social
FBSTH
MBB
summer special mm
 
Football Coaching Staff
Danny Rocco
Head Coach
Coach Info:
Position: Head Coach
Hometown: Huntingdon, PA
Alma Mater: Wake Forest
Graduating Year: 1984
Experience: 1st Year

Entering his fifth season at the helm of the Spiders, Danny Rocco has returned the program to national prominence with back-to-back FCS Playoff appearances, including reaching the semifinals in 2015.

In the past decade, only four coaches at the FCS level have eight or more wins in seven different seasons, Rocco is one of them, with his teams both at Richmond and Liberty totaling 80 wins over the past 10 seasons, which is particularly impressive knowing that the two programs were a combined 4-18 in the seasons prior to Rocco’s arrival.

During his ten seasons as a head coach (four at Richmond, six at Liberty), he has been a National Coach of the Year Finalist five times, he has won six conference championships and four conference Coach of the Year honors.  

Even more impressive is that the six conference championships have come with five different starting quarterbacks leading the way for Rocco, all of whom earned all-conference accolades.

Rocco has also been named The Touchdown Club of Richmond's NCAA Division I Commonwealth of Virginia Coach of the Year on two occasions, including last fall after the Spiders’ run to a national ranking of #3 and the FCS Semifinals.

In January of 2016, Rocco was elected to the American Football Coaches Association Board of Trustees.

In his ten seasons as a head coach, Rocco has coached 144 all-conference honorees and 28 student-athletes who garnered All-American honors, including four Spiders last fall in Brian Brown, Jacobi Green, David Jones and Nick Ritcher.

Twelve different players under Rocco’s tutelage have gone on to earn professional contracts, including two this past fall with Ritcher’s signing with the Titans and Reggie Diggs signing with the Redskins.

His teams have finished in the final FCS Top-25 poll in seven of the past eight seasons, including finishing #3 in the country after last year’s run to the FCS semifinals.

When Rocco arrived on campus, his impact was immediate, ushering in a five-win turnaround en route to an 8-3 season and a share of the CAA Championship in just his first season. It was just a glimpse of the success that would follow in the next three seasons.

He has helped guide Richmond to back-to-back FCS playoff appearances for the first time since 2008-2009. His 33 wins are the most in the first four years of any head coaching tenure and rank seventh all-time in total wins.

During his time with the Spiders, Richmond has defeated 11 nationally-ranked opponents, including five straight wins over William & Mary and a victory over then-No.3 JMU during the 2015 season when ESPN’s College GameDay was in Harrisonburg.

At Liberty, Rocco quickly made the Flames into a Big South powerhouse, winning Big South Conference Championships in four of his six seasons in Lynchburg. His time at Liberty was one of the most successful stints in program history. Rocco arrived at Liberty following the program's 1-10 finish in 2005 and transformed the program as the architect of six consecutive winning seasons with the Flames. During his first season in 2006, Liberty won five more games (6-5) than the previous year, an improvement that tied for the best FCS turnaround in the nation that season.

As a result of his immediate impact on the program, Rocco was named Big South Coach of the Year for the first time in school history, the first of three-straight years he would receive the honor. He would go on to be named a finalist for the national Eddie Robinson Award and Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award in each of the final three seasons in Lynchburg.

Since the team's stunning turnaround in 2006, Rocco's teams continued to dominate in the Big South Conference and beyond. The Flames rolled to a 47-20 overall record and an impressive 26-5 mark in Big South play under Rocco, winning no fewer than seven games in each of his final five seasons. Nationally, Liberty finished the last four years ranked inside the Top 25 in both major FCS polls.    

During Rocco's six years at the helm in Lynchburg, the Flames captured their first-ever Big South Championship in 2007 - the first of four consecutive conference titles. During this four-year span, Rocco had the third-highest winning percentage among FCS coaches nationally with his 34-11 record (.756).

Before becoming a head coach, Rocco spent 23 seasons at the BCS or NFL levels.

Prior to his arrival at Liberty, Rocco spent the previous five seasons at Virginia. He was a part of four-consecutive bowl appearances for the Cavaliers, including back-to-back Continental Tire Bowl victories in 2002 and 2003. During his time in Charlottesville, UVA piled up 37 wins with Rocco serving as the associate head coach and linebackers coach under Al Groh.

In addition to his coaching duties with the Cavaliers, he also served as the recruiting coordinator during his first two years in Charlottesville. His 2002 recruiting class was ranked in the top 10 in the nation by many of the major recruiting services, including a fifth-place ranking by ESPN.

Prior to UVA, Rocco spent the 2000 season alongside Groh as an assistant linebacker and special teams coach with the New York Jets. Before joining the Jets, he was the linebackers coach at Maryland during the 1998 and 1999 campaigns. 

Prior to his time in College Park, Rocco spent four seasons at the University of Texas, where the Longhorns captured three straight conference titles, including winning the inaugural Big 12 Championship in 1996 and earning three consecutive trips to bowl games (Sun Bowl, Sugar Bowl and Fiesta Bowl).

Before Tom Coughlin was a Super Bowl winning coach with the New York Giants, he was Rocco’s mentor at Boston College for two seasons. As a defensive assistant, Rocco was a part of the revitalization of the Golden Eagles, returning the program to the national stage as participants in the 1992 Hall of Fame Bowl and the 1993 Carquest Bowl.

Rocco also spent the 1987 season as the linebackers coach at Colorado under Bill McCartney and three seasons as the linebackers coach at Tulsa.

The start of Rocco’s coaching career came at his alma mater, Wake Forest, where he spent three seasons in total, two as a graduate assistant and one as the defensive line coach during the 1986 season.

As a player, Rocco’s collegiate career began at Penn State, where he earned two varsity letters and competed in the 1979 Liberty Bowl and the 1980 Fiesta Bowl before transferring to Wake Forest. While in Winston-Salem, he was a two-year starter and senior captain for Groh.

He was no stranger to coaching after growing up in a football family. His father, Frank Rocco, Sr., served as an assistant coach at Penn State under Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno before joining the Liberty staff in 2000. Frank Rocco, Jr., also joined the Flames staff in 2000 as a wide receivers and quarterbacks coach and received a promotion to offensive coordinator prior to his departure in 2003. Frank, and brother, Dave, are both currently coaching at the high school level in Virginia.

A native of Huntingdon, Pa., Rocco is married to the former Julie Mills. They are the parents of two children, David and Amy.

Year School Record Conf. Record   Conf. Finish Notes                                     
2006  Liberty  6-5 2-2 3rd • Most improved FCS team in the nation (+5 wins)
• Big South Coach of the Year 
2007 Liberty     8-3 4-0 1st • Big South Champions
• Big South Coach of the Year
2008 Liberty 10-2 5-0 1st • Big South Champions
• Big South Coach of the Year
• Finalist for National Coach of the Year
• Final Ranking #15/14
2009 Liberty 8-3 5-1 1st • Big South Champions
• Big South Coach of the Year
• Finalist for National Coach of the Year
• Final Ranking #21/22
2010 Liberty 8-3 5-1 1st • Big South Champions
• Finalist for National Coach of the Year
• Final Ranking #15/17
2011 Liberty 7-4 5-1 2nd • Final Ranking #25/25 
2012 Richmond    8-3 6-2 T-1st • Improved win total from 2011 (+5)
• CAA Champions
• TD Club of Richmond Coach of the Year
• Finalist for National Coach of the Year
• Final Ranking #18/18
2013 Richmond 6-6 4-4 T-5th • Posted a 4-0 record in November, beating, earning wins over the #22 and #18 teams in the nation 
2014 Richmond 9-5 5-3 3rd • FCS Playoff Second Round
• Final Ranking #16/16
2015 Richmond 10-4 6-2 T-1st

• FCS Playoff Semifinals
• Final Ranking #3/#4
• CAA Champions
• TD Club of Richmond Coach of the Year
• Finalist for National Coach of the Year

  Totals 80-38    47-16   • Six conference championships
• Four-time Big South Coach of the Year 
• Five-time National Coach of the Year Finalist