Delaware State Hornets football
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|Delaware State Hornets Football|
|Athletic director||Derek Carter|
|Head coach||Kenneth Carter
1st year, 0–0 (–)
|Home stadium||Alumni Stadium (Delaware State)|
|Conference||Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference|
|All-time record||351–392–11 (.473)|
|Postseason bowl record||1–1 (.500)|
|Claimed national titles||1|
|Colors||‹See Tfm› ‹See Tfm›|
|Marching band||"The Approaching Storm" Delaware State University Band|
Norfolk State Spartans
Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens
The Delaware State University Hornets football team plays at 7,193-seat Alumni Stadium located in Dover, Delaware. The facility opened in 1957 as a multi-purpose for football, and track and field. The Hornets compete in Division I FCS, and are full-members of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. They are a four-time conference champion and made their first-ever FCS playoff appearance in 2007.
- 1 History
- 2 Yearly Results
- 3 Conference affiliations
- 4 Championships
- 5 Bowl games
- 6 Hornets in the pros
- 7 References
Portland State Embarrassment
On November 9, 1980, Delaware State took on QB Neil Lomax and the Portland State Vikings and were defeated 105-0 in the most lopsided loss in Division I-AA Football history. This was marked as the low point for the team and with the help of new coach Joe Purzycki the Hornets rebuilt their program. He was hired as Delaware State's head coach in 1981, and compiled a 21-21-1 overall record, including a 15-5-1 mark in his last two seasons. Bill Collick, who was Purzycki's defensive coordinator, took over the program in 1985. He led the Hornets to the team's first MEAC championship in his first season.
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Al Lavan Era
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After 2003's 1-10 debacle, Delaware State hired Alton "Al" Lavan as their new head football coach with the task of rebuilding the program once again. When Lavan was hired as head coach of the Hornets in January 2004, he promised to bring championship football back to Delaware State.
In 2007, the promise became reality.
Last season, he led the Hornets to a school-record 10 wins, their first Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) championship since 1991 and first ever appearance in the NCAA playoffs. In addition, the 2007 Hornets were ranked as high as No. 10 in the weekly SportsNetwork Football Championship Subdivision poll and were No. 15 in the final poll.
Delaware State was recognized as 2007 American Sports Wire Division I Black College National Champions and No. 2 in the final Sheridan Broadcast Network poll of Historically Black College & University teams.
Lavan was honored as the 2007 Pigskin Club of Washington, D.C., MEAC Coach-of-the-Year and Football Championship Subdivision Region II Coach-of-the-Year.
He was second in the voting for the 2007 Eddie Robinson Award, recognizing the top Football Championship Subdivision coach, and was awarded the 2008 Making A Difference Award by the DSU Alumni Association.
The Fort Pierce, Fla., native was also selected as head coach for the 2008 American Heritage Bowl/Navy-Marine Corps All-Star Classic in San Clemente, Calif. He guided the Northeast All-Stars to a 24-7 victory in the contest.
In four seasons at DSU, Lavan has posted an overall record of 29-16, including a 24-7 mark in MEAC contests. He has led the team to winning records in each of the last three seasons. In the three years prior to his arrival, the Hornets were 10-24 overall and 6-17 in the league. Delaware State had just one winning season in the eight years before Lavan took the job.
Lavan has 31-17 career record as a head coach, including a 2-1 mark during an interim stint at Eastern Michigan in 2003.
In 2006, the Hornets were 8-3 overall and 6-2 in the MEAC. It marked the first time that DSU posted back-to-back winning seasons since 1994-95, while the eight wins were the most by the team since 1991. Delaware State also appeared in the SportsNetwork Division I-AA Top 25 poll for the first time since 1992, coming in at No. 23 in week ten.
Lavan’s 2005 squad posted the Hornets’ first winning season since 2000. The team was 7-4 overall, and third in the MEAC with a 6-2 record. Delaware State was picked to finish sixth in the 2005 pre-season MEAC poll. The 2005 season also marked the first time since 1985 that the Hornets posted an undefeated record at home (5-0).
During his first season at Delaware State in 2004, Lavan led the Hornets to a 4-7 overall record and a 4-3 mark in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC), DSU’s first winning record in conference play since 2000.
The year before Lavan’s arrival, the Hornets lost their first nine games en route to a 1-10 overall record.
The highlight of the 2004 season was Lavan’s first DSU victory, a 28-23 upset of eventual MEAC champ Hampton, the Pirates ‘only loss in a 10-1 regular season.
More than the on-field improvement, Lavan has brought a change of attitude to the program.
In addition to installing the first comprehensive strength and conditioning program in team history, he spearheaded changes in the team’s academic, recruiting, practice and discipline policies. The team is also benefiting from new audio/visual and computer equipment, thanks to a generous donation from prominent alumni spurred by Lavan’s outreach efforts to university supporters.
Lavan has also demonstrated concern for his players by initiating a program to bring local and nationally recognized speakers before the team to share their stories. Among the prominent individuals offering words of wisdom are former Hornet offensive lineman Matt Horace, currently an agent with the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; Joe Purzycki, former DSU head football coach and current bank executive; former pro quarterback and current NFL executive James Harris; and former Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker.
The team’s commitment to public service is also a Lavan priority. The past four years, the Hornets have hosted holiday parties for area foster children, participated in reading programs at local schools, and provided mentoring services.
Lavan has also gained popularity around campus by "encouraging" his players to support other DSU sports teams. It is not uncommon to see Lavan and his troops cheering on the Hornets’ volleyball, softball or basketball teams during home games.
All of the above has made Lavan a popular guest on the banquet and speaking circuit during his short time in Delaware.
Lavan brought more than 30 years of professional and collegiate coaching experience to Delaware State.
Prior to accepting the Delaware State position, Lavan served for two seasons as an assistant coach at Eastern Michigan University. He was promoted to assistant head coach for the 2003 football season, and upon the late-season firing of then-head coach Jeff Woodruff, Lavan was named interim head coach. After he took over the 1-8 team, Eastern Michigan won two of its final three games.
In more than 18 years as a NFL assistant, Lavan’s resume’ includes stints with the Atlanta Falcons, Dallas Cowboys, San Francisco 49ers, Baltimore Ravens, and the Kansas City Chiefs.
He was a member of George Seifert’s 1990 Super Bowl champion San Francisco 49ers’ coaching staff. That team included former Delaware State University standout John Taylor, who caught a touchdown pass in the 49ers’ 55-10 win over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXIV.
In Dallas, Lavan worked under Hall of Fame head coach Tom Landry. He helped Cowboy running backs Tony Dorsett and Herschel Walker combine for six 1000-yard seasons.
He helped lead Dallas to division titles in 1981 and ’85, and wild card playoff berths in 1980 and ’83.
Lavan has also served as position coach for NFL all stars Roger Craig, Priest Holmes, Tom Rathman, Ernest Byner, Robert Newhouse and Bam Morris.
Lavan’s collegiate coaching tenure includes stops at Colorado State, Louisville, Iowa State, Georgia Tech, Stanford, and Washington.
He helped guide Georgia Tech to the 1978 Peach Bowl, and Washington to the 1993 Rose Bowl and 1995 Sun Bowl.
After three straight losing seasons, Al Lavan was fired from Delaware State on December 2, 2010.
Hornets vs Blue Hens Controversy
The most controversial aspect of the DSU football program was the fact that it had never been scheduled by potential instate rival University of Delaware for a regular season game. It was highly unusual for two state universities that play on the same athletic tier to not play one another, especially schools that are less than one hour's drive away from campus. Critics charged that this had to do with the fact that Delaware State is a Historically Black College. Furthermore, supporters of a game between DSU and UD claimed that it would be akin to other in-state college rivalries and would be good for the state. In response to the charges of racism on UD's part, their supporters pointed out that Delaware had scheduled and played regular season games against several other HBCUs such as Morgan State and North Carolina A&T. UD supporters also claimed that DSU's team was not as strong as the Blue Hens, and that UD's program had made commitments to other universities that they had to fulfill. Finally, UD supporters also noted the fact that the two colleges routinely meet in sports other than football.
This controversy was laid to rest when University of Delaware and Delaware State University met on the football field for the first time on November 23, 2007 in Newark, DE in the first round of the NCAA FCS Playoffs. The Fightin' Blue Hens defeated the Hornets 44-7 in front of an attendance of 19,765, the largest playoff crowd in Delaware Stadium history. In 2009, the teams began playing each other during the regular season. With the exception of 2010, the game has been played annually, with each of these games played at Delaware Stadium on the UD campus in Newark. Delaware has won all four regular season meetings to date (2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013) by an average of 25 points per game, including the most recent meeting 42-21 on September 7, 2013. The next meeting is scheduled for September 6, 2014. Due to the one-sided nature of the contests in the manufactured rivalry, officials from both schools are unsure of whether the game will continue to be played after the contract expires with the 2014 game.
Under Kermit Blount
|Season||All Games||Regular Season||Conference||Post-Season Play||Sports Network Poll Ranking||FCS Coaches Poll Ranking|
|Coach Unknown (Independent) (1924–1930)|
|James Powell Calvin (Independent) (1931–1931)|
|1931||James Powell Calvin||2-2-1|
|James Powell Calvin:||2-2-1|
|John L. McKinley (Independent) (1932–1932)|
|1932||John L. McKinley||2-5|
|John L. McKinley:||2-5|
|Edward L. Jackson (Independent) (1933–1933)|
|1933||Edward L. Jackson||4-4|
|Edward L. Jackson (Middle Atlantic Athletic Association) (1934–1934)|
|1934||Edward L. Jackson||8-0||1st|
|Edward L. Jackson (Independent) (1935–1943)|
|1935||Edward L. Jackson||7-1|
|1936||Edward L. Jackson||1-3-1|
|1937||Edward L. Jackson||1-0|
|1938||Edward L. Jackson||0-1|
|1939||Edward L. Jackson||0-2|
|1941||Edward L. Jackson||0-4|
|1942||Edward L. Jackson||3-1-1|
|1943||No Team Due To WW2|
|Edward L. Jackson (Central Intercollegiate Athletics Association) (1944–1945)|
|1944||Edward L. Jackson||2-2|
|1945||Edward L. Jackson||3-3|
|Edward L. Jackson:||29-21-2|
|Thomas R. Conrad (Central Intercollegiate Athletics Association) (1946–1949)|
|1946||Thomas R. Conrad||5-4||W Florida N&I Flower Bowl|
|1947||Thomas R. Conrad||4-4|
|1948||Thomas R. Conrad||4-5|
|1949||Thomas R. Conrad||3-5-1|
|Thomas R. Conrad:||16-18-1|
|Robert M. White (Central Intercollegiate Athletics Association) (1950–1951)|
|1950||Robert M. White||2-7-1|
|1951||Robert M. White||2-7|
|Robert M. White:||4-14|
|Willard S. Jones (Central Intercollegiate Athletics Association) (1952–1952)|
|1952||Willard S. Jones||1-7|
|Willard S. Jones:||1-7|
|Edward L. Jackson (Central Intercollegiate Athletics Association) (1953–1956)|
|1953||Edward L. Jackson||4-4|
|1954||Edward L. Jackson||7-1|
|1955||Edward L. Jackson||7-1|
|1956||Edward L. Jackson||7-1-1|
|Edward L. Jackson:||25-7|
|Bennie J. George (Central Intercollegiate Athletics Association) (1957–1959)|
|1957||Bennie J. George||6-2|
|1958||Bennie J. George||3-5|
|1959||Bennie J. George||1-7|
|Bennie J. George:||10-14|
|Preston Mitchell (Central Intercollegiate Athletics Association) (1960–1960)|
|Roy D. Moore (Central Intercollegiate Athletics Association) (1961–1964)|
|1961||Roy D. Moore||6-3|
|1962||Roy D. Moore||4-5|
|1963||Roy D. Moore||2-5-1|
|1964||Roy D. Moore||3-7|
|Roy D. Moore:||15-20-1|
|Ulysses S. Washington (Central Intercollegiate Athletics Association) (1965–1966)|
|1965||Ulysses S. Washington||4-5|
|1966||Ulysses S. Washington||3-5|
|Ulysses S. Washington:||7-10|
|Arnold Jeter (Central Intercollegiate Athletics Association) (1967–1970)|
|Arnold Jeter (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) (1971–1974)|
|Edmund Wyche (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) (1975–1978)|
|1977||Edmund Wyche||7-4||L Florida A&M Orange Blossom Classic|
|Charles Henderson (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) (1979–1980)|
|Joseph Purzycki (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) (1981–1984)|
|William Collick (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) (1985–1996)|
|John McKenzie (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) (1997–1999)|
|Ben Blacknall (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) (2000–2002)|
|Ben Blacknall/Butch Posey (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) (2003–2003)|
|2003||Ben Blacknall/Butch Posey*||1-10||1-6||7th|
|Alton Lavan (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) (2004–2010)|
|2007||Alton Lavan||10-2||9-0||1st||L Delaware Fightin' Blue Hens NCAA FCS First Round||15|
|Kermit Blount (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) (2011–Present)|
|National championship Conference title Conference division title|
|#Post 1996 rankings from final Sports Network poll.|
- In 1987, Delaware State was defeated by Howard 12-7, finishing with a 4-1 record in conference play, second to Howard. Howard was later forced to forfeit all victories that season for using ineligible players, moving Delaware State to 5-0, at which time the MEAC stripped the title and awarded it to Delaware State.
- In 1991, Delaware State was defeated by Bethune-Cookman 28-20, however, it was determined that BCU used an ineligible player and the Wildcats were forced to forfeit the game. The victory gave Delaware State a 5-1 conference record, tying them with North Carolina A&T, who the Hornets had beaten earlier in the season, for a share of the conference championship.
- In 2003, Ben Blacknall coached games 1-6 and was fired with an 0-6 record. Butch Posey was promoted to head coach for games 7-11 and finished with a 1-4 record.
- 1924–1933: Independent
- 1934: Middle Atlantic Athletic Association
- 1935–1943: Independent
- 1944–1970: Central Intercollegiate Athletics Association
- 1971–Present: Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference
|2007||Alton Lavan||10–2||Black College National Champions|
|Total national championships||1|
|1934||Edward L. Jackson||Middle Atlantic Athletic Association|
|1956||Edward L. Jackson||Central Intercollegiate Athletics Association|
|1985||William Collick||Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference||5-0|
|1987||William Collick||Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference||5-0|
|1988||William Collick||Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference||4-2|
|1989||William Collick||Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference||5-1|
|1991||William Collick||Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference||5-1|
|2007||Alton Lavan||Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference||9–0|
|Total conference championships||8|
|Flower Bowl||W 7-6||January 1, 1947||1946||Florida N&I||Tom Conrad|
|Orange Blossom Classic||L 37-15||December 3, 1977||1977||Florida A&M||Orange Bowl||Miami, Florida||Edmund Wyche|
|Total bowl appearances||2|
Hornets in the pros
- DE Steve Coleman - Denver Broncos
- FB Steve Davis - Pittsburgh Steelers/New York Jets
- DE/DT Uhuru Hamiter - New Orleans Saints
- CB Victor Heflin - St. Louis Cardinals
- C Jamaal Jackson - Philadelphia Eagles
- C Chris Jones - New York Giants
- TE David Jones - San Diego Chargers
- CB Tim King - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- FL Al Lawson - New York Jets (AFL)
- WR Shaheer McBride - Philadelphia Eagles
- WR Darnerien McCants - Washington Redskins/Philadelphia Eagles
- OG Rod Milstead - San Francisco 49ers/Washington Redskins
- LB Frank Nicholson - New York Giants
- DE Lybrant Robinson - Washington Redskins
- WR John Taylor - San Francisco 49ers
- WR Walter Tullis - Green Bay Packers
- WR Clarence Weathers - Cleveland Browns/New England Patriots/Green Bay Packers/Kansas City Chiefs
- OG Gordon Wright - Philadelphia Eagles (NFL)/New York Jets (AFL)
- "Lomax Strikes Again, 105 to 0 - Free Preview - The New York Times". Select.nytimes.com. November 10, 1980. Retrieved 2008-12-08.
- "Delaware State University Hornet Athletics". Desu.edu. Retrieved 2008-12-08.[dead link]
- beepbeep (January 14, 2008). "MEAC/SWAC SPORTS MAIN STREET: DSU Lavan to coach in American Heritage Bowl". Meacswacsports.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2008-12-08.
-  Al Lavan Bio
-  DSU fires football coach Lavan
- Jeff, By (September 24, 2007). "ESPN Page 2 - Pearlman: Yellow Blue Hens". Sports.espn.go.com. Retrieved 2008-12-08.
- "ESPN - Delaware rolls past Delaware State in first round of playoffs - NCAA College Football Recap". Sports.espn.go.com. Retrieved 2008-12-08.