DSU adds Azzanesi, Bossard to football staff

DOVER — When Rod Milstead set out to find a new offensive coordinator this offseason, he asked one of his football assistant coaches, Jeff Braxton, if he had anyone in mind.

Braxton responded he heard Steve Azzanesi might be interested.

Milstead was floored.

“I was like, ‘Are you kidding me? How serious is he?’ Milstead recalls. “I knew if we could get him it would be a win-win.”

Milstead then took Azzanesi out for dinner. Three hours later, Milstead knew he had his next offensive coordinator.

After 18 years at Wesley College, Azzanesi is moving across town to Delaware State. The offensive coordinator is one of three new coaches on the Delaware State staff with Bryan Bossard, a Dover High grad, and Jonas Jackson.

Azzanesi was a former quarterback at Wesley before he joined the coaching staff in January 2020. He held numerous roles with the Wolverines including head coach for the junior varsity team, wide receivers coach, recruiting coordinator and he was the offensive coordinator the past two seasons.

Milstead actually met Azzanesi for the first time last summer.

The two were in attendance at the University of Delaware’s pro-day. They struck up a conversation while watching UD’s Troy Reeder do the vertical jump.

Azzanesi asked Milstead some questions about Delaware State and what his vision was. That research came in handy when the DSU offensive coordinator job opened up this summer.

“I had no idea we made a connection, I just thought he was a nice guy,” Milstead laughed. “He was taking it all in, during our conversation, saying he liked what we were doing. Then I did my research on him, what he’s done over there at Wesley is pretty darn special with what he’s helped build.”

Milstead asked his former offensive coordinator the past two seasons, Eric Day, what he thought about bringing in Azzanesi.

“Coach Day said, ‘Coach, he’s your guy,” Milstead said.

Even better from Azzanesi’s side, he does not have to relocate. The only thing different will be his drive to work.

“It’s a win-win for everyone and I’m totally thrilled to have him on board,” Milstead said. “He’s a great recruiter too. What he’s done the last 18 years at Wesley is take Division III kids and make them great. Everyone has great things to say about him and now he gets a chance to move up to Division I. I love the things he’s doing so far and I’m a firm believer in him.”

Azzanesi is also long-time friends with Bossard and helped bring the Dover High alum former Delaware defensive back to DelState.

Bossard will coach the Hornet running backs and tight ends.

Bossard has had coaching stops at Maryland, Pittsburgh, Wyoming and Bucknell. He also has coached at some of the local high schools like Caesar Rodney and Glasgow.

“Coach Azz and Bryan are a great fit together,” Milstead said. “He’s a local guy, a Dover guy so that will help with recruiting even more.”

The final addition to the coaching staff is Jackson, DSU’s new defensive line coach.

The Hornets actually played against Jackson two seasons ago. He was formerly the defensive line coach at former MEAC rival Savannah State before the Tigers dropped down to Division II.

Jackson was Brandon Carswell’s position coach. Carswell was a grad transfer at DSU this past season for his final year of eligibility and was a first-team All-MEAC honoree.

While Milstead was sifting through resumes, he called Carswell into his office and asked him what he thought of Jackson.

“He had no idea he was in the running for the job and I asked him and he sits there and starts ranting and raving about how coach Jackson changed his life,” Milstead said. “So when we hired coach Jackson I called Brandon and he was super excited. He told me, ‘Coach, you got a winner there.’”