By Gary Lambrecht
Senior linebacker from Cedar Park, Texas
Junior slot back from Hamilton Square, N.J.
Senior slot back from Lilburn, Ga.
Navy will recognize its 31 senior members prior to Saturday's AAC contest against Tulsa.
Navy-LA Tech Football 12-23-16
Army-Navy Football 12-10-16
Navy-Temple Football 12-3-16
Army-Navy Football 2015
2014 Navy-USF FB
Danny O’Rourke is in his 16th season at Navy and his seventh as the slot backs coach. He has also coached the secondary (four seasons), wide receivers (three seasons) and the inside linebackers (two seasons). Additionally, he is in his second year as special teams coordinator.
He has been an integral part of a staff that has brought the Midshipmen back into the national spotlight with a 120-61 (.663) record over the last 14 years, that includes 13 bowl games, 10 Commander-In-Chief’s Trophies and a 14-1 mark against Army.
Navy has won at least nine games seven times in the last 13 years. Before the current streak, Navy had won nine or more games just five times in the previous 77 seasons.
Navy finished the 2016 campaign with a 9-5 mark and a 7-1 record in the American Athletic Conference despite a season that saw the Mids have 102 missed games by starters or key contributors. The Mids played Temple in the AAC Championship game and played in a bowl game (Armed Forces) for the 13th time in the last 14 years. The nine wins tied for the fifth most wins in school history and the team set school records for points (531), touchdowns (73), touchdowns per game (5.2), rushing touchdowns (61), total offense (6,136 yards) and yards per play (6.8) despite playing four different quarterbacks.
The Mids were also much improved on special teams finishing 25th in the country in net punting (39.8 yards per punt), seventh in kickoff return defense (17.1 yards per return) and 25th in kickof returns (23.2 yards per return). Senior slot back Dishan Romine was named Honorable Mention All-AAC as a return specialist. Romine averaged 26.2 yards per return for his career, the third best average in school history.
Navy finished the 2015 campaign with a school-record 11 wins against two losses, qualified for a bowl game for the 12th time in the last 13 years, won a bowl game for the 10th time in school history (beat Pittsburgh, 44-28, in the Military Bowl), won a bowl game for a third straight year for the first time in school history, defeated Army for a series-record 14th consecutive year, won the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy for the third time in the last four years, won the Lambert Trophy as the best team in the East for the first time since 1963, finished 18th in the country in both the Associated Press and Coaches polls and shared the West Division title of the American Athletic Conference with Houston in Navy’s first year of being in a conference after being an Independent for 134 years.
Last fall, the Mids finished No. 2 in the country in rushing offense (326.7), No. 3 in passing yards per completion (20.0), 22nd in scoring offense (36.8), No. 1 in red zone offense (.948),No. 4 in third down conversions (.503), No. 1 in fourth down conversions (.923), No. 1 in fewest turnovers lost (8), No. 3 in turnover margin (+1.46), No. 1 in fewest penalties per game (3.1) and No. 1 in fewest penalty yards per game (26.1).
Kick returner Dishan Romine was named First-Team All-East and finished 11th in the nation in kickoff returns, averaging 27.3 yards per return. Romine’s 27.3 yard average is the sixth-best single-season average in school history and his career average of 27.3 yards per return ranks third. Navy finished 25th in the country as a team in kickoff returns, averaging 24.22 yards per return.
Navy finished the 2014 season with an 8-5 record, won a bowl game for just the ninth time in school history (beat San Diego State, 17-16, in the Poinsettia Bowl) and defeated Army.
Navy finished the 2013 campaign with a 9-4 record, won the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy, won a bowl game (beat Middle Tennessee, 24-6, in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl) and defeated Army.
O’Rourke helped lead Navy to an 8-5 record in 2012 and a berth in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. Navy defeated Air Force, 28-21, in overtime and Army, 17-13, to win the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy.
The Mids posted an impressive 9-4 record in 2010, defeated Army for a series-record ninth-consecutive time, defeated Notre Dame in consecutive seasons for only the third time in school history and appeared in a bowl game.
The 2009 season was one to remember, as the Mids tied a school record for wins with 10, won the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy, appeared in a school-record seventh-consecutive bowl game and ran its winning streak against the other two Service Academies to an amazing 15-straight games. The Mids capped the season off with a 35-13 rout of Missouri in the Texas Bowl.
The Mids posted an 8-5 record in 2008 and participated in the EagleBank Bowl. The Mids won the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy thanks to a 33-27 victory over Air Force and a 34-0 win over Army.
The 2007 season was one to remember as well as the Midshipmen posted an 8-5 record, won a school-record fifth-consecutive Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy, appeared in a school-record fifth-straight bowl game, and defeated Notre Dame for the first time since 1963.
In 2005, O’Rourke helped tutor a young secondary that continued to improve throughout the year as Navy finished 8-4, won a school-record second-straight bowl game and won the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy.
In 2004, O’Rourke’s efforts helped Navy win a school-record tying 10 games (the most wins since 1905), win the Emerald Bowl and capture the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy.
In 2003, O’Rourke was part of a defensive staff that saw great improvement on the defensive side of the football as the Mids posted an 8-5 record, won the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy and played in the Houston Bowl.
O’Rourke came to Navy from Valdosta State where he was the secondary coach for one year. Prior to his coaching stint at Valdosta, he coached the safeties at Georgia Southern in 2000 and helped the Eagles to a I-AA National Championship.
A native of Snellville, Ga., O’Rourke was a three-year letter winner at West Georgia and helped lead the team to back-to-back league titles his junior and senior years.
He was also an academic all-conference performer throughout his collegiate career.
O’Rourke received his master’s degree in education administration from Temple in 2002. He and his wife, Michelle, have two daughters, Kaeli and Lainey, and son, Sean.