Dec. 2, 2013
From Colgate Athletic Communications
HAMILTON - Colgate's winningest head football coach has announced his retirement after 18 stellar seasons and seven Patriot League titles, leaving behind a legacy of championship play, outstanding mentorship and the class and dignity recognized nationwide as Colgate Football.
Dick Biddle stepped down Monday after 18 seasons as the Fred '50 and Marilyn Dunlap Head Football Coach. Director of Athletics Victoria M. Chun 91, '94 also announced that Associate Head Coach Dan Hunt is succeeding Biddle as the 29th head coach in school history, effective July 1, 2014.
A news conference is set for 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Colgate Inn.
"My wife and I carefully considered this decision," Biddle said. "Our love for Colgate and Hamilton is unparalleled, but 18 years as head coach is a long time at any one place. Sometimes a change is good for everybody.
"I've had a great run here and accomplished many of my coaching goals. There are other things I want to do in my life, and this is the perfect opportunity for my wife and me to begin a new chapter."
Biddle, who just turned 66, retires as the winningest coach in Patriot League history. He compiled a 137-73 (.652) overall record and won three out of every four conference games he coached, finishing 81-27 (.750) against league competition. The next-closest Patriot League coach is Lafayette's Frank Tavani, who has 76 overall victories and 45 in conference play.
The Raiders legend also finishes 39-10 against the Ivy League, and his 18 seasons as head coach matches the great Andy Kerr for Colgate football coaching longevity.
Biddle's duties at Colgate officially run through the end of the current academic year, but Hunt assumes all responsibilities for recruiting, spring practice and preparations for next season.
"Dick's list of accomplishments is great, but what's truly amazing is that he always acted with the utmost sportsmanship, humbleness and class," Chun said. "He's a man of few words, but when he does speak - whether it is a subtle joke or a life lesson - we all listen.
"His inspiration reached from the football field to the classroom to life after Colgate."
Five-Time Coach of the Year
In 2012, Biddle was named Patriot League Coach of the Year for the fifth time while guiding the Raiders to their seventh Patriot League title and seventh appearance in the NCAA playoffs.
Biddle achieved the best winning percentage of any Colgate coach with seven or more years at the helm of the Raiders. He also is the first Colgate coach to ever record nine straight seasons (1997-2005) with seven or more victories. In addition, 2012 marked his 14th campaign with at least seven victories.
"My career was supported by great coaches, players and administrators who stood behind our commitment to succeed," Biddle said. "We won seven championships but three or four other times we were second and had a chance to win the championship, like this past year."
A season that will be long remembered is Colgate's 2003 run to the national championship game. The Raiders won their first 15 games of the season - three in the NCAA playoffs - and Biddle was named the American Football Coaches Association Division I-AA National Coach of the Year.
"For a non-scholarship program with the highest academic standards to compete for a national championship speaks volumes about what that team was made of," Biddle said. "That's something Colgate Football and I will never forget."
Star Player at Duke
The Parkersburg, W.Va., native starred on the gridiron collegiately at Duke as a two-time All-ACC linebacker. He received All-America third team honors his senior year and played in the Blue-Gray and Hula Bowl all-star games. Biddle later was elected to Duke's All-Century Team.
Prior to taking over the Raiders, Biddle's coaching career took he and his wife, Sheila, to stops at Virginia Tech, Minnesota and Navy, along with two stints as a Colgate assistant. Biddle began his coaching career at Allegheny in 1973 before meeting Sheila during his first tenure with the Raiders.
"My wife is a great supporter of mine," Biddle said. "She was as much of the reason the program has been successful as I was. She's a coach's wife and knows a lot about football. I owe my whole career to her."
Chun recognizes Biddle's legacy and also appreciates the fact that he was wise enough to have a right-hand person like Hunt by his side all these years.
"Dick is a great coach, person and a dear friend who leaves a legacy of success and leadership at Colgate University," Chun said. "Our football program has had an incredible line of legendary coaches: Andy Kerr, Fred Dunlap '50 and Dick Biddle.
"Therefore, it was important to find a leader who is highly accomplished, has experienced success under a legendary head coach, has a proven history of recruiting success at a highly selective academic institution, inspires assistant coaches and players and, most importantly, understands how to develop and foster the kind of culture that fits Colgate University.
"We found all those things in our associate head coach, Dan Hunt."
Hunt, 44, has been by Biddle's side since Biddle took over as Raiders head coach to begin the 1996 campaign. An immediate sign of the two men's coaching abilities saw them rally a squad that went 0-11 the previous season to a 6-5 overall record in 1996, followed by a perfect 6-0 Patriot League season in 1997.
That marked the first of seven conference titles the Biddle & Hunt team constructed.
"It is a true honor and a privilege to be selected to lead Colgate football," Hunt said. "I look forward to the opportunity of continuing Coach Biddle's established tradition of excellence both on and off the field."
Hunt also has been the offensive mastermind behind Colgate's recent winning ways. The Springfield College graduate just completed his fourth season as associate head coach and seventh as offensive coordinator. He has been the quarterbacks coach since 1999.
In 2012 with Hunt calling the shots, the Raiders finished third nationally in scoring offense, fourth in total offense and fifth in rushing offense. And Hunt's starting quarterback turned in one of the more impressive individual seasons in Colgate history.
Gavin McCarney tore through the Raiders record book en route to compiling 3,778 yards of total offense - 1,406 of that coming on the ground. McCarney was the nation's leading scorer with 140 points, scoring 23 touchdowns and added one two-point conversion. He was named to All-America units by The Sports Network (Second Team) and The Associated Press (Third Team), in addition to earning the Patriot League's Offensive Player of the Year.
Hunt's Keys to Success
McCarney's name now appears in the Colgate individual records section in 19 different categories.
"It takes a very special culture to succeed at Colgate," Hunt said. "Our student-athletes are highly driven and our campus culture is unique. Recruiting, mentoring and welcoming talented student-athletes into our program are the keys to continued success."
Colgate in 2012 under Hunt was one of the nation's most prolific offensive units. The Raiders led the Patriot League and ranked in the top 10 nationally in nearly every major offensive category. Colgate finished the season third nationally in scoring (39.4), fourth in total offense (486.4), fifth in rushing (284.5) and sixth in pass efficiency (154.22 rating). In addition, tailback Jordan McCord rushed for 1,708 yards for the fifth-best total in Patriot League history.
Hunt began his Colgate tenure working with the tight ends in 1995 and 1996, before one season as the running backs coach.
"I always have viewed myself as the most fortunate assistant in college football," Hunt said. "For 18 years, I have been able to work at a school I respect and admire while living in a town I love. Now to be chosen as head coach is an absolute dream come true.
"The last two years as Associate Head Coach served me well in preparing for the next step. I interacted with Colgate faculty, administrators, alumni, parents and friends of the program in a consistent manner. I gained important experience in the process, all while learning what it takes to be successful at Colgate."
Hunt has seen 11 of his players earn All-Patriot League honors, highlighted by the selection of quarterbacks McCarney and Ryan Vena as the league's top offensive players. Also under his tutelage, running back Daymon Smith was named Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year in 1997 and running back Ed Weiss was selected Patriot League Rookie of the Year.
This year's honorees were fullback Ed Pavalko for the second year in a row and freshman Jordi Dalmau on the offensive line.
"Dan Hunt is a superb choice as my replacement," Biddle said. "He has an excellent reputation on campus, the players admire him and he knows what it takes to be successful at Colgate. You have to be yourself and put your trademark on a team, and I'm sure he will do that."
Hunt came to Colgate from his alma mater, where he helped coach the wide receivers and tight ends. Hunt began his coaching career at Christian Brothers Academy in Albany before returning to Springfield in 1993 as head junior varsity coach.
Hunt was a three-year starter at tight end for Springfield.
Born in Canajoharie, N.Y., Hunt graduated from Springfield in 1992 with a degree in physical education, and earned his master's degree in athletic administration from Springfield in 1995.
He and his wife, Susanne, are the parents of sons Ryan and Sean. They make their home in Hamilton.
"My wife has been the single most important person in my coaching career," Hunt said. "It takes a special person to be the spouse of a coach, and I could not ask for a better person to support me and allow me to pursue this career. Both my sons were born in Hamilton, and I can think of no better situation to raise a family."
Chun expects a smooth transition from Biddle to Hunt.
"I am looking forward to working with Dan as our head football coach and continuing our winning-with-class tradition of Colgate Football," Chun said.