By: Daniel Massa – Staff Writer
With Dayton football’s Oct. 4 victory against Davidson College, head coach Rick Chamberlin secured his 50th win leading the UD football program.
However, Chamberlin has been a part of many more UD football wins than his 50 as head coach. He first stepped on campus as a player in 1975.
A native of Springfield, Ohio, Chamberlin was recruited and offered a scholarship to play linebacker for the Flyers.
“It was a place that was close to home, being from Springfield, so my family could enjoy the football each season,” Chamberlin said. “I enjoyed the atmosphere on campus.”
UD football was a Division I scholarship sport back then, and Chamberlin said playing established Division I programs such as Miami (OH) and Bowling Green helped draw him to life as a Flyer. He was a member of the team when the school decided to stop giving out football scholarships, beginning his junior year.
Heading into this season, Chamberlin had been a part of 341 wins as a player, assistant coach and head coach, according to daytonflyers.com. The five victories the Flyers have recorded this season raises that number to 346.
Chamberlin said he never would have guessed he would be a member of the Dayton community for so long.
“I don’t think anyone goes into it thinking, ‘Oh boy, I’m going to spend the next 40 years here at this place,’” he said. “I’ve been very blessed to be here at the University of Dayton.”
After he finished his collegiate career with 385 career tackles, leading the team in both his junior and senior seasons, Chamberlin accepted a position as a graduate assistant on the Flyers’ coaching staff, receiving his master’s degree in counselor education in the process.
Chamberlin chose to stay in Dayton over joining the staff at the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts.
“It was at the time of my wife and I’s first child’s birth,” he said. “I thought I had a couple sets of grandparents who would kill me if I took the family to Massachusetts.”
Chamberlin eventually became defensive coordinator under head coach Mike Kelly. He helped establish what has become a history of effective Dayton defenses, with the Flyers leading the PFL in scoring defense in nine of the last 11 seasons, with five of those seasons ranking in the top five in all of FCS football.
Chamberlin’s milestone victory over Davidson required five overtimes to decide, with the Flyers winning 54-48.
“It was very memorable there, with five overtimes,” Chamberlin said. “I guess if you want to have something to remember your 50th win by, go five overtimes. You’ll never forget that.”
The victory sticks in the memories of Chamberlin’s players as well.
“We really had to overcome some challenges to get that win,” junior starting center Shane Toub said. “And for it to be coach’s 50th win was really special because we ended up having to do exactly what he always says and overcome tough breaks in order to win.”
“There were a lot of times in that game where we could have packed it in, but it’s a testament to Chamberlin’s coaching that we stayed calm and together and got the win,” Toub said.
Chamberlin said he didn’t know it was his 50th win until after the game when Dayton’s radio broadcaster Larry Hangsen congratulated him.
“I’m very appreciative of all the teams I’ve worked with for these last six and a half years to help us get to that 50 win mark,” Chamberlin said.
Chamberlin takes the task of continuing the tradition established by Mike Kelly very seriously, that of competing for championships on the field and being positive ambassadors for the university around campus and the community.
“I just want to continue that high standard of our program,” Chamberlin said.