In what would surely be the culmination of a professional dream, Ryan Carty is expected to be the next University of Delaware football coach.
A backup Blue Hens quarterback from 2002-06 and co-captain as a senior, Carty is in his fourth season as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at defending NCAA FCS champ Sam Houston State.
Before that, he served 11 years on the staff of Delaware’s Colonial Athletic Association rival New Hampshire, initially hired by then-Wildcats offensive coordinator Chip Kelly and spending his last six seasons as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. UNH reached the NCAA playoffs every year Carty was there, including 2013 and 2014 semifinal runs.
Carty, 38, has frequently overseen prolific and imaginative offensive attacks and would be charged with bringing those same qualities to a Blue Hens program that has frequently lacked firepower in recent years.
Top-seeded Sam Houston State (11-0) won an FCS second-round playoff duel with Incarnate Word 49-42 Saturday. The Bearkats piled up 556 yards, including 346 rushing
Carty would not comment on the situation when contacted Friday. Delaware could announce his hiring Monday.
Delaware has also seen a procession of players enter the transfer portal, first linebacker Colby Reeder and since quarterback Nolan Henderson, wide receiver Thyrick Pitts and linebacker Johnny Buchanan. That certainly adds a sense of urgency to Delaware’s desire to have a new coach installed.
Carty springs from a successful New Jersey family tree of football coaches. Dad Kevin Sr. was a longtime college and high school coach, who was particularly successful guiding his three son’s teams at Somerville High. Older brothers Kevin Jr., who played quarterback at North Carolina and William & Mary, and Sean, a Rutgers wide receiver, have been New Jersey high school coaches, too.
Ryan has plied the family trade in the FCS college ranks and now may take the mantle at one of the nation’s esteemed non-major college programs, where coaches Bill Murray (1940-50), Dave Nelson (1951-65) and Tubby Raymond (1966-2001) are College Football Hall of Famers.
Carty was one of Raymond’s final recruits in early 2002 after he’d thrown for 3,504 yards and a state record 43 touchdowns as a Somerville senior. Raymond retired shortly after.
Carty’s task would be to bring Delaware the sustained national stature it enjoyed under previous coaches.
In the 38 seasons from 1973-2010, Delaware reached the NCAA playoffs 20 times. Delaware has made it just twice since. The Blue Hens have also won six national titles, four through wire-service polls and two in playoffs, including in 2003 when Carty backed up starting quarterback Andy Hall.
The Delaware position has been vacant since Danny Rocco’s dismissal Monday. Rocco was 31-23 overall and 20-16 in CAA games in five seasons as Delaware coach. His 2018 and 2021 (spring) teams reached the NCAA playoffs, with the latter reaching the FCS semifinals in a 7-1 season. But Delaware was 5-6 this fall, its second losing record in three years.
In discussing Rocco’s dismissal, athletic director Chrissi Rawak said she was seeking “someone that really understands the traditions of football [at Delaware] and understands what we have here, the talent we have here and is able to really maximize that talent. Somebody who thrives under very high expectations.”
Those with Delaware ties were therefore natural targets, with former UD quarterback and NFL MVP Rich Gannon’s interest in the position even gauged, though Gannon has not coached.
To the delight of many fans and former players, Sam Houston State head coach K.C. Keeler immediately surfaced as the logical candidate, having guided the Blue Hens to an 86-52 record, the 2003 NCAA title and the 2007 and 2010 NCAA title games as coach from 2002-12. Keeler’s Sam Houston State teams have fared even better since he became Bearkats coach in 2014, going 79-22 entering Saturday’s game.
But any interest Delaware had in pursuing Keeler was vetoed by UD higher-ups, Delaware Online/The News Journal has learned. Keeler was fired by Delaware in January of 2013 and received a lucrative financial payout for the remaining term of his contract.
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This article originally appeared on Delaware News Journal: Ex-UD QB emerges as favorite for Delaware football coach job