Danny Rocco, a former assistant at UVA and former head coach at Liberty, Richmond and Delaware, has been named the new head coach at VMI.
Rocco replaces Scott Wachenheim, who stepped down last month after eight years on the job.
Rocco has a 121-65 record as a head coach, in stops including Liberty (2006-2011), Richmond (2012-2016) and Delaware (2017-2021).
Rocco’s teams have made five FCS playoff appearances and won seven conference championships.
His 2015 Richmond team and 2020 Delaware team each made the FCS semifinals.
Rocco inherits a program coming off a 1-10 season in 2022, after the Keydets had earned the school’s first-ever FCS playoff berth in the spring of 2021, and just missed making the playoffs last fall.
“Coach Rocco has had a great deal of success at every level leading his teams both on and off the field,” stated Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins, the superintendent at VMI. “He is clearly someone who believes in developing his players into leaders of character in perfect alignment with VMI’s mission. I look forward to the future success that our cadet-athletes will enjoy from his leadership.”
“It is a privilege to welcome Danny to Lexington,” VMI Athletics Director Jim Miller said. “I have seen his success firsthand, and believe he will bring that winning tradition with him here to VMI.”
Rocco spent the 2022 season at Penn State working as a defensive analyst on the staff of coach James Franklin.
“It’s an honor to be here, it’s a great opportunity for me and my family,” Rocco said. “I’m very appreciative of Gen. Wins and his support and Jim Miller, who I worked for at Richmond. I’m at an Institution that has a great history and a proud history. They play in a really good conference, I’m familiar with the SoCon having been an FCS head coach for 16 seasons. First and foremost, I want to get to meet the cadet-athletes, I want to be able to get to know them and make a positive impact in their lives as we work together to win football games and adhere to our core values.”
Prior to his head coaching gigs, some of Rocco’s stops as an assistant included the New York Jets, University of Virginia, University of Maryland and the University of Texas. Rocco got his coaching start at the place he finished his playing career – Wake Forest.
Playing his first two years at Penn State, Rocco transferred to Wake Forest, graduating in 1984 with a bachelor’s degree in speech communication and rhetoric and adding a master’s degree in 1987 (education & counseling).