Associate Head Coach/Outside LB Coach
Danny Rocco is in his fifth year as UVa's associate head coach and linebackers coach. He relinquished additional duties as recruiting coordinator in February of 2002, in order to assume an expanded role as associate head coach. He coordinated UVa's recruiting efforts in 2001 and 2002 as Virginia landed one of the best recruiting classes in school history. Virginia's 2002 recruiting class was ranked in the top 10 nationally by most recruiting services. The class was ranked #5 in the country by Tom Lemming and ESPN.
Rocco continued to build upon his reputation of producing NFL linebackers as three of his linebackers signed NFL contracts in 2005. Darryl Blackstock (Arizona), Dennis Haley (New York Jets), and Isaiah Ekejiuba (Arizona) all made significant contributions for the Cavaliers in 2004. Blackstock had 11 sacks to lead the nation's linebackers. The athletic Haley made the most of his first season as a starter, making a career-high 64 tackles.
In 2003, Rocco oversaw the continued development of outside linebacker Darryl Blackstock, who earned honorable mention All-ACC recognition. Blackstock garnered national defensive rookie of the year honors in 2002, after setting the ACC record for most sacks by a freshman with 10.
Other Cavaliers who have excelled under Rocco's tutelage over the past three years include Raymond Mann and Merrill Robertson.
Rocco came to UVa after spending one season as a member of Al Groh's coaching staff with the New York Jets in 2000. He served as a defensive assistant coach, working with the linebackers and special teams. While coaching with the Jets, he tutored several of the top linebackers in the NFL, including UVa alum James Farrior. Before joining the New York Jets, Rocco was an assistant at the collegiate level for 15 seasons.
From 1998-1999, Rocco was the outside linebackers coach at Maryland. He went there after spending four seasons (1994-97) as an assistant coach on John Mackovic's staff at Texas. He coached the outside linebackers during his first three seasons and spent the 1997 season as the special teams coordinator and defensive ends coach. During Rocco's stay in Austin, the Longhorns won three consecutive conference championships, including the inaugural Big 12 title in 1996, and played in three bowls-the Fiesta Bowl, Sugar Bowl and Sun Bowl.
Prior to that, Rocco was the defensive line coach at Boston College under Tom Coughlin from 1991-93. While at Boston College, he helped lead the Eagles to back-to-back bowl appearances (in the 1993 Hall of Fame Bowl and 1994 Carquest Bowl).
He moved to Boston College from Tulsa, where he spent three seasons as the outside linebackers coach. During his second season there, in 1989, Tulsa played in the Independence Bowl. Rocco served as an assistant linebackers coach at Colorado in 1987 and was the defensive line coach at Wake Forest in 1986. He spent the 1984 and 1985 seasons at Wake Forest as a defensive graduate assistant.
Rocco began his college career as a two-year letter winner at Penn State, where he played in the 1979 Liberty Bowl and the 1980 Fiesta Bowl. He transferred to Wake Forest after the 1980 season. He played for Al Groh at Wake Forest, starting two seasons at outside linebacker and serving as team captain in 1983. During the 1982 season, the Demon Deacons played Clemson in the Mirage Bowl in Tokyo, Japan.
The 1984 Wake Forest graduate received his bachelor's degree in speech communication. He completed a 56-hour education and counseling master's curriculum from Wake Forest in 1987.
Rocco attended Fox Chapel High School in Pittsburgh, Pa., earning All-State honors in both football and track. He was inducted into the Fox Chapel Sports Hall of Fame in the spring of 2005. From a football family, Rocco's father, Frank, was a coach and administrator on Joe Paterno's staff at Penn State for 15 years before retiring in 2000. Rocco's older brother, Frank, Jr., is the head football coach and athletic director at Lynchburg Christian Academy. His younger brother, David, is the head football coach at Staunton River High School in Moneta, Va.