DOVER, Del. -- One of the most decorated players in the history of the Delaware State University football program was appointed as head coach at his alma mater on Jan. 30. 2018.
Rod Milstead was a standout offensive lineman for the Hornets from 1988 to ’91 before an eight-year career in the National Football League.
During his tenure with the Hornets, Milstead was a three-time All-MEAC First Team selection (1989, ’90, 91); and a 1991 Associated Press, Walter Camp and Sheridan Black College All-America First Team pick.
He helped lead Delaware State to the 1989 MEAC championship and a share of the conference title in 1988 and ’91.
In addition, he helped pave the way to the Hornets’ No. 1 ranking among all Division I-AA (now FCS) teams in rushing at 300.2 yards per game in 1990.
Delaware State named Milstead as its Male Athlete-of-the-Year and Senior Male Athlete-of-the-Year in 1992. He was inducted into the Hornets’ Athletic Hall-of-Fame in 2003.
Milstead earned a bachelor’s in Sociology/Criminal Justice from Delaware State in 1992.
Following his collegiate career, Milstead was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the fifth round of the 1992 National Football League draft. After several weeks in the Cowboys’ training camp, he was traded to the Cleveland Browns, where he played two seasons.
In 1994, Milstead signed with the San Francisco 49ers, where he joined former Hornet star wide receiver John Taylor.
Milstead was a member of San Francisco’s 1995 Super Bowl champion squad. The Niners captured the title with a 49-26 win over the San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX in Miami, Fla.
In four seasons with the 49ers (1994-97), Milstead competed in 36 games, including 12 starts.
He completed his professional playing career after two seasons with the Washington Redskins (1998-99), during which he appeared in 20 games, starting 11.
In 2013, Milstead was offensive line coach at Delaware State’s Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference rival North Carolina Central University.
From 2000 to ’06, Milstead was the assistant head coach/offensive line coach at his high school alma mater, Lackey High in Indian Head, Md.
He was head football coach at La Plata High School in Maryland from 2015 to 2018.
Interim DSU Athletics Director Mary Hill said Coach Milstead understands the Hornet athletics culture as only an alum could. “Equally critical, he understands exactly how driven our players, our campus, and our alumni are to field a competitive, winning team,” she added.
Coach Milstead credits his own career as a Del State student-athlete with setting the foundation for his approach, “This is very personal for me,” the new head coach said. “Rejuvenating the football program and making winners of our student-athletes in the classroom, in the community, as well as on the field, is my top priority.”
“Football sits in a special place in the heart of the Delaware State University community,” said interim DSU President Wilma Mishoe. “A big part of our family comes together on game day – in the stands and in spirit across the country – to cheer for the team and to represent Hornet Pride.”
She emphasized, however, that while DSU students, fans, and alumni prize winning highly, “We are always careful to remember that ‘student’ comes first in the phrase ‘student-athlete.’ I am particularly pleased to know that Coach Milstead is wholly committed to that principle.”