Roman’s OT goal lifts Big Macs to first state title (copy)

Eleanor Bailey/The Almanac

Canon-McMillan coach Dave Derrico embraces players Addie Roman and Aideen O’Donoghue after the Big Macs won the first girls PIAA girls soccer championship in school history. Canon-McMillan defeated Central Bucks South, 1-0, in overtime for the title in 2016. Derrico resigned as the Big Macs’ head coach Thursday night.

Dave Derrico, who guided Canon-McMillan High School to the girls soccer state championship in 2016, resigned Thursday night as the Big Macs’ head coach.

Derrico spent more than 20 years coaching in the Canon-McMillan program, including the last 18 as the varsity head coach. He had a 215-121-21 career record and coached the Big Macs to a pair of PIAA title game appearances. The Big Macs made the final in 2014.

“Dave was a state champion coach who will be missed by the players and school district,” said Canon-McMillan athletic director Frank Vulcano. “He gave a lot of his time to make our program one of the top girls soccer programs in the state.”

The 67-year-old Derrico, who started as a middle school coach at Canon-McMillan, said it was a time for a change, both for himself and the program.

“Sometimes you know when it’s time to go,” he said. “Maybe the team needs a younger coach and a more energetic coach.”

Canon-McMillan will have a difficult time finding a more dedicated and more successful coach.

“I work hard. I was there all the time,” Derrico explained. “We do the weight room in winter and spring, then it was eight weeks of conditioning, and I was always there. That gets exhausting.”

Derrico also said the COVID-19 pandemic played a part in his resignation. He said he hasn’t seen his grandchildren, who live in Michigan, since Christmas.

“Because of that, I started asking myself, ‘What am I giving up on the family side?” he said. “I haven’t gone on a family vacation in 15 years.”

It won’t be easy for Derrico to step away from soccer. He still plays three times per week in an over-50 league.

“I wanted to make it 20 years (as head coach), but I’d be 70 years old,” he said. “I love coaching the girls. Those kids are great. Canon-McMillan has great kids. They make me feel young. I’m going to miss them.”

He’s also going to miss the matches in highly competitive Section 2 of Class 4A, which is widely considered the toughest and deepest league in the state.

Canon-McMillan’s best stretch under Derrico was from 2014 to 2016, when the Big Macs went 58-7-3 overall, including 30-3-1 in section play. Included in that stretch were the two state finals appearances.

Canon-McMillan won the state title in 2016, defeating Central Bucks South, 1-0, in overtime at wind-swept Hersheypark Stadium.

“That was the highlight, from 2014 to 16,” Derrico said. “We had a really good stretch. … I was really lucky to work under two very good athletic directors, Guy Montecalvo and Frank Vulcano, who are two of the best people to work for.”

Sports Editor

Since 1986, Chris Dugan has been covering local sports for the Observer-Reporter, and named sports editor in 2006. Before joining the O-R, he was sports editor at the Democrat-Messenger, and a former member of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

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