Dover hires N.J.’s Simonetti as football coach

DOVER — Rudy Simonetti doesn’t know everything about Dover High football, of course.

The high school football coach has spent all his life in northern New Jersey.

Rudy Simonetti

Rudy Simonetti

But what he’s seen of Senator football, he likes.

That’s why the 32-year-old Simonetti is pretty excited about the possibilities after being announced as Dover’s new head football coach on Friday.

“I did my research and saw some highlights on Maxpreps and really researched the history of the program,” said Simonetti. “I think it can be something pretty special there, I really do.

“I’m very excited to be a first-time head coach and see what it’s all about,” he added. “This is something I’ve worked toward for the last nine years. I’m very, very excited to start that next chapter in my life.”

Simonetti, who will also be hired as a special education teacher at Dover, was approved by the Capital School Board on Wednesday night.

He replaces Dante Jones, who wasn’t rehired after coaching the Senators to a record of 16-16 overall (9-9 Henlopen Conference Northern Division) in three seasons. Dover had originally offered the job to another candidate, believed to be Christiana High grad Jamie Duncan, before re-advertising the position.

Last fall, Simonetti was an assistant coach at his alma mater, Passaic Valley (N.J.) High. He previously worked at both Mount Olive in Flanders, N.J. and Elmwood Park.

Simonetti was interested in moving to Delaware because his brother, Mark, lives in Middletown. Rudy Simonetti plans to move to Delaware in the next few weeks.

He says he was especially impressed with the facilities at Dover’s new, two-year-old building.

“I don’t know Delaware but I haven’t passed any (schools) in the state quite like it,” said Simonetti. “It puts a lot of ‘D-3’ colleges I know to shame.”

A linebacker, center and defensive lineman as a high school player, Simonetti has mostly worked on the offensive side of the ball as a coach.

As a head coach, he knows he’ll have to find some good assistants.

“Like the old adage says, you’re only as good as your coaching staff,” said Simonetti.

Of course, most of Simonetti’s success at Dover will also depend on his players.

The Senators are a combined 7-13 over the past two seasons.

Simonetti is a big believer that games are won or lost in off-season conditioning. He’s anxious to start getting to know his new players.

“First impressions are lasting impressions,” he said. “I can’t wait to meet the kids and get to work.

“I’m a very hard-working individual and I’m going to instill that hard-working attitude within the Dover High School football team. I’m looking to build a very dedicated, committed and hard-working culture at Dover High School.”

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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