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    Wednesday, August 17, 2022

    Local roundup: Waterford's Crocker named head coach of new Div. III program

    Waterford's Billy Crocker, who served as defensive coordinator at UConn for two seasons, was named head coach at Eastern University (Pa.), a new Division III program that will begin play in 2022. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)

    Billy Crocker has landed his first head football coaching job.

    And the ex-Waterford High School star will be building the program from the ground floor up.

    Crocker was named head coach at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pa., a Philadelphia suburb, which will begin a new Division III program in 2022.

    The hiring, first reported by FootballScoop.com, was announced on Friday.

    "The No. 1 thing that caught me right away is the plan that (athletic director) Eric (McNelley) and the administration already started and put together," Crocker told the website. "It's well thought out, been on their minds a long time. That stuck with me, because there is a plan in place ... we're going to hit some bumps and roadblocks here and there, but the support campus-wide is there and will taking this be done the right way."

    Crocker leaves Elon University, a Football Championships Subdivision program in North Carolina, where he served as defensive coordinator since 2019. He was also the defensive coordinator at UConn for two seasons (2017-18), but has great ties to the Philadelphia area, where he was an assistant at Villanova for 12 seasons. Crocker and his wife, Kristi, are also Villanova graduates.

    His resume jumps off the screen to me right off the bat," McNelley told FootballScoop. "He has ties to Villanova and our Mainline area. Obviously being a Division I coach and being able to have the instant credibility and expertise. Once I got to know him ... and resumes look good ... but you've got to fit Eastern. He was a quality man, a family man, and you know what he values."

    Eastern, a private, Christian school less than 20 miles from Philadelphia, has already invested more than $20 million into the startup. They will play their home games at Valley Forge Military Academy and Crocker will be charged with hiring a coaching staff. They will predominately play a junior varsity schedule in 2022, some junior varsity games this fall and tackle a full-time Division III schedule in 2023.

    "We're going to go one step at a time, and that first step is recruiting," Crocker said. "We want to go out and recruit as well and as much as we can. ... As the number continues to grow over the next six to eight months, we can start talking about potentially putting it together for this fall. Outside of recruiting we're going to make our plans to be ready to put a product on the field if the numbers allow us to do that. We're going to make sure we can put something productive on the field.

    Men's hockey

    • A weekend Hockey East home-and-home series between UConn and Merrimack has been postponed due to COVID-19 protocols. The teams were scheduled to play Friday night and Saturday afternoon. The schools were working with the conference to reschedule the games at later dates.

    Women's basketball

    • Unbeaten SUNY-Sullivan (9-0) defeated UConn Avery Point 76-61 on Thursday night in Groton. Adeline Smith had 27 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Pointers (2-6) while Francesca Foster added 17 points, eight steals, six assists and six rebounds and Trinity Angel had 13 rebounds.

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