Delaware Football Assistant Coaches Perry, Fitzsimmons Headed to the National Football League
NEWARK, Del. -- Blue Hens head coach Dave Brock announced that passing game coordinator/quarterbacks coach John Perry and special teams coordinator/tight ends coach Devin Fitzsimmons will further their careers in the NFL. Perry was named tight ends coach with the Houston Texans and Fitzsimmons was selected as assistant special teams coach for the Detroit Lions earlier this week.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank John and his family and Fitz and his fiancee for the time and effort that they put into Delaware Football and wish them the best in the NFL,” said Brock, who led the Blue Hens to a 7-5 record in his first season at the helm in 2013. “It is a terrific compliment to the Delaware football program that they are both so highly thought of and that they now have the opportunity to coach at the highest level.”
Perry (at right) will join the staff of new Texans head coach Bill O’Brien, who served as head coach at Penn State the past two seasons. Perry and O’Brien served on the same coaching staff at Brown in 1994.
In his first season on the Delaware staff in 2013, Perry mentored starting quarterback Trent Hurley, who led all Colonial Athletic Association signal-callers in passing rating (155.2) and ranked among the league leaders with 2,207 passing yards and 22 touchdowns.
Delaware’s offense ranked No. 2 in the CAA in scoring offense (32.8 points per game), No. 3 in passing offense (240.0 yards per game), and No. 4 in passing efficiency offense (143.84).
Perry enjoyed an outstanding playing career at New Hampshire and previously served as an assistant coach at Northeastern, Brown, Dartmouth, Georgetown, and New Hampshire. He was head coach at Merrimack (Mass.) College for five seasons in 2008-12 before joining Brock at Delaware.
“I was incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to work for Dave Brock at Delaware,” said Perry. “His vision and implementation of ideas has created a culture of togetherness and family which laid a foundation for consistent winning. He cares about his staff, UD athletics, student-athletes, and the entire Delaware community. I’m proud to have worked for him and the entire Blue Hen Nation.”
Fitzsimmons (at left) will reunite with new Lions head coach Jim Caldwell, who was named to the position last month. When Caldwell was head coach of the Indianapolis Colts in 2009-11, Fitzsimmons served as offensive quality control assistant during the 2011 campaign.
“I want to thank Coach Brock and (AD) Eric Ziady and everyone associated with the Delaware football family for the opportunity to coach at the University of Delaware,” said Fitzsimmons. “It was truly a blessing to be able to work at a premier FCS program. The fans are passionate and knowledgeable and made every game memorable. I wish the best for the players, coaches, staff, and fans. Together we will...block kicks."
A native or New Orleans, Fitzsimmons played at Bucknell and served on the coaching staffs at Shaw (N.C.), Bucknell, Kansas State, Virginia, Richmond, and Rutgers before coming to Delaware last year. He worked with Brock at Kansas State and Rutgers before joining him at Delaware.
Delaware thrived on special teams this past season under the direction of Fitzsimmons. As a unit, the Blue Hens led the nation in fewest blocked punts allowed (0), ranked No. 2 in net punting (41.47), No. 9 in blocked kicks (6), and No. 20 in punt returns (6.1). Delaware led the CAA in each of those categories.
Rob Jones was selected first team All-CAA as a punt returner thanks to a 12.1-yard average per return and redshirt freshman punter Eric Enderson ranked No. 3 in the nation in punting (45.0) and earned All-American honors. Fitzsimmons also served as tight ends coach and played a big part in the development of junior Nick Boyle, who earned second team All-CAA honors after catching 42 passes for 474 yards and seven touchdowns.
Delaware, which had eight former players on active rosters in the NFL in 2013, now has six former players and coaches on NFL staffs.
In addition to Perry and Fitzsimmons, former defensive coordinator Nick Rapone is safeties coach with Arizona; former offensive line coach Jim Turner holds the same position for Miami; All-American quarterback Matt Nagy is quarterbacks coach in Kansas City; and former all-conference wide receiver and Academic All-American Brett Veach serves as pro and college personnel analyst in Kansas City.