When Old Dominion was looking to start an FCS football program from scratch with the dreams of being accepted to the FBS level, it’s likely there were more well known names than the man who spent more over 25 seasons as an assistant coach at Maine (FCS).
But Bobby Wilder, the man who was born and raised in Maine before eventually going there as a quarterback and then running backs coach before eventually rising the ranks to assistant head coach / offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach, was the choice of the Old Dominion brass to help them build a football program from the ground up.
Wilder took on his first head coaching role at ODU back in 2007, and today he formally resinged from the post following a 1-11 season. As Wilder shared at a press conference today a number of times, he got to lead the team he was so instrumental in creating for 4,373 days total.
If a head coach’s press conference where can recall exactly how many days he’s led the program sounds a bit strange to you, well, Wilder’s farewell presser was anything but normal.
Wilder’s opening statement struck a cord with a number of people after it was shared on social media, and his tone overall was very humble, extremely thankful, and honestly quite refreshing as he recapped his tenure leading the program as the end of the only era ODU football has ever known came to an end with his resignation today.
“Almost 13 years, and I wear that like a badge of honor. I am a nobody from nowhere who had an opportunity to build the best startup program in the 150 year history of college football.”
Some coaches leave in the dark of the night sending just a text to players on their current rosters, while other coaches resign and players first hear about it on social media. But that, again, is where Wilder is different. He shared, that the remainder of the week, he’s shared committing to meeting with every single one of the 104 players on the ODU roster to discuss their futures as student athletes and life beyond football.
That simply doesn’t happen most places folks. But Wilder has an intimate connection with this ODU program and each one of his 77 wins (and even 56 losses) with the program are clearly special to him.
Catch his presser, and more unique moments from it, in the clip. His opening remarks are what really resonated with a lot of folks.