HAMPTON, Va. – Lonza Hardy Jr., Director of Athletics at Hampton University, has terminated the employment of head football coach Jerry Holmes, effective one month from now. Hardy also announced that Donovan Rose, an 18-year veteran of the coaching staff, has been named as Holmes’ replacement.
“I want to personally thank Coach Holmes for his eight years of service to Hampton, including last season as our head coach,” said Hardy. “Unfortunately, we were not on one accord as it related to the future direction of the football program. I felt a dire need to have atop our football program a coach whose commitment, loyalty and devotion to Hampton University were without question.”
Rose served as the Pirates’ defensive coordinator and assistant head coach in 2008. Previously, he was the team’s defensive backs coach.
A 1979 graduate of Hampton, Rose was an All-CIAA performer who was named the conference’s defensive player of the year during his senior season in 1978. As a collegian, he also earned All-America honors and he was a starter on the 1978 Black College All-Star Team which competed at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans.
Following his college career, Rose signed with the Kansas City Chiefs of the NFL and he also played in the Canadian Football League, earning a championship ring when the Winnipeg Blue Bombers won the Grey Cup in 1984. Later, as a member of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins, Rose led the team in interceptions before retiring in 1988.
As an assistant coach at Hampton, Rose was instrumental in the football program capturing 14 championships, graduating over 185 student-athletes and sending over 40 players into the pros.
“I’m very happy to name Donovan Rose as new head coach,” said Hardy. “What he brings to the position is a wealth of knowledge, impeccable character and the respect of our players, assistant coaches, school administrators and staff alike. I have no doubt that he will restore the luster which has been lost in the program over the past couple of years.”
Rose said he was likewise elated to get an opportunity to serve as his alma mater’s head coach.
“With the tradition, the family atmosphere and the roots that I have here at Hampton University, I definitely consider this a great opportunity for me to be named head coach,” said Rose. “Hampton has always been known for its academics and for its athletic achievements. With hard work and determination, and with having the players and coaches on one accord, we can make Hampton a force to be reckoned with again.”
Hardy said he’ll introduce his new coach to the public at a Wednesday press conference on the HU campus.