Senators are looking for a new football coach

Rudy Simonetti coached the Dover Senators for five seasons for a overall 22-25 record. (File photo)

DOVER — Dover High has decided to part ways with head football coach Rudy Simonetti after five seasons.

The Capital School District began advertising the position on Dec. 21.

Dover is also looking for head coaches in field hockey and softball, along with football.

The 37-year-old Simonetti, who will remain a history teacher at the school, said “I guess they decided to go in another direction.”

“I have the chance to re-apply for it but I don’t know if I’m going to do that just yet,” he said on Tuesday. “I think we’ve done a lot of good at Dover the past five years. We’ve established a culture, which is most important to me.”

Simonetti finishes with an overall record 22-25, including 15-15 in the Henlopen North. But the Senators went 17-10 with a 12-6 record in the North over the last three seasons.

In 2018, Dover went 9-2 after losing to eventual state champion Sussex Central, 21-20, in the DIAA Division I state semifinals. It was the program’s first state tourney appearance since 2013 and Simonetti was named the Henlopen Conference Coach of the Year.

The Senators also went 4-1 against rival Caesar Rodney under Simonetti.

A New Jersey native, this was Simonetti’s first head coaching job. He met his wife in Delaware and the couple have a two-and-a-half year-old daughter, who has overcome cancer.

“I really want to thank everyone in the Dover community who supported us — at Dover High School especially,” said Simonetti. “I thank my coaches for working their tails off for me these past five years. And, most importantly, I want to thank the kids. They’re the reason I coach.

“I’m going to miss them. Hopefully I’ve made an impact in their lives, for the positive.”

Dover has had only five head football coach since 1986. That list includes Simonetti, Dante Jones, Carlton Brown, Darwin Manges and Jim Oxford.

Jones was let go in 2016 after his teams went 16-16 in three seasons. Brown went 45-37 over eight seasons before stepping down.

After back-to-back winning seasons, the Senators went 2-4 this past fall. The season was condensed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Their game against Sussex Tech was canceled.

Simonetti was able to talk to many of his players after the decision was made to advertise the position.

“I judge success years down the road when I have former players coming back to me,” he said. “They’re successful with having a family or having a job of their own … what was instilled with me, I instilled with these kids. I hope they pay it forward with the next generation.

“I can’t thank them enough for playing their tails off for me these last five years. It was just a really awesome experience.”

Considering how young he is, Simonetti would like to think there’s more coaching in his future.

“I don’t know quite frankly what I want to do yet next season coaching-wise,” he said. “I’ve got a lot to talk about and go over with my wife and we’ll go from there. Am I done with coaching for good? Probably not.”

In softball, Jester posted a six-year record of 41-64 with the Senators. But Dover went 15-4 in 2019 and earned the program’s first DIAA state tournament appearance.

There was no word on Tuesday about why Jester wasn’t returning as the Senators’ coach.

Veteran field hockey coach Denise Kimbro announced after the fall season that she was retiring from coaching and teaching.

Dover athletic director Kevin Turner was not available for comment. According to all three job postings, Capital is accepting applications until Jan. 31.

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