Gridiron Grit

Student football manager Frank Delaney is ready to tackle whatever challenges life throws at him.

For years, Frank Delaney ’19 has listened to defensive coaches instruct their football players to “read the eyes of the quarterback.” The eyes can speak volumes with regard to intent.

Sitting across the table from Delaney in conversation, the look of determination in his eyes sends a clear message: Just give me a shot.

Now in his fourth and final season with the Hawks football program, Delaney walked onto campus his first year as a student living with cerebral palsy who strived to continue performing managerial duties for a football team. Next spring, he will leave campus as a friend to many, an invaluable team member, and a college graduate. Above all, he’ll depart more determined than ever to pave the road to his future and become an asset to a new team in the professional workforce.

“I enjoy every day to the fullest because I know that I may never work at another job like this one,” says Delaney, a communications studies major. “I am nervous about getting hired after I graduate, but I’m confident in my skill set and what I have to offer. I have learned a lot from my professors and experience with the football team, and feel I’m ready for more.”

Delaney attended nearby Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School, where he began serving as that football team’s manager as a sophomore. Monmouth Head Coach Kevin Callahan and assistant Brian Gabriel learned about Delaney from the Rumson staff and welcomed him to the Hawks football family his freshman year.

Working for a Division I football program is by no means a relaxed gig. Practices are intense and meticulously planned to the minute. Reliability is shared by each member of the crew to keep the vessel moving forward. That dependence spawned a heightened sense of independence for Delaney. He took ownership of his responsibilities and developed essential skills in time management and working in a group environment. Most important, the experience strengthened his self-confidence.

“I was overjoyed that he was welcomed so heartily by the football program,” says Anne Delaney, Frank’s mother. “He has experienced tremendous growth at Monmouth and his involvement with the football program played a huge part. Coach Callahan holds student-athletes to a high standard, and Frank became even more motivated by those standards.”

Over time, Delaney became a familiar face and staple figure in the Hawks’ program. Incoming players and newly hired student managers look to Delaney to find their way. Returning players see him as “one of the guys,” and several have taken inspiration from his resolve and fortitude.

Like every college senior, Delaney entered his final year at Monmouth with great anticipation tempered by shades of anxiousness. The uncertainty of where his feet will comfortably touch down to stride forward is sometimes consuming. His objective, however, is clear and concise.

“I want a full-time job with a salary and benefits,” said Delaney. “My goal when I came to Monmouth was to graduate in four years and have a grade point average over a 3.0. I’m on track to do both. I can’t control what people might think of me, but I am confident in my abilities and work ethic.”

A dream job for Delaney would be to work in communications or marketing for the NFL. For now, he is happy to provide messaging to those in need, free of charge.

“I was scared going into college because I didn’t know what to expect,” says Delaney. “So, my best advice to anyone entering college would be to take chances and get involved.”

In other words, just give it a shot.

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