By Kevin Eickman
The University of Delaware has a long and storied history. Starting with their first title in 1946 under coach Bill Murray, Delaware has won six national championships at the College Division, Division II and Division I-AA levels. During that time, Delaware has had only four coaches. Each one of those coaches has won a national championship.
The University of Delaware is beginning a new era of football, with first year coach Dave Brock taking the reigns. While the Blue Hens football team had enjoyed success in recent years, the decision was made for a change at the head coaching position. There also is a renewed emphasis on how the program is looked at by the citizens of southern Delaware.
The first event undertaken by the new regime, was a football festival held at Milford High School on Saturday, April 20. There was a bouncy house, face paintings, cheerleaders, YouDee the mascot and the players. Always there were the players, going out of their way to make the children who participated in the day’s activity special. Prior to the scrimmage there was a skills clinic set up, giving kids the chance to learn from real college football players. The Pop Warner team from Smyrna even had a chance to run some plays against the Blue Hen defense. Scoring again and again, it was a good thing for Delaware it’s only spring. Finally, after the players had put in a full practice and a scrimmage for the fans seated in Briggs Stadium, the team took more time to sign autographs and give kids a chance to meet and talk with their heroes.
Coming to Lower Delaware was something that Coach Dave Brock wanted to do from the start, as he thinks it is important for University of Delaware to be active in the entire state. “It is something we wanted to do, I have seen it done at other places and think it’s a great thing,” commented Brock.“The enthusiasm that the fans showed today was fantastic, we had a great time.” The University looked at a few different locations to hold the event and Coach Brock believes that Milford was a good choice. “ I didn’t make the selection, I heard that all the facilities that we looked at where great,” stated Brock. “but I couldn’t be more pleased with Milford, the facilities were great and the turnout was fantastic as well.”
Traveling 70 miles to hold a football practice presents a great many difficulties, and the fact that Delaware was able to hold an effective practice was important to Brock. “We got all our work in, and that was important. While it’s spring ball and all the polish isn’t there, the effort was outstanding on both sides of the ball.” he said.
One of the benefits of having an event like this, is the opportunity to share with others the benefits of the Milford community. Traveling to Milford from Wilmington to watch the scrimmage was 87 year old Guido Schiavi. “I have been a fan of Delaware football since 1940, and it was great to come down here and watch the scrimmage.” he said.
Talking with Milford Athletic Director Mike Tkach, it was easy to understand that this was a big event for Milford. “It was great to have they University of Delaware come down, we sure hope to have them back.” he said.