Assistant Director of Athletics talks Flacco
Published: Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Updated: Monday, April 22, 2013 21:04
Assistant Director of Athletics and Sports Information Director Scott Selheimer said after he saw Joe Flacco warm up for a playoff game against the University of Northern Iowa in 2007, he knew Flacco would be one of the top arms in the NFL. The quarterback took a step back to the 30-yard line and threw it to his receiver on the goal line, about 70 yards downfield.
Selheimer said he noticed Flacco had the traits of a great quarterbacklong before he was zipping forty-yard long balls past swarming opponents with ease for the Baltimore Ravens.
“Coaches were very excited of his ability when he came here,” Selheimer said. “The more they saw him work, the more they knew he was special. He was always laid back, he never panicked in tough situations— Joe Cool is what I saw.”
Now, after one of the university’s star players has turned into a Super Bowl Most Valuable Player with the help of alum and Baltimore teammate Gino Gradkowski, the athletic department hopes to gain more recognition.
Selheimer said having Flacco and Gradkowski represent Delaware has had a great effect on the university.
Sophomore James Hanges, who rooted for the Ravens throughout the NFL playoffs, said he might have thought of the team differently if they did not have a player who once called Newark home.
“He had a great run throughout the playoffs and was very impressive,” Hanges said. “I found myself wanting to root for him more because he was an alumni.”
Hanges said he did not realize Flacco was not the only Blue Hen on the Super Bowl-winning team.
The Ravens’ backup center, Gino Gradkowski graduated last spring, senior captain and linebacker Paul Worrilow said. Gradkowski was a “super kid” and a hard worker, Selheimer said. He said he expects Gradkowski to move into a starting role and finds it ironic that in the future, Gradkowski will be snapping the ball to Flacco, he said.
Worrilow said he never had an opportunity to play with Flacco, but Gardkowski was one of his closest friends.
“It was almost surreal seeing Gino on the sidelines,” Worrilow said.“To see him, as well as Joe, starting definitely creates excitement for the university, especially because Baltimore is so close.”
Selheimer said the university has always been a great school for recruiting quarterbacks. Alum Rich Gannonalso led the Oakland Raiders to a Super Bowl in 2002, although his team lost, Selheimer said.
Worrilow said he thinks the university will promote Flacco in the same way it has promoted Gannon.
“This only boosts the school and team’s image,” Worrilow said. “I think having Rich and now Joe go on and be successful quarterbacks in the NFL will only have a positive impact on recruitment.”
Freshman Geoffrey Briscione, who grew up as a 49ers fan, said he thinks players should feel a sense of honor when stepping on the field at Tubby Raymond Field at Delaware Stadium.
“I feel like it will help the program, especially through recruiting, because what quarterback in the tri-state area wouldn’t want to go to UD now,” Briscone said.
Hagnes said his main concern now is if Flacco and the Lombardi Trophy will make a pit stop in Newark. It would be exciting to see them at the university, and he believes students would be enthusiastic about seeing the Ravens quarterback at a pep rally, he said.
Flacco is often busy training and that business will only continue to escalate after being named Super Bowl MVP, Selheimer said. He said Flacco followed up a trip to Disney World with an appearance on the Letterman show this past week and also announced his wife is pregnant with their second child.
Selheimer said the university released a congratulatory ad and plans to release more ads in several publications. However, an appearance by Flacco and Gradkowski on campus will have to wait, he said.
“We would love to get Joe and Gino on campus, but there are no dates set and no confirmations from either of them,” Selheimer said. “They are Super Bowl champions for a year, so there is no rush.”
Selheimer said he also wants students to know anything the university does in relation to the Ravens’ victory will not just be centered around Flacco.