Photo of Coach Rick Chamberlin. Photo courtesy of UD Athletics.
Max Cross | Assistant Sports Editor
The University of Dayton Flyers opened the 2022 campaign with a gritty, comeback win against the Robert Morris Colonials on Sept 3. The win was Dayton head coach Rick Chamberlin’s 100th career victory, all at the University of Dayton.
The Flyers trailed 14-6 at halftime and rallied a comeback by outscoring the Colonials 16-0 in the third quarter. The Colonials turned away a potential game-tying two-point conversion attempt to win 22-20.
“I was crying,” said an emotional Chamberlin following the victory. “What’s special about this program are the kids. They are so passionate about this sport and about each other, the energy they all bring to this team just makes this so much more emotional.”
“It’s recognition of all the assistant coaches that have been through here with me, and all these players. I’m just the name on the top of the program,” he added.
Chamberlin is in his 14th season as head coach of the Flyers, and his 47th overall season with the Dayton football team. Chamberlain played all four years in his undergrad as a linebacker and then became an assistant coach for 29 seasons. Chamberlin is the 16th active Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) coach to have 100 wins.
According to UD Athletics, Chamberlain is also the third Dayton football to reach the century mark, joining College Football Hall of Famers Harry Baujan and Mike Kelly. Chamberlin is the third coach at the Division I level to have won at least 100 games at his alma mater after playing for the school and immediately joining the coaching staff. Others include William A. Alexander, who succeeded John Heisman at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Knute Rockne at the University of Notre Dame.
A four-year letterwinner (1975-78) for the Flyers, Chamberlin was named to the Football Coaches Association Small College All-America team. He was the third Dayton player to be named a First Team All-American and he was the first defensive player to make the list.
He still holds the Dayton records for tackles in a career (419) and in a single season (152) in 1978.
A native of Springfield, Ohio and a 1975 graduate of Springfield North High School, Chamberlin was a three-time all-city selection and Springfield Player of the Year as a senior. In four years at Dayton, he was credited with 385 tackles and led the team as a junior (115 solo tackles) and as a senior (121). He was also the first two-time winner of the Chief Toscani Hitter Award and a member of UD’s first NCAA Division III Playoff team in 1978.
Chamberlin was inducted into the University of Dayton Athletic Hall of Fame in 1989.
“He is the real story,” said Chamberlin’s coach, Mike Kelly, who was the defensive coordinator for the Flyers from 1977-1980. “Here’s a guy who went to college to play football, became a graduate assistant, an assistant coach, then a very successful defensive coordinator and now a head coach— all at the same institution. He understands the tradition of the Dayton football program, and the culture. Rick is a player’s coach. They love to play for him.”
Following the comeback win against Robert Morris, the Flyers prepared for week 2 with a matchup against Youngstown State on Sept. 10. Both teams entered the game 1-0, but a record-setting day by Youngstown State was too much to overcome as the Penguins defeated the Flyers 49-16 at Stambaugh Stadium in Youngstown to hand Dayton its first loss of the season.
The Penguins opened the game with 21 unanswered points in the first quarter and had 153 yards of total offense compared to 43 yards for Dayton. Dayton safety Cole Hildebrand forced a fumble to open the second quarter and that set up a 34 yard field goal by Sam Webster. However, Youngstown State would go on another 21-point run and cruised to victory, holding Dayton to 6 points over the final 30 minutes.
Despite the loss, Dayton quarterback Dante Casciola completed 17 of 26 passes for 134 yards along with a touchdown and an interception. Ben Schmiesing led UD with eight tackles and the Dayton Flyers continued their streak of scoring in their 499th consecutive game, an NCAA record.
In week 3, the University of Dayton beat Kentucky State 46-3 in the Flyers’ home opener at Welcome Stadium and improved to 2-1 on the season. Casciola was once again efficient as he was 11 of 18 through the air for 182 passing yards to go along with three touchdown passes.
Running back Jake Chisholm caught two passes for 59 yards as well as 33 rushing yards. Both of his catches went for touchdowns. Kentucky State kept Dayton out of the end zone throughout the second quarter to only trail 10-3, however, Dayton cruised in the second half, moving the ball at will and outscored Kentucky State 36-0 in the final two quarters.
Victory over Kentucky State earned Dayton its 500th consecutive game in which they scored. The last team to shut out the Flyers was Marshall, 9-0, on Oct. 16, 1976, according to UD Athletics.
Dayton (2-1) has a week off before opening Pioneer Football League play on Oct. 1 at Welcome Stadium against Drake (0-3), with kickoff scheduled for 1 p.m. ET. The game will also be streamed on Facebook Live.