Middletown High football coach Mark DelPercio was one of eight coaches in Delaware nominated for USA Today’s America’s Best High School Football Coach.
But when the state-level voting was completed on Tuesday, the coach of the top-ranked high school football program in the state finished fifth with 3,092 votes.
“I’m no more disappointed than I would have been excited had I won,” DelPercio said Tuesday from his Middletown High math classroom. “It’s an honor to be recognized, but in the end it’s about building relationships over time, not any individual accolades or awards.”
DelPercio said he never visited the USA Today contest website and was not aware the voting ended today.
“I appreciate the support from everyone who did vote,” he said. “But as far as the winning the contest goes, I really didn’t pay it much attention.”
DelPercio did extend his congratulations to Concord High School football coach George Kosanovih whose 28,734 votes will propel him to the regional-level voting among 51 coaches representing each state and Washington D.C. take place from noon on Oct.9 to noon on Oct. 18.
The eight highest vote-getters at the regional level will then advance onto the national round, with voting from Oct. 21 to Oct. 29.
The highest vote-winner at that level will be named USA Today’s Best High School Football Coach in the Nation, earning $2,000 and banner for their athletic department in the process. Second through fifth place will receive cash prizes ranging from $100 to $1,000.
A member of Middletown High’s Class of 1986, DelPercio has amassed an impressive win total and earned himself Division I Football Coach of the Year honors during his tenure.
But he said he’s most proud of having done so a public school in his hometown.
“When you take a look at schools that have had success in Delaware, the region or wherever, many times it’s a private school,” he said. “But we’ve been able to achieve this level of success with kids from right here in Middletown, Odessa and Townsend who are dedicated and really their tails, thanks in large part to the tremendous feeder program we have in our youth football programs.”
The Middletown High Cavaliers are currently rated No. 1 in Delaware and No. 141 in the country by Maxpreps.com.
DelPercio also is actively involved in Special Olympics and cancer awareness and fundraising.
Delaware coaches who finished ahead of him in the voting also included St. Elizabeths’ Joe Hemphill, Delmar High School’s David Hearn and Cape Henlopen’s Bill Collick.