University of Delaware Football Family Mourns Death of Former Blue Hen Running Back John Key
October 21, 2011
File Photo from 1996 Season
NEWARK, Del. -- The University of Delaware football family is mourning the loss of former Blue Hen football running back John Key, who was struck by a car and killed early Sunday morning, Oct. 16, on the Garden State Parkway in New Jersey.
Key, 37, who played for four seasons under head coach Tubby Raymond in 1993-96, was currently serving as an assistant football coach at Asbury Park (N.J.) High School. The Long Beach, N.J. resident was a middle school teacher and the father of two. He previously served as an assistant football coach at Ocean High School and Monmouth Regional High School in New Jersey.
He was struck by a car at 2:08 a.m. on Sunday as he attempted to cross over four lanes of the Garden State Parkway in Wall, N.J. after checking on the occupants of another car that he was involved in a minor accident with.
A memorial service for Key will be held on Monday, Oct. 24, from noon to 2 p.m. at the Paramount Theater in Asbury Park.
While at Delaware, he played on teams that posted a four-year record of 35-13-1 for Raymond, including winning the Yankee Conference title in 1995 and advancing to the then NCAA I-AA Tournament in 1993, 1995, and 1996. He played in 25 career games with 10 starts and rushed for 337 yards on 62 carries (5.4 avg.) and four touchdowns. He had a 76-yard run against West Chester in 1995 that still ranks among the longest runs in school history.
As a senior in 1996, he was the team’s fourth leading rusher when he started 10 games and ran for 163 yards and two touchdowns, leading the Blue Hens to the NCAA Tournament.
Key played scholastically under legendary coach George Conti at Ocean High School, where his teams reached the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group III final for three straight years from 1989-91. A 1,200-yard rusher as a junior at Ocean, he went on to play at Delaware and then returned to coach at his alma mater. He was an assistant coach under Scott Larkin on the Ocean team that won the Central Jersey Group III championship in 2000, and an assistant under Sal Spampanato on the Spartans’ squad that won the CJ III crown in 2005.
He then coached under Spampanato at Monmouth from 2006-2010, where the Falcons reached the state playoffs for just the second time in school history last season. Key was also a track and field coach at Monmouth.
This was his first year at Asbury Park, and his death came less than 24 hours after the undefeated Blue Bishops wrapped up the outright Shore Conference Class B Central title with a 40-7 win over Keyport.