From the Sports Editor: Now comes the hard work for UD — hiring a new coach

Before K.C. Keeler was hired in 2001, the Blue Hens hadn’t gotten a new football coach since 1966. And two of the most important people in the decision-making process — athletic director Christine Rawak and university president Dennis Assanis — have only been in Newark for six months or less. (UD sports information)

Before K.C. Keeler was hired in 2001, the Blue Hens hadn’t gotten a new football coach since 1966. And two of the most important people in the decision-making process — athletic director Christine Rawak and university president Dennis Assanis — have only been in Newark for six months or less. (UD sports information)

Christine Rawak took care of the hard part on Sunday.

Now the Delaware athletic director has to do the hard work of hiring the Blue Hens’ next football coach.

Dave Brock

Dave Brock

Rawak, who fired fourth-year coach Dave Brock on Sunday, said she was going to use this week to really pinpoint what the search committee will be looking for in Brock’s replacement.

“Obviously, someone who has that experience in being a part of winning programs is important,” Rawak said on Monday. “On the other side, what Coach Brock did incredibly well, was bring kids to the program that are really going to represent this university well — both academically and athletically.

“I’m going to bring the players together, probably early next week, in getting their perspective. Their voices matter. This is their leader and I want to hear from them what is going to be most important to them as we move things forward.”

Of course, there’s not much of a track record for hiring Delaware football coaches.

Before K.C. Keeler was hired in 2001, the Hens hadn’t gotten a new grid coach since 1966. And two of the most important people in the decision-making process — Rawak and university president Dennis Assanis — have only been in Newark for six months or less.

There’s no evidence that any coaches with Delaware ties were strongly considered when Brock was hired in 2013.

Indeed, the biggest thing Brock seemed to have going for him is that he knew former UD athletic director Eric Ziady from a previous school.

So coaches who already have connections to Assanis and Rawak are probably a good place to start putting together a list of candidates.

Which makes it interesting that Assanis’ former school, Stony Brook, is coming to Newark on Saturday to play the Hens in football for the first time.

Will Assanis try to hire away head coach Chuck Priore, who took the Seawolves to the NCAA FCS playoffs for the first time?

Or what about Stony Brook defensive coordinator Lyle Hemphill, the son of former St. Elizabeth High longtime coach Joe Hemphill? The younger Hemphill was not only an assistant coach on the Hens’ national runnerup squad in 2010 but was named the FCS defensive coordinator of the year in 2015.

Rawak, on the other hand, came to Delaware from Michigan but it’s not likely she’ll be going after Jim Harbaugh any time soon. On the other hand, there are plenty of Wolverine assistant coaches who are already familiar with the Hens’ winged helmet.

The other question is, how long will Delaware take to hire its next football coach?

The long, drawn-out search for a men’s basketball coach last spring certainly didn’t make Delaware look good. On the other hand, having already made the decision in October to move on from Brock, leaves the school no excuses for not finding a replacement fairly quickly.

And the thing is, people should be interested in the Blue Hen job.

While Delaware hasn’t won nearly enough lately, it has a well-stocked roster and plenty of tradition.

Now all it needs is a new coach.

Rawak said she told the basketball players the same thing she told the football team this week.

“I said, ‘I want you to trust me,’” said Rawak. “I don’t want anybody to leave. I want you to give me time and let me do my job to find the very best coach for you and for this program.”

Hillman finalist for award

Dover’s Christina Hillman was one of three Division I finalists for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award.

The former St. Thomas More shot putter didn’t win the prestigious award but did give a speech at the award banquet on Sunday in Indianapolis.

“Out of all her accomplishments this stands alone as the single one that I am most proud of,” said Hillman’s father, John.

A two-time national champion at Iowa State, Hillman logged more than 500 volunteer hours working with teenage women battling drug addictions.

Iowa State recognized her as a ‘Women Impacting ISU’ honoree in 2014-15. Hillman also received the Gender & Sexuality Equity Change Agent Award for her work with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and allied students organization on campus.

Hillman wrote in her application for the NCAA award that her volunteer work is her proudest accomplishment from her college career.

“I am thankful to have had the opportunity to use my status as an athlete and leader to promote positive change on Iowa State’s campus and in the Ames community,” she wrote.

Callahan now a Saint

Joe Callahan’s budding NFL career took an unexpected turn late last week when the former Wesley College quarterback was cut by the Green Bay Packers and picked up by the New Orleans Saints.

The Packers reportedly only released their preseason standout to open up a roster spot. They expected to re-sign Callahan to their practice squad but the Saints claimed him off waivers.

“Yeah, it’s tough,” Green Bay assistant head coach/offense Tom Clements told the Milwaukee Journal. “That’s the bad part of the business. When you set the roster at the end of training camp that’s usually a bad couple days because you let some good players and good people go and Joe certainly worked hard and had a very good preseason. … He did a great job for us.”

While Wesley coach Mike Drass said Callahan’s head was spinning a little bit last week, he reminded his former QB that, after learning from Aaron Rodgers, now he gets to work with Drew Brees. The Saints also put Callahan on their 53-man roster.

“That’s a big thing,” said Drass. “Someone out there wrote, for an undrafted free agent to make a team is remarkable. But for that person to get cut and another team pick him up is even more remarkable.”

Apparently, though, Callahan’s biggest headache on Friday was wondering what to do with the apartment he just rented in Green Bay and the sofa he just bought.

“He was in a college apartment last year at this time,” Drass said with a laugh. “All these real-world problems were happening to him and he was like, ‘Ahhh, I’ve got to go. I’ve got to get on a plane.’”

Odds & ends

•Cape Henlopen High’s field hockey team still hasn’t lost to a Delaware program since 2010. But it’s been an interesting stretch of three games for the Vikings.

They have tallied only one first-half goal before outscoring those three opponents, 10-0, in the second half. Cape plays a 4 p.m. game today at Polytech before hosting unbeaten Delmar in their annual showdown on Saturday at 4 p.m.

•Polytech’s boys’ soccer squad (9-0) puts its perfect record on the line today in a 5:30 p.m. contest at Sussex Central (8-1). The matchup could decide the Henlopen North title.

•Some Delaware football fans couldn’t help but notice that, on the day after the Blue Hens fired football coach Dave Brock, former UD coach K.C. Keeler’s Sam Houston squad moved into the No. 1 spot in the Stats FCS poll.

•The local lacrosse community is mourning the death of Scott Brozey, a Cape Henlopen High standout who also played at both DelTech and Wesley College. He was only 27 when he was killed in an accident on Sept. 30 in Florida.

A Celebration of Life event will be held on Oct. 29 at 10 a.m. at Eagles Nest Fellowship Church in Milton. Lacrosse friends and former teammates are also welcome to participate in a pickup game in Brozey’s honor at Hudson Fields in Milton, from 2-4 p.m.

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