Widener did not have to look far for its new football coach, as it picked Bobby Acosta to lead the Pride, which is coming off a season in which it advanced to the quarterfinals.
Acosta arrives after five seasons at The College of New Jersey, where he was the offensive coordinator, wide receivers coach and tight ends coach. He was responsible for molding the offense, served as the team's academic advisor, was its strength and conditioning coach and oversaw video editing.
"We are impressed with Bobby Acosta's accomplishments both on and off of the football field," said Widener president James T. Harris III. "His role as academic advisor, his community outreach experience, and his track record of developing the leadership skills of student athletes aligns perfectly with the Widener mission. He also has an appetite for winning football games, which is important to our football tradition."
"I'm very excited," said Acosta. "As soon as I heard Widener opened up, I was attracted to the position. We have tremendous tradition and we can attract the best of players in the area. When I talked to Jack (Shafer, director of athletics), I told him that nothing was broken. My main goal is to play for championships and to attract top-quality student athletes. I'm very excited for the opportunity."
The Lions' offense flourished under Acosta, especially in 2011, when it went 7-3 and recorded a 27-21 win over Montclair State. That squad ended the season averaging 185.5 passing yards per game, 176.7 rushing yards per contest and 24.6 points per game.
Acosta's work at TCNJ was not limited to football. He also helped secure corporate sponsorships for the athletics department, was a site liaison at many home events, worked with the alumni affairs office on numerous events, served as facility coordinator for the fitness center, was a campus disciplinary board member and coordinator of the school's community outreach program that included the Special Olympics.
Acosta also spent two seasons as the tight ends coach with Delaware from 2007-08 as part of a staff that helped develop Super Bowl quarterback Joe Flacco. He was also the academic advisor for the team which played for the 2007 NCAA Division I-AA national championship and was selected as the ECAC Team of the Year.
Acosta has worked in preseason camp with the Cleveland Browns, had a coaching internship with the New York Jets and has worked camps with both the Jets and Lafayette. Acosta also served as the defensive backs coach at Rowan and the head coach at both Monmouth Regional High School and Marlboro High School.
Acosta's strong offensive mind-set will fit right in with the
Pride. Widener (11-1, 8-0 MAC) last
season was fifth in the country with 45.83 points per game, 10th with 334.42 passing yards per contest and 20th with 467.83 yards of total offense per game.
Widener last year won its record 19th Middle Atlantic Conference title, advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2001, started 11-0 for just the fourth time in school history and appeared in postseason for the 18th year. Eight players were named first team All-MAC, two were picked second team all-league and three were named honorable mention.
Acosta replaces Isaac Collins, who left to become head coach at Seton Hill University, a Division II school in Pennsylvania.