During the only real “down time” on the University of Delaware athletic complex, ironically there is much to report.
Athletic Director Chrissi Rawak recently announced that the west stand seating will be completed for the opening game against Delaware State University on Aug. 29.
This proclamation comes at a time when the west stands look anything but close to ready for kickoff against the Hornets.
Speaking of the Route 1 rivalry – a term that has more or less disappeared given UD’s dominance in the on-again, off-again matchup – the Hens and Hornets just signed a six-year deal for a football series beginning in 2024 that will include at least two of the games taking place at 7,000-seat Alumni Stadium on the DSU campus. The series will begin with back-to-back games in Dover in 2024 and 2025, followed by dates at Delaware Stadium in 2026, 2027 and 2029. The host of the sixth game will be the school that wins at least three of the first five matchups of the series.
Separate from the new agreement, UD and Delaware State play in this year’s opener and again in 2020. The Hens have easily won all eight previous meetings between the state’s only Division I football programs. Between the two schools, nearly 50 student-athletes who are Delaware natives are projected to suit up for the 2019 contest.
One Delawarean who will be on the sideline is former Smyrna High standout Will Knight, who set the all-time rushing record with 6,490 yards while leading the Eagles to three consecutive state championships. Knight appeared in four games last season at Old Dominion University and then announced his intent to transfer to UD on his Twitter account shortly after spring practice.
On the basketball court, UD men’s basketball head coach Martin Ingelsby has signed a two-year extension through the 2023-24 season.
In his three years at the helm of the program, Ingelsby has an overall 44-55 record, including 19-35 in the Colonial Athletic Conference. This past season, the Blue Hens produced their highest win total (17) since 2014 and reached the CAA Tournament semifinal for the first time in five years.
The 2019-20 season season features a matchup against 2018 national champion Villanova on Dec. 14 at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., as part of the Never Forget Tribute Classic. The event supports the men and women of the armed forces who protected the country’s freedom after 9/11. In partnership with SoldierStrong, the event continues to serve American veterans by providing resources that aid both mental and physical rehabilitation, as well as assisting scholarship grants for domestic and foreign affair grants.
“We are honored to participate in the Never Forget Tribute Classic at the Prudential Center,” Ingelsby said in a statement. “This will be a tremendous opportunity for us to compete against an outstanding program in Villanova while also supporting a worthy cause.”
Unfortunately for the Hens, All-CAA rookie selection Ithiel Horton won’t be part of that matchup or any other future Blue Hens game. The New Jersey native has announced he is leaving Delaware with hopes of playing at a higher-level program.
In the classroom, it was a record-breaking year for the more than 600 UD student-athletes. Some of the accomplishments include “highest ever” marks in academic year student-athlete GPA (3.140), spring semester GPA (3.144) and dean’s list recognition (41 percent). In addition, for the first time ever all teams finished the academic year with a GPA over 2.700, and for the sixth straight semester the student-athlete GPA was over 3.1.
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