Wesley’s Drass honored, humbled by field name

 

Understandably, Mike Drass is a little embarrassed by the words.

There’s not too many football coaches who go to work every day on a field named for them.

But the veteran Wesley College football coach is also grateful to the people who honored him by naming the playing surface in Miller Stadium after him.

Wesley coach Mike Drass

The words ‘Drass Field’ were painted along both sidelines when a new artificial surface was installed a few months ago.

“I didn’t know about it until like April,” said Drass, who is also Wesley’s athletic director.

Clearly, Drass has left his mark on Wesley.

He’s helped turn the Wolverines into a small-college national power. Along with a 22-season record of 187-52-1, Wesley’s 102 victories since 2005 are the third-most in Division III in that span.

The Wolverines have also won 22 NCAA Division III playoff games since ‘05, reaching the national semifinals five times and the quarterfinals three times.

Drass, though, is the first one to say that longtime offensive coordinator Chip Knapp deserves every bit as much credit for Wesley’s emergence.

“If there’s ever anything with my name on it,” said Drass, “Chip’s name should be right next to it.”

Drass also points to the legacies of Wesley’s other longtime coaches, field hockey’s Tracy Short, men’s soccer’s Steve Clark and women’s soccer’s Ed Muntz, whose programs also call Miller Stadium home.

Likewise, Drass has made sure that nobody forgot about Bob Andrus, the coach who made Wesley a consistent winner in junior-college football. The end zone seats in Miller Stadium are topped with the sign ‘Bob Andrus Grandstand.’

As for the white painted letters outlined in blue with his name, Drass would like to think of them as a tribute to the players and assistant coaches who worked on that field.

“As I look at this program, I see everyone who’s ever played for us, everyone who’s ever coached for us,” said Drass. “Everyone’s worked hard to make this happen. … I appreciate what an honor it is. But it’s certainly not something that is needed.”

Still, Drass has been the magnet that’s not only drawn all these talented players to Wesley but has kept a small army of former Wolverines around as volunteer coaches. On the small-college level, where every program tries to get by with what they have, things like that can make a big difference.

“That’s part of the reason why I chose Wesley — all the coaches who have stayed,” said senior quarterback Joe Callahan. “It really seems like a school that you never want to leave. And then all the players come back every game. It really is that family atmosphere.”

Let’s hear it for the girls

We received a letter at the State News this week from Laura Wagner, a senior on the Caesar Rodney High cross country team.

She’d like to see not only more coverage of high school female sports teams in the newspaper but more fans in the stands at their games.

Here’s some of what she had to say: “Title IX affected aspects of women’s sports such as funding and equipment, but it is up to the community, including institutions like the Delaware State News to help complete the task of giving women their right to gender equality that Title IX started. Female athletes deserve the same respect, attention, and game attendance that men’s sports receive.

“… I challenge the community as a whole to fill up the stands at field hockey games, sell out volleyball matches, crowd the bleachers at softball games, and get fired up about girls’ soccer, girls’ lacrosse,  girls’ basketball, girls’ tennis, girls’ cross country, and girls’ swimming the same way they do for the boys. Let us show you what it means to ‘play like a girl.’”

Along those lines, you can check out 20 of the state’s field hockey teams at Polytech High’s annual ‘Play Day’ next Saturday at 9 a.m. Nine of the Henlopen Conference’s 14 teams are slated to take part.

Odds & ends

  • Former Caesar Rodney High standout Lexi Prillaman and her Richmond women’s soccer teammates will face Delaware on Friday afternoon at the UVA. Tournament. Prillaman made the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team as a freshman last fall after tallying four goals and six assists.
  • Delmar High grad Alex Ellis is looking to earn some more playing time as a senior tight end at Tennessee. The biomedical engineering major was awarded a scholarship last December after playing in 13 games as a junior.
  • The Wesley field hockey team has seven former Henlopen Conference players on its roster this season.
  • Cape Henlopen High grad Jacki Coveleski begins her senior season with the Delaware field hockey team fourth in scoring among the squad’s active players with 12 goals and 12 assists.
  • Wesley has picked up a handful of major-college football transfers over the years. It’s a rare day when a Wolverine transfers up to a Big 10 school, however.

But that’s what junior cornerback Zane Campbell did when he left Wesley for Rutgers after last season. The 6-foot-3, 180-pounder started 23 games in two seasons for the Wolverines.

Sports editor Andy Walter can be reached at 741-8227 or walter@newszap.com.

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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