Wesley School soccer coach Chip Knapp strikes to Dover Excessive
Dover High School was looking for a head football coach.
After 33 years as a football coach at Wesley College, Chip Knapp was looking for a new job, preferably in the Dover area.
The timing couldn’t have been better, and last week the Capital School Board made the 56-year-old the Senators’ new coach.
“Five minutes from my house,” said Knapp. “It’s basically the same distance as from Wesley College. I will exercise and do the things I love to do and still be around and in the community. This is a very happy situation for me. “
Dover decided to look for a new coach late last season after Rudy Simonetti led the Senators to a 22-25 record over the past five years.
Knapp was interested but was still head coach at Wesley, which was preparing for its final football season that spring after the college was bought by Delaware State University.
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Gary Lowery, a New Jersey high school assistant, took the job in Dover in March but changed his mind. When the search reopened, Knapp was available.
“I thought it was an opportunity that had passed,” he said. “But then I heard it was open again and I was very encouraged by the people in the church.”
Dover Sporting Director Kevin Turner quickly knew who the new front runner would be.
“Both parties were kind of in distress at the same time,” said Turner. “Sometimes it just works. The timing is so good. “
Knapp was 19: 7 as Wesley’s head coach in more than two seasons and reached the second round of the NCAA Division III playoffs in 2019.
He has been with Wesley since 1989 and served for many years as offensive coordinator under longtime coach Mike Drass, including a series of 13 direct NCAA playoff appearances (2005-17) with six trips to the D-III semifinals.
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He’s never served as a high school coach, but Knapp said he attended every high school in the state and spoke to most of the current Delaware coaches while recruiting for Wesley.
“There will be an adjustment and a learning curve for me,” said Knapp. “Understand the time constraints and skills of high school kids with more limited exercise options than college.”
The sporting director believes that Knapp can adapt seamlessly.
“It’s football. He knows football, ”said Turner. “We can’t wait to move forward.”
Knapp said his wife and son graduated from Dover High and that his youngest daughter will graduate from school in June.
He comes into the new job with no set philosophies for offense or defense.
“The first is to evaluate the team and get to know the strengths and weaknesses of the team,” said Knapp. “Over the years we have run many different programs and concepts. We will use this experience and see how it fits into the team. “
Contact Brad Myers at [email protected] Follow on Twitter: @BradMyersTNJ