The Delaware Valley University Aggies have harvested from their own garden. On Jan. 26, DelVal named Mike Isgro ’10 as its 17th head football coach.
“I love being around football. I grew up with it,” said Isgro, a coach’s son. “A big part of why I am doing this is to hopefully impact somebody’s life in a positive way on a football field and in life in general. I’m grateful for the people who have impacted me: the coaches who gave me the opportunity to be where I am today.”
DelVal has won almost 80% of its games since 2002. The last time the Aggies lost a conference football game, Obama was president. DelVal carries a 53-game Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) winning streak into this fall.
Unlike many first-time head coaches who inherit a team in disarray, Isgro takes over one of the region’s best Division III programs.
“Obviously, it’s a challenge to uphold the standard that has been set here. But I know we have a lot of great coaches and more importantly great guys here. It’s a unique situation and it’s an honor to be the next head coach,” Isgro shared. “I am definitely fortunate and thankful.
“There is pressure but I like pressure and I think our guys like pressure,” he continued. “You’re going to get everybody’s best. Everybody wants to knock you off and you have to raise your level of competitiveness and play. The coaching staff has to raise the level of things we have to do to continue down that path.”
Isgro has experienced DelVal success as both a player and a coach. As an Aggie quarterback, the South Jersey product was a two-time DelVal captain and the 2008 conference Player of the Year. Isgro threw for over 7,000 yards and rushed for nearly 1,300 in his Doylestown career.
“The professors and administrators support athletes here. We’ve had three great coaches who have come before me: G.A. Mangus, Coach (Jim) Clements and Coach (Duke) Greco,” Isgro stated. “There is a winning tradition and a family atmosphere that has been created here over time. When you come here, you understand that you are part of that family. Our alumni come back and want to support our guys. That’s important and I want that to stay the same.
“Guys understand that there is a tradition and many great guys have put on a jersey long before them,” Isgro continued. “We’re not just representing ourselves but the guys who came before us.”
As a DelVal assistant since 2015 – as special teams coach, running backs coach and recruiting coordinator – Isgro was a key part of former head coach Greco’s staff that has won six straight conference titles and counting.
“I think a reason why Coach Greco has been so successful is he cares about these guys as more than football players,” Isgro observed. “I care about all of these guys and it is something I want to be true to as well. If you care about your guys: you treat them the right way and respect them, they are going to play a lot harder for you.”
Greco was named the head coach of West Chester on Jan. 10. Ironically, Greco becomes archrivals with Clements, the current head coach at Kutztown who was Isgro’s head coach at DelVal.
Greco’s and Clements’ pupil now joins them at the head coaching table. “The thing I’ve been stressing is that I’m the same guy who was sitting in the other seat,” Isgro said. “I’ll push them, motivate them and hold them and myself to a higher standard. I’ll continue to be who I am. It’s what got me here, but I’ll also try and be better for our guys. We’re going to have a lot of fun, but we’re also going to play hard and do what we need to do to accomplish our goals.”
The Aggies placed 10 players on the 2023 All-MAC First Team, including Rookie of the Year running back Jack Fallon, a CB West graduate. “There are certain things we will want to do offensively and defensively. At the end of the day, great players make great coaches and it is our job to put them in the right position to excel. Offensively, I liked Coach Greco’s system,” Isgro explained. “There will be a lot of similarities but we will try to grow off of that and evolve.
“From a defensive standpoint, we’ve been successful. When teams put the tape on and see DelVal,” Isgro continued, “I want them to see fast and physical football that is smart and disciplined.”
He paused. “And I want people to understand that it is fun here. That’s important.”