K.C. Keeler fired, football flurry during winter break
Published: Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 19:02
Delaware alum and head coach of the football program for the past 11 years K.C. Keeler was relieved of his duties on Jan. 7.
Keeler coached the Hens to a NCAA Division 1-AA national championship in 2003 and led them to two more national championship appearances in 2007 and 2010. He recorded 86 wins during his time at Delaware, but failed to make the playoffs in each of the last two seasons. This past season ended in a four-game losing streak, the longest for Delaware since 1967.
While at Delaware, Keeler played linebacker for the Hens from 1978-1980 and was a member of the Division II national championship team in 1979, and current players remember his passion and dedication to the team.
“He just said that he enjoyed his time here and this is his alma matter, and he bleeds these colors and he will always love this place,” sophomore quarterback Trent Hurley said on Keeler’s address to the team.
Several other players said it was tough to see Keeler leave Delaware’s program and the announcement of Keeler’s firing came as a surprise.
Given the timing of the decision and the the approaching recruiting season, many, including the former head coach himself and current quarterback did not anticipate a coaching change.
“I was shocked,” Hurley said. “I was really shocked. I didn’t expect it to happen, especially late in January.”
Despite his past success as a player and as a coach, Athletic Director Eric Ziady announced the program would be heading in a new direction.
“We need to do a better job of recruiting in the outskirts of our immediate area,” Ziady said, as he emphasized the need for the next head coach to be a leader of the players and an aggressive recruiter, especially in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Just 11 days after Keeler’s firing, Ziady announced Dave Brock, who served as Rutger’s offensive coordinator last season, would be the next head coach of Delaware’s football program.
Brock was first introduced to Ziady when he was the tight ends coach at Boston College, and Ziady looks forward to seeing his “aggressive approach” to the team.
“He is disciplined and passionate, dynamic and energetic knowledgeable and experienced,” Ziady said. “He will recruit excellent students and athletes to the University of Delaware, and we will play an exciting brand of football.”
Brock will draw on over 20 years of coaching experience including several positions at Division 1 programs. In 2008 he was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Kansas State University where he coached current Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman and Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson. He has also coached New Orleans Saints wide receiver Marquise Colston while at Hofstra and New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks while at the University of North Carolina.
As a member of the Hofstra coaching staff, Brock experienced first-hand Delaware’s football program and the pride and passion associated with it. During his press conference Brock recounted a 1995 playoff game played in Newark.
“I was on the sideline and I had goose bumps on the road and I thought to myself ‘this is where I want to be,’” Brock said. “This is what it’s all about.”
Brock made it clear that his goals are to win conference and national championships and to win right away. He also thanked Keeler for the building blocks he put in place during his time at Delaware.
Both Ziady and Brock emphasized the importance of continuing the rich tradition of Delaware football both on and off the field. Brock stated that he wants his players to have a complete experience and attack all aspects of life, from the classroom to the field. He also said he will instill his motto “together we will” in the team in the coming weeks and get to know his team and the university.
“We are going to do things right and we will be a program that the entire state will be proud of, on and off the field,” Brock said. “We are going to compete every day to be champions in and out of the classroom.”