Not all of us can pull off a Vontae Davis halftime retirement, but all of us have, at one time or another, been in a job that we despise and wanted to quit in grand fashion. But what happens when you’ve worked in the same position for 45 years, have mentored some of the best football coaches in the country, and reached the top of your craft?
Not many people have accomplished what East Stroudsburg University head coach Denny Douds has during his football career, and nobody was more deserving a grand send-off quite like the man with the most wins of any active college football coach in the NCAA.
During the closing seconds of ESU’s 48-35 loss to the Ohio Dominican Panthers, the 77-year-old coach had a pre-planned surprise retirement prior to the team’s final home game of the season.
According to WNEP News, only Douds’ wife knew the plan to call a “fourth timeout” at the end of the game and inform his team that he was hanging it up right there on the sideline. Douds did just that, and he walked off the turf at Eiler-Martin Stadium smiling one last time in grand style.
“I told my wife when I leave the stadium, I am going to tip my hat and say, ‘I love ya. I tipped my hat, walked to the car, and smiled all the way home.” — Denny Douds, via WNEP News
Dennis Douds was the NCAA’s active leader in career wins (264) and games coached (471) when he pulled off the greatest retirement stunt of all time, and nobody was more deserving. The man with 53 years of experience at ESU, including 45 years as head coach, had an impact in the East Stroudsburg community extends far beyond the football field.
The Indiana, Pennsylvania native played college football at Slippery Rock University, and never really left the Western Pennsylvania area his entire life. Douds began as an assistant defensive coach in 1966, took over as the head football coach in 1974, and held the position ever since. Four times his team won the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference title, nine times they won the PSAC East Division, and his best team made a run to the Division II Semifinal with an 11-3 record in 2005.
Douds’ mentorship and coaching tree includes current Penn State head coach James Franklin, who played quarterback at ESU from 1991-94 and later spent time coaching for Douds and the Warriors.
Associate Head Coach Jimmy Terwilliger will act as ESU’s interim head coach for the remainder of the 2018 season. The East Stroudsburg Warriors still have two road games against Shippensburg and Clarion left on their schedule, and they’ll try to salvage what is left of a 1-8 season.
Coach Douds plans to remain involved in fundraising and as an assistant professor at ESU, proving once again how valuable good-hearted, committed people are to a small university with around 6,000 students enrolled.
Kudos to Dennis Douds for putting together one of the most legendary ends to a coaching career.