VMI’s Rocco receives contract extension, finalist for coach of the year

LEXINGTON, Va. – Just two days after he led the Keydets to a victory over No. 14 Western Carolina, VMI Football Head Coach Danny Rocco received an extension that keeps him at the Institute through 2028. On Monday, Rocco was also named a finalist for the 2023 Eddie Robinson National Coach of the Year Award presented by Stats Perform.

This marks the seventh time in Rocco’s career that he has been named a National Coach of the Year Finalist, having now earned that distinction at four different FCS programs (Liberty, Richmond, Delaware, VMI).

Picked to finish last in the Southern Conference, Rocco inherited a team that went 1-10 and 0-8 in league play a year ago and quickly flipped the script, leading VMI to a 5-6 overall record and an even 4-4 conference record as the Keydets finished tied for fifth in the SoCon in his first year at the helm.

Three of VMI’s conference losses came to programs that made the FCS Playoffs in Mercer, Furman and Chattanooga, whom the Keydets nearly upset (24-23), while he scored a number of big victories including re-capturing the Silver Shako with a win at The Citadel. VMI did indeed upset a top-25 team to cap off Rocco’s impressive year one, as the Keydets defeated No. 14 Western Carolina 27-24 to end the season this past Saturday.

The five wins on the season marks just the fourth time in the last 20 years that a VMI Football team has recorded five or more victories and recorded at least four conference wins.

When Rocco and the Keydets earned their season-opening victory over Davidson to start the year, Rocco became one of just two active coaches (Tom Masella) to earn wins at four different FCS programs, continuing his career trend of turning programs around in year one.