Denny Douds Out, Jimmy Terwilliger In

Photo Credit/ Ronald Hanaki Coach Jimmy Terwilliger changes the culture of East Stroudsburg Universities football program after former coach Denny Douds Departure.

Ronald Hanaki

Staff Writer

ESU Football beat Seton Hill 31-18 last Saturday, Sept. 14. The Warriors are now 2-0 under first-year Head Coach Jimmy Terwilliger. 

Terwilliger became the new coach after former head coach Denny Douds retired last year. 

The Warriors have started fast under Terwilliger and two weeks ago, they beat Wagner University. Wagner is an NCAA Division I FCS school, and that was the first win for ESU Football over a Division I opponent since 1994. 

Without a doubt, Terwilliger has done a lot to change the culture of the football program. 

“Our program mantra is that ‘Blood Runs Thick.’  When you come to East Stroudsburg, it is a family-like atmosphere,” Terwilliger said. 

That mantra represents the urgency, accountability and familial atmosphere Terwilliger wants to instill in the program. 

The first-year head coach elaborated further about his football philosophy. 

“We don’t concern ourselves with who we are playing. We are concerned about how we play, We want to win all four phases of the game,” stated Terwilliger. 

Those four phases of the game are offense, defense, special teams, and the twelfth man.

“The last one is that we want to win the twelfth man. We want to have a great Warrior spirit,” Terwilliger said, “That’s East Stroudsburg football. That’s our process, and that’s how we are going to approach things.”

Terwilliger made some changes during the past offseason. 

The first of these changes was to put together a staff that he had confidence in “to work hard, compete, and do things the right way.” 

“I can’t tell you how excited I am about the guys we have inside this office that are doing a tremendous job,” Terwilliger said. 

“You can see it from all levels of our program the type of positive coaching that we have. I am very blessed to have an unbelievable staff. I think that was a major change.” 

However, Terwilliger is still very much indebted to Coach Douds and the foundation he laid with ESU Football. 

“Douds is one of the cornerstones of this program. Pretty much every part of me comes from him, and I am very much indebted to the lessons and things that he taught to me over the years,” stated Terwilliger. 

He is also a big believer in competition and thinks that the team gets better every day when guys are competing hard. 

One of the big changes from last season is on defense. Mike Lackey came from the University of Missouri, a Division I FBS program, to be the new defensive coordinator. 

His new defensive system has made an immediate impact on this team. 

“We completely believe in the (defensive) scheme, and I think it’s helped the kids completely buy into the scheme,” stated Lackey. 

But Terwilliger thinks the improvement on defense is more about attitude than a new scheme. 

“To me, it’s not about the X’s and O’s. It’s about the Jimmys and the Joes,” Terwilliger said.

With Lackey, the head coach believes that it’s the energy he brings, and his ability to put players in positions to succeed that is making the difference this year on defense. 

Terwilliger also thinks that his team can get even better. 

“We are operating at about 40% of our natural ability right now,” Terwilliger said. “I think we can continuously push and continuously get better, and we are on a relentless pursuit of how to find that.” 

Terwilliger was especially proud of his new recruiting class. 

“We have a very young team right now. And that’s because we recruited the type of student-athlete that we believe will be successful in the classroom and on the football field,” stated Terwilliger.  

That tradition of putting the team above self and a commitment to excellence on and off the field runs throughout ESU’s history.

The team seems to have completely bought in, too. 

Redshirt senior Levi Murphy said, “Everything we’re doing follows three simple rules: work hard, compete and do it right. If we follow those three rules, we can’t do wrong.” 

Senior Javier Buffalo has noticed a change from previous seasons. 

“The major thing is the competition aspect. We compete more than we’ve done here against each other, and that gets us ready for the game. We have been going against each other so hard that when we play the games, it’s almost second nature,” stated Buffalo. 

The Warriors (2-0) will play their home opener against Edinboro (0-2) this Saturday afternoon at Eiler-Martin Stadium. 

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