From The Desk of Bobby Wilder: A Season To Remember

November 26, 2009
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

Nov. 26, 2009

12th Monarchs,

What an incredible ride we all shared together during the 2009 season!! A 9-2 final record, the most wins ever by a first year FCS program, a six-game winning streak to end the season, and a first-year program receiving votes in the top 25 in the country. Words cannot describe the pride our team feels with these accomplishments.

For the 12th Monarchs, a No. 5 national ranking in attendance!! All seven home games were sellouts this year. Our 19,782 fans per game put Old Dominion University Football FIFTH out of 126 teams in the FCS. You should all feel a great sense of pride with this amazing accomplishment. Your enthusiasm during our games gave the team a tremendous boost while they competed on the field. I have been in the Coaching Profession for 22 years and have never seen anything like the support from the 12th Monarchs!!! You are simply the best!!!

I would be remiss if I did not discuss the final game of the year at VMI. What an incredible end to a special first season. The 42-35 win was witnessed by an estimated 3,000 12th Monarchs. Our team felt as if we were playing a home game!!! We battled for 60 minutes against a well coached team on a special day for VMI. Our team simply "refused to lose" this game. We never trailed in what was a close game throughout. VMI runs the triple-option offense. They ended the season as the leading rushing offense in the country. Our preparation was difficult due to the weather issues we all faced in Hampton Roads. We had 30 players battling injuries going into this game with 10 players out for the game due to injuries. Our team could have lost the game for all of these reasons. They simply would not quit!!!

We approached this game with an aggressive mind set. From the opening surprise onside kick that Drew Hareza recovered, we went after the Keydets!!! Our offense, lead by Thomas DeMarco, gained 496 yards for the game and scored five touchdowns, our special teams converted a fake punt with James Edwards running 45 yards for a touchdown. And our defense shut VMI out on three consecutive drives in the fourth quarter to seal the win.

I have never been more proud of a group of players and coaches as I was after this game. The special moment we shared together in the locker room is one we all will remember forever!!

As we head into our off-season, we are focused on improving as a team. Our players all met with their position coaches to discuss ways to improve. I am a firm believer that we all must look at ourselves and decide what we all can do to improve. That goes for the head coach as well. Individual player development makes your team better. Our players will focus on becoming better people, better students, and better football players. Our coaches, me included, will hit the road for recruiting. There is much work to be done in building a championship football program!!!

In closing, I simply want to say, "thank you". Very few times in people's lives do we get to say, "we were the best at what we did together". In 2009, we were the best that ever started a football program. We all did this together. Everyone who had a hand in building and supporting this team has a right to say this is their team. This football team is proud to represent Old Dominion University. I am proud to be your head coach.

"Aim High" in everything you do!!!

- Coach Wilder