after Day had left.

“Coming back it was like ‘OK let’s see if we can do this again.’” Day said. “I’ve done it once, we have the blueprint. Coach Milstead has the same mindset as me. When I sat down and talked with him, I want to coach with that guy. We couldn’t have hired a better person at this time at this place. There’s no question. I was excited about the challenge. We did it once before, let’s see if we can do it again.”

While Day stepped down from Delaware State, he never left coaching or the game of football.

First he spent three years as the girls’ lacrosse coach at Dover High. He most recently was coaching his son as the boys’ lacrosse coach at Elkton High in Maryland.

Day also coached high school football at Red Lion Christian for four years and was working with DV Sports Software — a company that works with instant replay in all of college football and does video-editing for collegiate programs.

It allowed Day to travel and still interact with college coordinators.

“I was basically on sabbatical from coaching but I was working with all these college coaches because they also use that software to break down stuff,” Day said. “So I spent a lot of time at some major colleges just hanging out with offensive coordinators and defensive coordinators about how they gameplanned and how they use the software. It was neat. I wasn’t really out of football, I just wasn’t running around.”

Now he is running around on the field again, organizing drills during Delaware State’s preseason camp.

Day’s daughter is a senior in college and his son is entering his freshman year. Day jokes the only person he doesn’t see now that he’s back to coaching is his wife.

“She’s not too happy about that,” Day smiles. “Obviously.”

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