The Fightn’ Blue Hens stepped on the Tiger’s neck from the start, after an outstanding Club meeting last Thursday. Full meeting report below in this post!
We meet again this Friday, November 3rd in the Bob Carpenter Club. Doors open at 11:00, lunch at 11:15, program at noon.
Speakers: Asst. Head Coach Terence Archer and UD Hall of Fame and All-American Defensive Back, George Schmitt
Defensive Line Coach Sam Daniels
Offensive MVP for Hampton, Phil Lutz
Sports Journalist, Dan Steenkamer
Field Hockey Head Coach, Rolf van de Kerkhof
We will need to score more points than Towson does, stated UD defensive line coach, Sam Daniels. Well, it appears the Blue Hens achieved this goal as the Tigers were dominated by Delaware 51-13! The defense stood strong led up front by the three down linemen in Delaware’s 3-2-6 scheme where Daniels said Delaware rotates nine players. Those nine players continue to improve from last year and throughout this season because they are more successful getting off the blocks of the opposing offensive linemen in the run game.
When asked about recruiting, Coach Daniles emphasized that, apart from the obvious talent observed on film, the current staff recruits kids who share the team’s core values. Before a high school recruit or transfer is invited for a visit to campus, players are vetted by Coach Carty and the appropriate position coach along with recommendations from third parties.
We are not only having success on the field this year but also attracting talented and solid young men into the program.
Dan Steenkamer, Writer, Hero Sports. Managing Sports Editor,
UD Review. On-air personality, WVUD Sports
At the Blue Hen Touchdown Club, we celebrate Dan’s success in his career because he is a UD Student but also graduate of St.Elizabeth’s High School in Wilmington. A Delaware fan since childhood, Dan has developed into an expert on FCS football particularly in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions.
Dan provided news about UD as related to FCS, the CAA, and the NCAA.
1. Dan predicted the FCS playoff committee rankings would place Delaware between 6 and 10 in the nation. UD did even better at number 5 as the ranking was published later in the day!
2. The four-game limitation to be able to redshirt a player will not include playoff games.
3. The CAA is having preliminary discussions with Merrimack and Sacred Heart who are leaving the NEC after this year.
Dan reports that UD officials have expressed their
disappointment about the inclusion of teams into the CAA
over the past few years.
4. Delaware is definitely looking to make a move into the FBS world of college football with the MAC as a possible
Rolf van de Kerkhof
An elite coach, Rolf has coached his teams, during his 13 years at UD, to a National Championship, nine CAA tournament championships and six CAA regular season titles. He and his staff have also been named CAA coach of the year three times, twice as NFHCA regional coach of the year and once as NFHCA Division I coach of the year.
So when your team has a rare down year for Delaware Field Hockey in 2023, Coach van de Kerkhof remains positive and tells his players the true definition of a champion is when you give your very, very best and don’t worry about what others say. 2023 brought injuries to two of his best players either for the entire season or most of it necessitating the playing of young players (3-4 first year student-athletes) who may not have been quite ready to play consistently at this level.
Coach pointed out that perennial powers like Princeton and Connecticut also had down years. He told us that his players never threw in the towel, continued to show emotion, and worked hard all year.
We are looking forward to those guiding principles and a
developing talented team to get back to the top next year. And so is Coach Rolf!
We had a great meeting last week, with OL Coach, Chris Rogers, MVP Chase McGowan and UD Hall of Fame inductee, Gino Gradkowski. Photos here, and a full report:
Coach Chris Rogers
As an all-league player at Iowa Central Community College and a starter at Sam Houston State University, Chris Rogers turned his playing expertise on the offensive line into a rising coaching career. From coaching in high school to the community college level, Coach Roger’s career burst through as the tight ends coach and then the offensive line coach at SHSU before joining Ryan Carty’s staff at Delaware in December 2021.
Asked about his gameplan as the OL coach and run game coordinator, Chris simply said having his guys block as many defenders as possible allowing #21 (Marcus Yarns) to beat the last guy. It is conceivable that the blocking scheme may be a bit more complicated but Coach stated that if you have good players who play fast and execute well you will win. The key to his line’s success this year though has been the mutual love shown from coach to players and players to coach. Through these feelings a level of trust has been established and the players have bought into the offense’s concepts.
Because of their busy schedules, the BHTC headline coach usually leaves after speaking to continue to prepare for Saturday’s game. However, Coach Rogers took the time to listen to the next speaker, a former great Delaware offensive lineman for whom Coach Rogers said he wished had remaining eligibility, Gino Gradkowski.
A fourth-round draft choice of the Baltimore Ravens out of Delaware who owns a Super Bowl ring, Gino expressed his admiration of the job that Coach Rogers is doing with the OL and the overall excitement that Coach Carty’s staff has brought back to Delaware football. He stated that the staff makes football alums feel very much at home. It also seemed appropriate to Gino that Patrick Shupp, a starting guard, won the BHTC Offensive MVP award on the day that he was speaking to the club. As to playing in the NFL, Gino thought it was crazy that he was drafted so high (or at all) but gave credit to his OL coach at Delaware, Damian Wroblewski, who is now at James Madison and his own passion for the game and for wanting to be a pro. On an interesting note in a league that does not have a plethora of players from Delaware, Gino played with a Delaware graduate on each of the four stops in the NFL, Joe Flacco, Mike “Pops” Adams, Zach Kerr, and Paul Worrilow. A very humble man who feels his induction into the Delaware Athletics Hall of Fame this year is undeserved rather saved his comments for Jerry Oravitz, our Senior Associate AD for Football, who he feels should be inducted due to his dedication to the University and to UD Football. Well, Gino we agree with your sentiments about Jerry but know that your induction into the Hall is truly well-deserved. But your induction into the Hall is so appropriate, not only your football accomplishments, but your accomplishments in life!
Offensive MVP #80 Phil Lutz
Defensive MVP, #44 Dillon Trainer
Special Teams MVP, #17 Jourdan Townsend
Next Meeting: Thursday, 10/26/2023. Bob Carpenter Club. Doors open at 11:00, food served at 11:15. Program at Noon.
Assistant Coach/Defensive Line, Sam Daniels
Special Guests: Sports Journalist and WVUD broadcaster, Dan Steenkamer.
AND UD Field Hockey Coach, Rolf van de Kerkhof
Offensive Line Coach, Chris Rogers
Chase McGowan Receiving His MVP Award for NC A&T
Credits: Mark Campbell, photos and Mark Werrell, report
We had an excellent meeting prior to to the NC A&T game. Thanks to our speakers, Bob Lundquist, Nick LaMarca and Defensive Coordinator, Manny Rojas for their contributions:
The University of Delaware is fortunate that Manny Rojas is an excellent
defensive coordinator and not a meteorologist. A sly smile crossed his face
prognosticating to the Touchdown Club attendees that the rain would stop
just prior to gametime and resume when the game ends. Well, there are
some fans in attendance last Saturday who are still drying out!
Coach Rojas said that the development of the younger players on the
defensive side of the ball has been very good. Replacing 8 of 11 starters
as the season started has been a challenge but the players are having fun
meeting that challenge. Thus far, the results have reflected the
development as the defense has yielded just 7 touchdowns and 5 field
goals in 5 games (not including the Penn State game).
Coach gave us a brief scouting report for A&T which included an excellent
kick off return man (to whom we did not kick the ball), a large OL, hard
physical running backs, a terrific blocking tight end, and a QB that could run
Addressing recruiting, the make up of the roster, and graduating 31 players
last year, Coach Rojas stated that in today’s environment coaches need to
find the best fit for the team each year. There is a need to balance
graduate transfers, transfers, and freshmen.
As the Senior Associate AD for External Relations, Nick is responsible for
four main areas within the athletic department: Communications and
Creative Services, Graphic Design, Marketing and Engagement, and
Mutimedia. His leadership tasks include trying to fill each sports venue,
telling the story about UD’s legacy and future, and getting the information
about UD sports out nationally. Nick has been with UD for about 2 years
originally hired to lead the Marketing Department. His duties have been
expanded to lead the areas listed. He stated he loves UD and, if we can
read into his comments, doesn’t miss the commute from North Jersey to
the Bronx where he worked for Fordham University prior to joining
What a pleasure to hear from former player Bob Lundquist who graduated
from Delaware in 1981. From playing on the freshman football team to
being elected captain of the 1980 team (the lone captain!), Bob gave us
some “Tubbyisms” to enjoy.
When he visited campus in the Spring of 1977 and had not yet made up his
mind as to where he would matriculate (Colgate, Bucknell, Brown and
Maine were among others schools recruiting him), Tubby told Bob, “We’d
love to have you come here, but we’re not going to kiss you”. The
comment seemed to have sealed the deal for Bob, as he committed to
Delaware shortly thereafter.
One year when scheduled to play Temple at Veteran Stadium, the team
traveled early on the Friday before the Saturday game to see and have a
walk through at the cavernous venue. Tubby told the team, “We came on
Friday because I don’t want you to pee in your pants on Saturday”. The
preview worked as Delaware went on to defeat the Owls.
After Bob received the great honor of being named the team’s lone captain,
Tubby reminded him, “It’s great that your teammates elected you captain,
but don’t forget to be a player first”. It’s obvious that Bob took this as a
metaphor for his life after football as well.
Bob was quick to let the club know that he was on the teams that defeated
both Temple and Villanova two years in a row. For those of us who hold
those rivalries as important, we cheered Bob’s enthusiasm.
Our MVPs for the week, and information on this THURSDAY’S meeting:
Offense – #71 Patrick Shupp
Defense – #12 Chase McGowan
Special Teams – #21 Marcus Yarns
Next Meeting: Thursday, October 19th in the Bob Carpenter Club. Doors open at 11:00. Food served at 11:15. Program starts at noon.
Coach to Speak: Offensive Line Coach, Chris Rogers
Guest Speaker: Super Bowl Champion and UD Hall of Fame Inductee, Gino Gradkowski
Bob Lundquist, 1980 Team Captain………………Bob’s Painting from Head Coach Tubby Raymond
Defensive Coordinator, Manny Rojas
Nick LaMarca, Sr. Associate AD, External Relations AND New Dad!
Photos, Courtesy of Mark Campbell
Meeting Report, Courtesy of Mark Werrell
Details on the Duquesne MVPs, our next meeting, and a few pictures from last Friday’s meeting. Read further for an excellent review of the meeting details. Thanks to Mark Werrell for the meeting report!
OFFENSE: #14 Ryan O’Connor
DEFENSE: #0 Jackson Taylor
SPECIAL TEAMS: #13 Jared Duncan
NEXT BHTC Meeting: Friday October 13th. Doors open at 11:00, Lunch served at 11:15, Program starts at Noon. In the Bob Carpenter Club.
Coach To Speak: Defensive Coordinator, Manny Rojas
Nick LaMarca, Senior Associate AD, External Relations
Bob Lundquist, UD Football Alumnus, Class of 1981 and UD Football Captain 1980
Blue Hen tight ends coach Garret Smith let the club know
that blocking communication would be the offensive key to
the game against Duquesne. Well, the players must have
been talking quite a bit as the Hens rolled for 119 yards on
the ground and 347 through the air.
Led by Braden Brose, the tight end room appears to be
clicking this year. Coach Smith described Brose as a
leader by example who much rather than block an
opponent into the ground than to catch a pass. By the way
Braden happens to be the fourth leading receiver on the
Former Dover (DE) High School star Elijah Sessoms, a
red-shirt freshman, is the first off the bench to spell Brose
and to go bigger when two tight ends are needed. The
other players are settled into their special teams roles this
When marching band director Heidi Sarver asked her
counterpart at Penn State this year when the UD should
play during the game, he said it didn’t matter. Inquiring
further the Penn State director said, “no one will hear you
Well, that may have been true but Heidi has made a lot of
noise here at UD as she prepares to move into retirement.
Telling the lunch attendees that “it was time” and “I want to
live”, Ms. Sarver stated that she finally found the Delaware
beaches after sixteen years and wanted to enjoy her home
in Pike Creek.
As she always wanted to teach, she adapted this desire
into being a band director because of her love of music,
her love of the activity and her love watching and helping
kids take risks. Gameday is fun, icing on the cake but is
only 2% of her job. She compared her work creating the
half-time show each year to a professor (which she is)
writing a new text book each year.
She is not allowed to recruit but rather can only send a
letter out to those incoming first year students who have
indicated interest. Furthermore, that letter is amended to
a great extent by the Admissions Department so as to not
overwhelm the students and their parents.
Bigger time football schools actually cut kids from the
program but Heidi takes every student that she can. Band
members receive a $400 scholarship, the same in 2023 as
it was in 1995 when she first started.
Heidi has brought the “Pride of Delaware” a long way,
building a band of less than 100 members to over 300.
She has cut through red tape, celebrated football victories,
and helped hundreds of students enjoy music and their
She will be sorely missed for her impact on students and
on football gameday but she will take many memories with
her. From barely making the national championship game
in Chattanooga in 2003 (late arriving flight) to The Tub
being filled for the band’s pre-game entrance, Heidi I.
Sarver has left an enduring legacy.
Congratulations Heidi from your fans at the Blue Hen
Touchdown Club and please visit us again!