VMI Football Preps for the 2023 Season Under New Leadership and Challenges

VMI football gears up for 2023 with new head coach Danny Rocco and a revamped coaching staff, ready to overcome challenges and embrace change.

New VMI Head Coach Danny Rocco
Source: Paul Bouis

With autumn on the horizon, Lexington, Virginia, eagerly anticipates the return of the VMI Keydets football team. The team stands at a crossroads, on the cusp of the 2023 season, where change and opportunity collide. The arrival of new head coach Danny Rocco and the departure of players through the transfer portal signal a transformative chapter.

Against the backdrop of VMI's history, marked by challenges and triumphs, this year's changes hold significance. Memories of Sparky Woods' time as head coach linger, characterized by struggles and limited victories. Scott Wachenheim's subsequent years showed improvement, highlighted by the impressive feat of winning the 2020 SoCon championship and clinching VMI's first-ever FCS playoff spot. These accomplishments, though noteworthy, were balanced by ongoing difficulties that shaped the team's journey.

As autumn nears, Lexington radiates renewed energy. Danny Rocco's appointment signifies more than just a change in leadership; it's a beacon of hope and a recognition of the challenges ahead. Yet, the past seasons have fostered experience and resilience, providing a foundation on which the Keydets stand as they prepare for the future.

The coaching team has seen significant changes, welcoming both seasoned veterans and fresh faces. Accomplished assistant coaches Rich Yahner, Greg Meyer, Bryan Stinespring, AJ Hampton, Pat Brown, Keith Jones, and Charles Mack bring a wealth of experience and diverse perspectives. Each coach contributes a unique viewpoint, fostering player development and team cohesion.

Navigating the challenges of the transfer portal, a formidable opponent in modern college football, has become a defining aspect. The coaching staff's role extends beyond strategies; it's about maintaining a strong roster amidst transfers. While these challenges might seem daunting, they are met with an enduring spirit. Despite being projected to finish last in the 2023 SoCon Coaches and media polls, the VMI spirit remains unshaken, undeterred by rankings, and driven by a desire to overcome adversity.

Under Rocco's leadership, the Keydets move forward, embracing a new era of football. Looking to the future while acknowledging the past, they strive for growth and transformation. The program's vitality, resonating with supporters, is the ultimate aim. As the 2023 season draws closer, an atmosphere of cautious optimism fills the community. It's a collective commitment, a steadfast support that defines the VMI experience.

The complexity of college football, with its mix of victories and challenges, unites supporters in their longing for a triumphant resurgence. The path ahead, though uncertain, speaks to the unyielding spirit of VMI football. With eyes on the horizon, the echoes of past struggles are met with renewed determination. As the 2023 season unfolds, the Keydets stand ready, driven by their enduring spirit and shared dedication to crafting a legacy that extends well beyond the fields of Lexington, Virginia.