DSU mourns passing of former head football coach Al Lavan

Al Lavan

DOVER — Delaware State University Athletics is mourning the death of former Hornet head football coach Alton “Al” Lavan, who died early Monday in Colorado.

Lavan was DSU’s head football coach for seven seasons, from 2004-10, posting an overall record of 41-37 and a 34-21 mark in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

In 2007, Lavan led the Hornets to a 10-2 overall record and the school’s first MEAC championship in 16 years with a perfect 8-0 league mark, the second team in conference history to achieve the feat. The 10 overall wins still stand as a team record.

With the conference title, Delaware State earned a trip to the NCAA playoffs for the first time, matching up against Delaware in the first-ever meeting between the state’s two Division I programs.

Delaware State rose as high as 10th in the ‘07 Football Championship Subdivision national rankings and finished the season at No. 15 in the Sports Network poll and 16th in the ESPN Coaches poll. The American Sports Wire selected the Hornets as its 2007 Black College National Champions, while DSU was second in the final Sheridan Broadcast Network HBCU poll.

Lavan was selected as the 2007 Pigskin Club of Washington, D.C., Coach-of-the-Year and finished second in the voting for the national top FCS coach award.

In 2006, Lavan led the Hornets to an 8-3 record, finishing second in the MEAC standings with a 6-2 conference mark. The team received national attention, garnering a No. 23 ranking heading into the final regular-season game. The national ranking was DSU’s first since the 1992 season. During his second season as head coach, Lavan guided Delaware State to a 7-4 overall record (6-2 MEAC). Finishing No. 2 in the MEAC standings, DSU registered a perfect home record (5-0) for the first time since 1985. Lavan coached the Hornets to a 4-3 MEAC record in 2004, giving DSU a winning conference record for the first time in four years.

Prior to accepting the Delaware State position, he served two seasons as an assistant coach at Eastern Michigan University. Lavan was promoted to assistant head coach for the 2003 football season. Upon the late-season firing of then-head coach Jeff Woodruff, he was named as interim head coach. After taking over the 1-8 football team, Eastern Michigan won two of its final three games under Lavan.

In more than 18 years as a NFL assistant, Lavan’s resume’ includes stints with the Atlanta Falcons, Dallas Cowboys, San Francisco 49ers, Baltimore Ravens, and Kansas City Chiefs.

A member of NFL Hall-of-Fame coach Tom Landry’s staff with the Dallas Cowboys, Lavan served as running backs for greats Tony Dorsett and Herschel Walker during his time with the Cowboys.

He was a member of George Seifert’s 1990 Super Bowl champion San Francisco 49ers’ coaching staff.

Lavan’s collegiate coaching tenure also included stops at Colorado State, Louisville, Iowa State, Georgia Tech, Stanford, and Washington.

A college standout at Colorado State, Lavan played in the NFL for the Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons before his career was cut short due to injury.

He was inducted into the Delaware State University Athletics Hall-of-Fame in 2013.

Funeral arrangements have yet to be released by Lavan’s family.

Reach the Delaware State News newsroom at newsroom@newszap.com

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