Hall Of Fame and Legendary Delaware Football Coach Tubby Raymond Dies At 92

The legendary and Hall of Fame University of Delaware Football Head coach Harold R. “Tubby” Raymond died Friday at age of 92. Raymond died from complications after a recent illness and Delaware Online reports he was surrounded by family at Christiana Hospital.

Tubby Raymond was just more then a coach at Delaware, he was an institution at the University. Raymond was there for 50 years bringing the football team 300 wins, two national championships, nine conference titles , six Yankee Conference/Atlantic 10 titles,  won 14 Lambert Cups and 16 NCAA playoff appearances. Raymond was also one of the innovators of the Wing-T offense.

If you mention University Of Delaware football team or just the school to someone, there is good chance they would bring up Tubby Raymond.

(Photo: The New Journal/WILLIAM BRETZGER)

Before Former Vice President Joe Biden gave Delaware more of a national stage, Raymond gave the state just as much with his winning ways and his innovation as a coach.

Former UD athletic director Edgar Johnson told Delaware Online’s Kevin Tresolini this about Tubby Raymond:

“He stands with the immortals,” Johnson told the gathering. “If you said ‘Tubby,’ everybody in the country in football knew who you were talking about. He’s had such a huge impact on our small state.’’

“It’s a sad day,” he said. “No matter where you went throughout the country, when you said you were from the University of Delaware, people would say, ‘Oh, that’s Tubby Raymond’s school.’ He got more out of his players than other coaches, and he was a good man.”

Tubby Raymond’s story started in Flint, Michigan who was a chunky kid growing up and earned his nickname “Tubby”.

Raymond played quarterback and linebacker on the University of Michigan college football team in the 1940’s.

The Michigan native also played baseball for University of Michigan and was the captain of the baseball team in 1949.

Raymond played for the minor league baseball teams the Clarksdale Planters (1950) and in with the Flint Arrows (1951).

Also in 1951, Raymond started his career in coaching college football as an assistant at the University of Maine.

In 1954, Raymond joined University of Delaware as a backfield coach under David M. Nelson, who had also played at Michigan ( Running Back) and was also Michigan native like Tubby.

The two teamed up to create the Delaware Wing-T offense which is used by  high school, college and some NFL teams.

Raymond served under Nelson for 12 years before Nelson resigned to devote full-time to his athletic director duties.

Also according to Delaware Online’s Kevin Tresolini, Nelson handpicked Raymond to be his successor in 1966 because he feared Raymond would leave Delaware for a coaching job somewhere else.

Photo Credit: The News Journal

In his first year as the head coach of Delaware, Raymond went 6-3 and the Hens were first in the Middle Atlantic Conference.

In 1968 and 1969, Tubby Raymond led the Blue Hens to two Boardwalk Bowl Victories and this was before NCAA started playoffs for small schools like Delaware.

Raymond coaching up his quarterback in the 1969 Boardwalk Bowl game Photo Credit: The News Journal

In 1970 and 1971, Raymond and the Blue Hens won two more Boardwalk Bowl games. Raymond and the Hens were rolling and no one could stop them.

The 1972 season, Raymond’s team went 10-0 and in 1973 the NCAA began playoffs for schools at Delaware’s level.

Then the 1973 season, Delaware went 8-4 and lost to Grambling State in the Boardwalk Bowl.

File photo of Tubby Raymond
Photo: NewsJournal

 

In the next year, the Blue Hens went 12-2 and did not make it the Division II Championship but they did win the Grantland Rice bowl which was a semifinal.

In the next three seasons, the Hens went 22-9-1 and lost the Division II  Quarterfinal in 1976.

The 1978 season , Raymond led the Hens to a 10-4 record  but lost the NCAA Division II Championship to Eastern Illinois.

Raymond might of not won in 1978 but in 1979 came back stronger and went 13-1 which brought them to a  NCAA Division II Championship win. After winning the the Division II Championship, ABC Sports and Chevrolet named Raymond the NCAA Division II Coach of the Year in 1979.

In 1980, Delaware moved from Division II to I-AA in that season, Raymond led the Hens to a 9-2 record that year.

K.C. Keeler who was a linebacker from 1978-80 and later took over the job from Raymond told this to DelawareOnline about Tubby:

He was a master motivator,”  “We didn’t know if he was a mad scientist or the crazy professor. But he knew how to deal with everybody differently, and he knew how to get the most out of you.’’

In 1981, the Hens went 9-3 but lost in the  NCAA Division I-AA Quarterfinal.

The next season the Hens went 12-2  but lost  in the NCAA Division I-AA Championship.

Then the next three seasons, the Hens went 19-14 and the Hens then moved to the Yankee Conference in 1986.

Through 1986-1990, Raymond led the Blue Hens to 41-24 record and went to the NCAA Division I-AA Quarterfinal in 1986 and the NCAA Division I-AA First Round in 1988.

In next four seasons the Hens went 37-12-1 which lead them to the NCAA Division I-AA First Round (1991), NCAA Division I-AA Semifinal (1992) and  NCAA Division I-AA Quarterfinal (1993).

Tubby Raymond in August 1994.
Tubby Raymond In 1994. Photo: NewsJournal

Then in 1995 & 1996, Raymond took the Hens to a 19-6 record which led them to a NCAA Division I-AA Quarterfinal (1995) and NCAA Division I-AA First Round (1996).

The Hens moved to the Atlantic 10 Conference after the 1996 season and Raymond led the Hens to a 12-2  season their first year in the conference. The Hens lost in NCAA Division I-AA Semifinal in that season.

In the next three seasons Hens went 26-10 which took them to a NCAA Division I-AA Semifinal in 2000.

In his final season (2001), Raymond earned his 300th victory against the Richmond Spiders which had the home crowd going crazy and the legendary coach was carried off the field.

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, outdoor
Photo by Delaware Athletics

Raymond told the crowd this after the win:

“I have to apologize for paraphrasing, but I feel a little bit like Lou Gehrig. I’m the luckiest man on the face of the earth. First, I’d like to thank the Delaware fans who have been here for so many years. I know there are things that happen that you don’t like. There are things that happen that I don’t like. But the thing that’s there all the time is you. You’re at every football game. You’re excited about being here, and you truly made Delaware football something we can all be proud of. Thank you very much.”

He was the ninth coach in college history to reach that milestone and the fourth to accomplish that at the time.

Tubby Raymond retired that season after the team lost to Villanova in their finale but he still remained around the program up to the day he died. The next Blue Hens coaches would welcome Raymond into football meetings and practices, and he often watched videotape with coaches.

The current head coach of the Blue Hens Danny Rocco told this of the Legendary Tubby Raymond to DelawareOnline:

“What he has done kind of transcends time,” said Rocco. “He has touched so many young people’s lives and he’s changed the lives of so many of his ex-players. He has been able to shape and mold them into being men of good character who’ve been able to go out and contribute in our society and men that remain extremely proud of being part of the Delaware Blue Hen family.”

“To this day I recognize him as being a very caring and giving human being,” Rocco said. “That’s what kind of caught me off-guard when I first got here and met him. He was a lot more interested in meeting me. … It’ll hurt a lot, but I think it’ll even continue to help us appreciate what we had.”

Also, the year after he retired, University of Delaware named the football field  Tubby Raymond Field after Raymond.

Raymond coached 15 National Football League draft picks, including four-time Pro Bowl quarterback and 2002 NFL Most Valuable Player Rich Gannon, and 34 first team All-Americans

Raymond was named national coach of the year four times, regional coach of the year seven times, and was named Atlantic 10/Yankee Conference Coach of the Year in 1991.

On a district level, Raymond was named AFCA College Division District II (now NCAA I-AA Region I) Coach of the Year seven times, and the New York Football Writers Association ECAC Division I-AA Coach of the Year twice.

Raymond was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2003 and was also a member of the University of Delaware Athletics Hall of Fame (2002), the state of Delaware Sports Hall of Fame (1993), the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Hall of Fame (2017), and the Flint, Michigan Hall of Fame (1983).

The Blue Hen coach had turned down numerous higher-level coaching jobs to stay at Delaware, according to DelawareOnline’s Kevin Tresolini.

Football is what got his name to icon status but before football, Raymond coached Baseball first.

Raymond led the Maine Black Bears to a 36-26-1 record through 1952-1954.

Tubby Raymond in March 28, 1963.
Tubby in 1963 coaching UD’s baseball team. Photo: NewsJournal

Then when he was coaching football at Delaware, Raymond also coached the baseball team which he led to a 142-55-2 record through 1956-1964.

Outside of football, Raymond’s hobbies were golf and painting. Tubby started his Blue Hen portrait tradition in the 1950’s where he would  paint a senior member of the team each week during the season for most of his career at Delaware and continued to until this year.

Former UD coach Tubby Raymond shows off his painting
Raymond’s painting of (from left) Rich Gannon, Joe Flacco & Scott Brunner. Photo: Kevin Tresolini

His paintings of his players brought Raymond national attention from places like  a feature  in Sports Illustrated, on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” NBC’s “Nightly News,’ CNN and Fox Sports.

Raymond also gave back to the community which gave him so much by starting the Tubby Raymond Foundation to benefit area programs aiding at-risk children. The legendary coach used his paintings of Blue Hens players as fundraising material.

The former Blue Hen coach resided in Landenberg, Pa. with his wife Diane and had four children, 11 grandchildren, and 13 great grandchildren. Raymond’s first wife and who was his childhood sweetheart Suzanne Heinmann passed away in 1990.

Raymond’s youngest son David is well-known as the  as the original Phillie Phanatic costume and now runs the Raymond Entertainment Group, which supervises the Mascot Hall of Fame.

 

 

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