PHILADELPHIA - Dave Wood was officially named as the linebackers coach for the University of Pennsylvania football team on Tuesday. Wood, who is the former head coach at Widener University, brings 19 years of coaching experience to West Philadelphia. He replaces long-time linebackers coach Cliff Schwenke, who spent 11 seasons with the Quakers.
"We are very happy to have someone of Dave's qualifications," head coach Al Bagnoli said of the hiring. "He has a terrific background. He's been a positional coach, a coordinator and a head coach so he has a unique perspective. It's not easy to find someone with so much experience and expertise."
"I'm really excited about this opportunity," Wood said. "When I saw the chance to coach here, I pursued it hard. Growing up in Philadelphia, it was always obvious that this was a marquee program. They have had so much success on and off the field. When the opportunity to coach at Penn came up, it was a dream come true. I'm so glad to be here."
Wood spent the better part of the last two decades at Widener and pointed to Penn's stability as one of the job's major selling points.
"I spent almost 20 years at Widener so I didn't want to go somewhere for just one or two years," said Wood, a father of four. "You look at the staff around here and they stay around. They are so loyal to Coach Bagnoli and have built a great tradition of winning."
Of the nine assistant coaches on Bagnoli's staff, seven have spent at least the last five seasons at Penn and five have been a part of the staff for more than a decade. Among them, they have a total of 33 Ivy League championship rings.
As the head coach at Widener for the last seven seasons, the Pride thrived under Coach Wood. In 2007, they stormed to a league-record 17th MAC title and 12th trip to the NCAA Tournament with an undefeated conference mark. This came on the heels of back-to-back ECAC titles in 2005 and 2006, marking the first time the program won postseason championships in consecutive years. The first gave the program its first postseason title since 1981.
While a player at Widener, Wood was a two-time All-MAC honoree, receiving citations as a Division III All-American and Academic All-District player as a senior.
After graduation, Wood was an assistant coach for the Pride from 1991-1995. He spent 1996 as the running backs coach at Division I-AA Lehigh University before returning to Widener in 1997 as defensive coordinator.
In his role with the defense, the team was one of the best units in the country against the run. In 1998, the Pride led the nation in allowing just 31.4 yards per game on the ground. During that season, the defense shattered the school record with 73 sacks and ranked seventh nationally in total defense.
Wood, who also served as Widener’s head golf coach for 10 seasons, graduated from Widener in 1991 with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting and received a Master’s of Taxation degree from the University in 1993.
A native of Yeadon, Pa., Wood was one of Delaware County’s leading rushers with an average of 5.7 yards per carry at Penn Wood High School in 1986.
Wood resides in Garnet Valley, Pa., with his wife Deanna and their four children David, Matthew, C.J., and Samantha.