University of Richmond’s head football coach, Danny Rocco, received a contract extension through 2017, Athletic Director Keith Gill announced on Monday. 2012 was Rocco’s first season at Richmond.
The contract “was an extension of good will from our administration,” Rocco said. The extension validated the excitement felt by President Edward Ayers, members of the Board of Trustees and Gill’s excitement about the direction and future of the football program, Rocco said.
“I think that was 100 percent the right thing to do,” sophomore quarterback Michael Strauss said of the extension. “I hope he’s here the whole time I’m here.”
Rocco led the Spiders to an 8-3 record, which is a five-game improvement from their 3-8 season in 2011. The Spiders also went from last place in the Colonial Athletic Association with a 0-8 conference record to co-champions in 2012 with a 6-2 conference record. Big wins in 2012 included road wins at Villanova and William and Mary, as well as a home win against then-No. 2 James Madison.
The extension serves as a strong statement of support for the rest of the coaching staff, Rocco said. The extension offers some real stability to the assistant coaches, he said.
Rocco said, most importantly, the extension gave the players some steadiness after five years of constant coaching changes. When Rocco was introduced as Richmond’s head coach in December 2011, he became the team’s fourth head coach in five years (Mike London, Latrell Scott and Wayne Lineburg being the others).
“When a statement is made like this by our administration, it validates to the student-athletes that they are committed to the coach that is in place,” Rocco said.
Strauss said: “It allows players coming in and the players here to know [Rocco] is set to be the coach here for a good period of time. He brings a lot to the program.”
Stability in a program is important for recruiting, Rocco said. Because of Rocco’s extension, the incoming recruits know “they’ll have the opportunity to play for the [coach] that recruited them,” he said. National Signing Day for high school seniors was on Wednesday, two days after Rocco’s extension was announced, and Richmond announced 13 signees.
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