Believe it or not, we're only 141 days away from game one of the football season — and there's a new coach heading the team. Announced by Director of Athletics & Afternoon Programs Herb Haller '85 on Tuesday, March 28, Dan LaRocco joins the Reserve community as the new Head Football Coach.
"I am excited to have Dan LaRocco as our next head football coach at WRA," said Haller. "He is a passionate, competitive person who brings experience and success to our football program and understands the history of a school like WRA. I look forward to working with him and helping him continue the important history and recent successes of our football team."
"The WRA community is pleased to welcome Dan," said Head of School Christopher D. Burner '80. "Last year's football team had a strong season, and we look forward to many more."
As the new head of the 111-year-old program, LaRocco takes over for Jeff Hildebrand, who stepped down in January after coaching the Pioneers to a 9-1 record in 2016.
"Coach Hildebrand laid a great foundation for what has gone on here in the past, especially in the past three years," said LaRocco. "When you have three consecutive winning seasons, I think it goes a long way."
In his over 10-year coaching career, LaRocco has coached multiple offensive and defensive positions, including Special Teams Coordinator duties and, in all, his teams account for a 54-41 record, and four Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) playoff appearances.
After spending five seasons as a strong Offensive Coordinator under current University School (US) Head Coach Ben Malbasa at Benedictine, Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin and US, LaRocco is looking forward to facing his colleague and longtime friend in what will be a historic game.
"[The WRA and US] rivalry goes back to 1894," he said. "This game has been played nearly 100 times, so we've spoken at length about reinvigorating that rivalry. We've put the game back on for the fall of 2018, and we're pretty excited about it."
LaRocco holds a Bachelor of Arts in health and physical education from Baldwin Wallace University and a Master of Science in athletic administration from Ohio University. A native of Brook Park, he graduated from Midpark High School, where he played football under Head Coach Pat Murphy.
LaRocco looks forward to getting to know the school — the athletes, the coaching staff, the people in the cheering section and everyone else who is a part of WRA.
"For me personally, one of the reasons that I'm so excited is because of the community," he said. "Here, the focus isn't just on one thing — it's not just athletics, it's not just academics, it is truly a community approach. Football is only one arm of this school, and we want to support that and everyone who supports us."
LaRocco currently resides in Strongsville with his wife, Mary Griglak LaRocco, and two-year-old daughter, Alison.