Fightin' Blue Hens Celebrate National Football Championship

By:  Joe Biden, Jr.
Date: Feb. 5, 2004
Location: Washington, DC

FIGHTIN' BLUE HENS CELEBRATE NATIONAL FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP

Mr. BIDEN. Mr. President, in my 33 years as a U.S. Senator from Delaware, I have had the opportunity to give hundreds of speeches on the Senate floor, but today is a first. It gives me tremendous pride today to officially congratulate my alma mater, the University of Delaware, on winning its first-ever NCAA Division I-AA National Football Championship.

Players, fans, and students will celebrate this milestone in the University of Delaware's history at a rally on Tuesday, February 10, 2004, at the Bob Carpenter Center. And we have much more than the national championship to celebrate. The Fightin' Blue Hens played one of the most outstanding seasons in college football history, with a record of 15 and 1 and setting a school record for victories in a season.

After clinching their seventh Atlantic 10 Football Conference championship, the 2003 squad sailed through the Division I-AA playoff, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 149 to 23. In fact, they won the championship game by shutting down Colgate 42 to 0. You can be sure I attended every playoff game, along with tens of thousands of other devoted Blue Hen fans.

As I said earlier, this marks the University of Delaware's first Division I-AA title crown, but we earned six other football titles as a Division II school. The last Division II title in 1979 was significant because our current coach, K.C. Keeler, played on that 1979 championship team as a linebacker.

In just his second year at the helm of UD football, K.C. Keeler took his team to the national championship; but, K.C. is the first to give his predecessor, legendary Hall of Fame coach Tubby Raymond, all the credit for recruiting and building this team. Tubby, this championship is yours, too.

To be sure, UD football has come a long way since the 1960s when I was at the University. But at a time when we all need some good news, the 2003 University of Delaware football team has given our State plenty to cheer about. My warmest congratulations to the coaches, players, parents, school officials, cheerleaders, marching band members, students, and, of course, the diehard fans, as we celebrate being national football champions.