BY VALENTINA CAVAL
Editor in Chief
ESU’s Football Coach, Denny Douds, was recognized at Friday’s Alumni Banquet and granted the “Teacher of the Year Award.” Douds also won his 243rd game this past Saturday—bringing ESU a win for homecoming weekend.
“He’s a great person, and coach on and off the field. I am honored to play for a legend like Coach Douds,” said Nose Tackle, Jon Noble. “He treats every one of his football players like his son.”
Douds was born and raised in Indiana, Pennsylvania.
It was in his eighth grade classroom—influenced by the fathers of his classmates who were coaches at IUP—that he decided he would one day be a coach.
“I said, you know, your fathers look like they have a lot of fun going to work; I want to be that,” said Douds.
He received his Bachelor’s degree from Slippery Rock University in Physical Education, and his Master’s from West Virginia University. Douds played college ball at Slippery Rock University, and was captain of his football team.
He has been coaching and teaching at ESU for 48 years. This year marks his 40th as the head football coach. The homecoming game marked his 416th career game.
“His knowledge of football and academia are second to none, and that is what makes him a great mentor,” said Linebacker, Cody Simcox. “ There is no one else I would rather have leading me, whether it be in school or on the field.’
Douds ranks third among active Division II coaches, and has won the most games in the history of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.
His first step for the Warriors, however, was actually also spent off the field, and in a bit of water. Douds coached both ESU’s swimming and football teams when he first started.
“When you look at a team, it’s like having 85 kids,” said Douds. “We expect our kids to get it done in all areas. We want to see every one of our kids graduate.”
“I think of Coach Douds as a father figure. He is a great teacher and coach,” said Cornerback, Teron Dobbs. “He is the reason I committed here for football, I love him to death, and I’m glad he is my coach.”
The coach has experienced losses –that were not just unveiled by the numbers lit up on the scoreboards on Saturdays—during his time here. “We’ve lost a couple kids along the way to accidents,” said Douds. “That is really though on the team as a whole.”
According to Douds, ESU’s football team is not just about their games on Saturdays.
The football program—even during off season—has its strength programs, plyometric programs, spring practice, eleven weeks of summer spent running and lifting to get them in shape to come back for the season. ESU also has the oldest seven on seven camp in Pennsylvania.
“It’s teaching life through a particular sport,” said Douds. “It’s our job to take them a step beyond what they think they can be.”
Douds remains as one of the two coaches in the PASSHE system that teaches and coaches.
“We’re going through some circumstances right now at ESU; it’s some hardship for some people,” said Douds. “It’s a bump on the road, but if we’re all striving for excellence, we’re going to be great.”
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