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.”