Middletown High School knows all about Mark DelPercio's success as a football coach, teacher and mentor.
But with a little community support, the rest of the nation might soon learn more about the man who has led the Cavaliers to five state championship games and three state titles in nine years.
DelPercio is one of eight high school football coaches in Delaware – and 408 in the country – recently nominated for the title of USA Today's Best High School Football Coach in the Nation.
"It's really tremendous honor to be put in the same category as some of the great coaches who are out there," the math teacher said from his classroom today. "I think sometimes, though, head coaches get way too much credit. One of the best things a coach can do is surround themselves with great people and the assistant coaches who have work with me are a great group of dedicated people that also deserve some recognition."
Other Delaware coaches chosen by USA Today staffers to represent the First State are Cape Henlopen's Bill Collick, Salesianum's Bill NiNardo, Newark's Butch Simpson, Delmar's David Hearn, Concord's George Kosanovich, St. Elizabeth's Joe Hemphill and St. Mark's John Wilson.
From now until 12 p.m. on Oct. 8, anyone older than 13 can vote for their favorite nominee at contest.usatodayhss.com/vote/bestcoach2013/de.
The coach who receives the most votes by then will be advance to regional voting among 51 coaches representing each state and Washington D.C. That round of voting will take place from noon on Oct.9 to noon on Oct. 18.
The eight highest vote-getters at the regional level will then advance onto the national round, with voting from Oct. 21 to Oct. 29.
The highest vote-winner at that level will be named USA Today's Best High School Football Coach in the Nation, earning $2,000 and banner for their athletic department in the process. Second through fifth place will receive cash prizes ranging from $100 to $1,000.
A member of Middletown High's Class of 1986, DelPercio has amassed an impressive win total and earned himself Division I Football Coach of the Year honors.
But he said he's most proud of having done so a public school in his hometown.
"When you take a look at schools that have had success in Delaware, the region or wherever, many times it's a private school," he said. "But we've been able to achieve this level of success with kids from right here in Middletown, Odessa and Townsend who are dedicated and really their tails, thanks in large part to the tremendous feeder program we have in our youth football programs."
The Middletown High School Cavaliers are currently rated No. 1 in Delaware and No. 141 in the country by Maxpreps.com.
Page 2 of 2 - DelPercio also is actively involved in Special Olympics and cancer awareness and fundraising.