Sherman Wood enters his 14th season as the head coach of the Salisbury University football program. Wood is the all-time winningest coach in program history with a combined record of 92-46 through 13 seasons.
In 13 years at his alma mater, Wood has won three conference, including one in the Empire 8 Athletic Conference (2011) and two in the Atlantic Central Football Conference (2004-05), led the Sea Gulls to five NCAA tournament berths (2002, 2004, 2007, 2010-11), the ECAC Southeast Bowl Championship (2005), the ECAC South Atlantic Bowl Championship (2006) and the ECAC Southwest Bowl Championship (2008).
Wood’s 2011 team had the program’s deepest run in the NCAA tournament since the Sea Gulls went to Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl in the 1986 season. SU advanced the NCAA quarterfinals before falling to the eventual national champion, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. For his efforts, Wood was named American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Region I Coach of the Year.
Salisbury won the Empire 8 title in its first season in the league and set program records for points (584) and rushing yards (4,596) in a season. The Gulls placed 12 on the all-conference teams while Wood earned Empire 8 Coach of the Year honors and junior quarterback Dan Griffin was Offensive Player of the Year. Additionally, six players earned all-region honors from D3Football.com and senior offensive lineman Alex Smith became Salisbury’s 15th AFCA All-American in program history.
In 2010, Salisbury concluded the season with the program’s seventh NCAA tournament appearance, the fourth under Wood. Junior Jonathan Briscoe was awarded Special Teams Player of the Year by the Atlantic Central Football Conference. Sixteen Sea Gulls landed on final All-ACFC teams, including eight first-team selections. A conference-leading 42 student-athletes were named to the ACFC All-Academic team.
In its 2009 campaign, Salisbury made its fourth ECAC Bowl appearance, playing for the ECAC Southwest Bowl title. Senior captain Paul Cynewski was named first team All-American and 12 players earned All-ACFC honors, including five first-team selections.
The 2008 team finished the season 9-2, capped with a 21-17 victory over Moravian College in the ECAC Southwest Bowl Championship. The Sea Gulls placed 15 players on the All-ACFC teams, 32 student-athletes were named to the ACFC All-Academic Team and defensive end Jarrell Chandler was named an AFCA first-team All-American. Salisbury won its first eight games of the 2007 season en route to an overall 9-2 record.
The Sea Gulls concluded the season in the first round of the NCAA tournament with a tough 31-21 loss to Muhlenberg College on the road.
In 2006, Wood led the Gulls to a second straight ECAC Bowl Championship victory and senior Byron Westbrook became the 12th-ever Sea Gull to be named an All-American. Westbrook signed as undrafted free agent with the NFL’s Washington Redskins in May 2007.
In 2005, Wood became the all-time winningest coach in program history with win No. 45.
In 2004, the Sea Gulls finished the regular season undefeated, for only the third time in program history, and were ranked No. 5 in the nation, the highest SU had ever been ranked. The Sea Gulls placed eight players on the All-ACFC first team and were recognized with the ACFC Offensive, Defensive and Special Teams Players of the Year along with the Coach of the Year award.
In 2002, Wood guided Salisbury to its most successful campaign in 16 years (9-2 record), which included a nine-game winning streak. The Gulls earned the program’s first NCAA tournament appearance since 1986 and placed 15 players on the all-conference teams.
The Gulls have had seven 1,000-yard rushers in Wood’s 13 seasons as head coach. In 2007 the Gulls finished second in rushing defense, while finishing fourth in 2002 and 2005, and sixth in 2004. In 2003, Salisbury finished fifth in the nation in total defense and seventh in rushing defense.
Under Wood’s leadership, Salisbury has placed 73 players on the All-ACFC and All-Empire 8 first teams since 1999 and has garnered 16 conference Player or Coach of the Year awards. For three straight seasons, a Sea Gull won the ACFC Rookie of the Year (2000-02). The Sea Gulls have produced 161 all-conference performers in the Coach Wood era.
A 1984 graduate of Salisbury University and a four-year letterman on the Sea Gull football team, Wood (113-84-1 overall in 19 years) returned to his alma mater in 1999 as the sixth head coach in program history. Prior to SU he spent six years in Division II as the head coach at Bowie State University.
Wood, 51, played defensive back for the Sea Gulls from 1980-83 and finished with seven career interceptions, including two returned for touchdowns. He was a starter and team captain on the 1983 team that earned Salisbury’s first-ever NCAA tournament berth and advanced to the national semifinals. Wood earned all-state defensive back honors by The Baltimore Sun and recognition as a Street & Smith All-American during his career.
Wood began his collegiate coaching career as a volunteer assistant at Salisbury under Head Coach Mike McGlinchey in 1984 and became a graduate assistant coach for the Sea Gulls in 1985. He moved to Bowie State as a graduate assistant coach in 1986, coaching the defensive backs and special teams.
He became a full-time assistant coach with the Bulldogs in 1988, assuming the duties of assistant head coach and defensive coordinator while earning his Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology in 1989. He remained at Bowie State as an assistant coach until 1992, when he became the assistant head football coach at Virginia Union University. A year later, Wood returned to Bowie State as head coach where he inherited a team that finished 1-10 in 1992. He compiled a 21-37-1 record in six seasons at Bowie State. The team’s 6-3 record in 1998 was its best in 10 years.
Originally from Norfolk, Va., Wood is a member of the AFCA and served on its All-America Selection Committee, the Rules Committees, Summer Manual Committee and the Minority Issues Committee. In 2006, Wood was honored with the Friend of Education Award presented at the Wicomico County Teacher of the Year Banquet.
Wood is a speaker at numerous sports clinics and involves himself with a variety of local organizations, including, the Wicomico Youth Mentor Program. He also serves on these community service committees: Horizons Program of the Salisbury School, Kids of Honor, the Salisbury Promise Program, the Junior Golf of Sunrise Rotary, SU Football Youth Mentor Program, Operation Teddy Bear and Salvation Army Youth Leadership Training.
Wood and his wife Tonya have one daughter, Sherece.
|2002||9-2||2-1 (ACFC)||NCAA Tournament appearance|
|2004||10-1||5-0 (ACFC)||NCAA Tournament appearance, ACFC Champions|
|2005||8-3||4-1 (ACFC)||ECAC Southeat Bowl Champions, ACFC Champions|
|2006||6-5||2-2 (ACFC)||ECAC South Atlantic Bowl Champions|
|2007||9-2||3-1 (ACFC)||NCAA Tournament appearance|
|2008||9-2||2-1 (ACFC)||ECAC Southwest Bowl Champions|
|2009||5-6||2-1 (ACFC)||ECAC Southwest Bowl appearance|
|2010||7-3||2-1 (ACFC)||NCAA Tournament appearance|
|2011||11-2||7-0 (E8)||NCAA Quarterfinal appearance|
||NCAA Tournament Second Round appearance
6 NCAA Tournament appearances