Delaware sports deserves the nation's respect
February 15, 2013By Rob Tornoe
Here is Rob's commentary:
On Thursday night, one of the nation's most dominant college athletes, Elena Delle Donne, led her Delaware women's basketball squad to their 16th straight win over Old Dominion 86-62 at the Bob Carpenter Center.
Delle Donne, who set the record a couple of weeks ago for the most career points in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA), set two more records Thursday night - most career field goals (913) and most career free throws (688).
Delaware is currently ranked No. 20 in the Associated Press Top-15, and Delle Donne's dominance should showcase to the country what us locals already know about Delaware - for a small school in a small state, it packs a tough athletic punch.
The most recent example of a Delaware athlete making good is Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco. Not only did he lead the Ravens to their second Super Bowl title, Flacco had one of the best post-season performances in the history of the sport, throwing for 11 touchdowns, no interceptions and finishing the postseason with a passer rating of 117.
The New York Times described Delaware as the "cradle of Super Bowl quarterbacks," and rightfully so. Big time football programs like Ohio State, Texas and Southern California may compete in bowl games ever year, but none have seen a single of their quarterbacks start in a Super Bowl. The same goes for Oregon, whose former coach, Chip Kelly, has been put in charge of turning around the Eagles.
But tiny Delaware? Delaware has had not one, but two quarterbacks start in the Super Bowl: Flacco and former Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon, who started in Super Bowl XXXVII.
It doesn't end with Super Bowls. Delaware's quarterback dominance continues in the draft. Delaware, which competes in a subdivision of college football, has seen five quarterbacks drafted by NFL teams. That may not sound like a lot, but compare it to a big time program like Texas, who has only had quarterbacks drafted six times.
Let's not forget another sports legend that Delaware produced - his father, Harold "Tubby" Raymond. Raymond coached football at Delaware from 1966 through 2001, amassing an impressive 300-119-3 record, which included three national titles, 14 Lambert Cup trophies and 23 post-season bids. Raymond comes in 10th on the all-time wins list, putting him in the same league as coaching legends like Joe Paterno, "Bear" Bryant and "Pop" Warner.
Following his 300th win, a 10-6 victory over the Richmond Spiders in 2001, Raymond made a short speech before being whisked off the field by his team:
"I have to apologize for paraphrasing, but I feel a little bit like Lou Gehrig. I'm the luckiest man on the face of the earth. First, I'd like to thank the Delaware fans who have been here for so many years. I know there are things that happen that you don't like. There are things that happen that I don't like. But the thing that's there all the time is you. You're at every football game. You're excited about being here, and you truly made Delaware football something we can all be proud of. Thank you very much."
Rob Tornoe is a WHYY contributor, and draws sports cartoons for the Philadelphia Inquirer. He's also an incurable Buffalo Bills fan. See more of his work at RobTornoe.com, and follow him on twitter @RobTornoe.