The Collegian
Saturday, May 28, 2022

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Rocco introduced as Richmond's new football coach

The main concern on everyone's minds at Wednesday evening's press conference introducing the University of Richmond's new head football coach was obvious, and understandable.

After making his opening remarks, Danny Rocco, who was announced as Richmond's 35th football coach in school history, was hounded by questions regarding stability. Being the fourth different coach in four years (and sixth in seven years), Rocco expected the concern, even joking with the media.

"This is my first day, right?" Rocco asked, laughing, when asked whether he'd be here for the long haul.

"I am certainly committed to making a difference in the Richmond community," he went on to say. "This is a place where you can certainly see yourself for the duration of your career, so I'm committed to moving forward. I'm committed to a five-year contract, and I certainly plan on seeing that contract through."

Rocco, who spent the past six seasons coaching Liberty University, replaces interim coach Wayne Lineburg, who led the Spiders to a 3-8 season after taking over just days before the first game when then-coach Latrell Scott resigned following his DWI.

Jim Miller, Richmond's athletic director, made it a point to commend Lineburg on the job he did this past season.

"He took over under difficult circumstances, and we're very proud of the job Wayne did," Miller said, to the sound of applause from the fans and players in attendance.

Before taking over as interim coach, Lineburg was the team's offensive coordinator. That position, along with the other coaches on Lineburg's staff, is in jeopardy with Rocco receiving power to assemble his staff, which is often the case when a new coach takes over.

"I certainly have definitive plans for putting my staff together," Rocco said. "I sat with all 10 of my coaches yesterday at Liberty. I've offered a job to a number of them, and I anticipate them accepting the jobs."

Rocco also said he would interview each member of the current staff at Richmond.

"I am very excited about retaining a number of coaches from this current staff," he said. "When I took my first coaching job six years ago at Liberty, I kept five of the coaches that were on the previous staff. I'm certainly hopeful to have some continuity here and hire some people that have some experience recruiting to Richmond and understanding the landscape here in the [Colonial Athletic Conference]."

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In his six years at Liberty, Rocco led his teams to a 47-20 record, winning the Big South Conference four consecutive seasons. Rocco predominately ran a spread offense and a 3-4 defense at Liberty, contrary to the pro style offense and 4-3 defense the Spiders have played in recent seasons.

"I think the 3-4 offers some very legitimate matchup issues that are very positive in playing a variety of different offenses," Rocco said. "I've never been a spread offense guy. When I first came to Liberty, we were a two backs, sort of pro style, run with power, play action pass kind of football team. We kind of evolved into more of a spread team because of the talent and, in particular, the quarterback we had. I really think that we have to evaluate our talent here before we make any definitive decisions with our systems or style of play."

Rocco also made it a point of emphasis that Richmond's academic strength was a major influence in his decision to come coach the Spiders.

"I wanna be crystal clear as to why I'm here today as your head football coach," he said. "I was extremely motivated by the academic reputation and excellence that is part of the culture here. The football program is only three years removed from having won a national championship competing in the CAA, the best conference in FCS football."

He went on to note that his father had been a professor, and that he had been raised to place value on education.

Other Notes: Rocco's wife, Julie, son, David, and daughter, Amy, were all in attendance. David is a sophomore at Liberty and Amy is a freshman at University of Virginia... Rocco mentioned a motto of his, "Win Today," talking about how it means winning in all aspects of life, on and off the field... He also said he has "seven different, very specific points" that he wants to accomplish before signing day, the first of which will be to evaluate the personnel.

Contact staff writer David Weissman at david.weissman@richmond.edu

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