Ex-DSU star Milstead interviews for Hornets football head coaching job

Rod Milstead

Rod Milstead loves Delaware State football.

And whoever is the Hornets’ next coach, the former DSU standout offensive lineman is going to be pulling for them.

But Milstead also hopes he’s the one who gets the chance to put the DelState program back together.

The 48-year-old Milstead said on Wednesday that he has interviewed for the DSU head coaching job that was left open when Kenny Carter was fired on Nov. 20 after three seasons.

“It’s a place that I have gained so much from,” Milstead about his alma mater. “I would just like to come back and share some of my life lessons that I have learned over the years — not only with the game of football but with the game of life.”

The Hornets went just 3-30 over the past three seasons after going 2-9 this past fall. Milstead, however, said he’s not intimidated by the situation.

“I don’t think the football program needs to be rebuilt,” he said. “I’ve said that several times. The tradition and the foundation have been laid for years from Bill Collick through Al Lavan. I just think we need to do some things to reboot it.

“There’s some things that can be salvaged and I know they will be. The biggest thing is changing the mindset of the young men that are there — teaching them how to win.”

Another candidate believed to be in the running for the DelState job, former Hampton coach Connell Maynor, was hired at Alabama A&M on Tuesday.

Milstead is a member of the DSU Athletics Hall of Fame. After a nine-year NFL career, he coached Lackey (Md.) High to a pair of state championship-game appearances.

Milstead then spent one year each as an assistant coach at both North Carolina Central and DelState (2014). He’s now the head coach at La Plata (Md.) High.

“I’ve been a winner all my life,” said Milstead. “And it hasn’t been easy. It’s something that I’ve worked for. I’ve never been given anything. Even when I got to Delaware State, I was undersized.”

Even if he isn’t hired as the Hornets’ next coach, Milstead would like to see the school get the football alumni more involved.

Milstead has kept in close contact with Collick, who retired as Cape Henlopen High’s head coach in the fall.

“Coach Collick is probably my biggest mentor,” said Milstead. “I speak with him quite frequently. He’s still coaching me on things to do. If given the opportunity, Coach Collick will definitely be an adviser for me.”

Having an extended football coaching search is nothing new for DelState. Carter wasn’t hired until Jan. 21 (2015) while his predecessor, Kermit Blount, was hired on Feb. 5 (2011). DSU also currently does not have a full-time president or athletic director.

Carter’s contract doesn’t officially run out until Jan. 31.

The NCAA had a new, early signing day for high school athletes in December but will also have its traditional signing day on Feb. 7.

If he gets the call, Milstead said he’s ready to hit the ground running. Until a decision is made, though, he’ll wait to hear — just like any other former Hornet player.

“I’m just as anxious as everyone else,” said Milstead. “I’ve gotten a ton of phone calls. I have a lot of support from alumni.

“I would love to bring alumni in as mentors and kind of share stories of when Delaware State was great. Those are the type of things that I want to implement — and also win some football games.”

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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