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USF football’s Van Dyke brings energy as new cornerbacks coach: ‘Back to the old days’

USF football cornerbacks coach Demarcus Van Dyke (pictured left) with Chicago Bears cornerback Tyrique Stevenson (right) during a spring practice. Van Dyke enters his first year at USF with seven years of collegiate coaching experience. USF ATHLETICS PHOTO

Cornerbacks coach Demarcus Van Dyke has fond memories of USF before his hiring in January.

He played the Bulls twice during his four-year college career with the Miami Hurricanes. Van Dyke recalled that the Bulls were a team “that no one wanted to play.” 

He also remembers watching the Bulls’ shutout victory over Syracuse in the Boca Raton Bowl last December, which reminded him of the standard the team set in the late 2000s.

“I was watching the bowl game with my son and I looked up and it was 31-0 already,” Van Dyke said. “And I was like: ‘This team is back to the old days when they beat Rutgers and Virginia.’ So when Coach [Alex Golesh] called me, it was no type of hesitation. I said: ‘Let’s do it.’”

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Van Dyke was brought on to Golesh’s coaching staff this offseason. He held the same position last season with FIU and various position jobs with his alma mater, the University of Miami. 

“He’s been phenomenal,” Golesh said. “Not just with the corners, but the whole back end and just the energy he brings… I think he’s got a chance to be a star in this profession.”

The energy that Golesh speaks of often manifests itself during practices.  

Van Dyke is often seen wearing cleats to participate in drills with his players.

“I don’t want to talk to them like we are in a Library,” Van Dyke said. “No, I want to be playing football. So when I’m installing the defense, I’m going out there energetic. I’m acting like I’m playing right now.”

Van Dyke’s interest in coaching was sparked by his upbringing. His father was in prison from when he was three to when he was 15. He said he credits his coaches – from the little leagues to the professional ranks – for molding him into who he is today.  

He aims to have a similar impact on his players.

Senior cornerback Aamaris Brown-Bunkley has grown quite fond of Van Dyke and his competitive energy. They first crossed paths when Brown-Buntley was a recruit out of high school in 2019 before going to USF. 

“We bump heads a lot, but it’s out of love and competitiveness,” Brown-Bunkley said. “He’s going to coach you hard but he’s going to make sure [we know] where we need to be, what I need to do – everything.”

After four seasons with the Hurricanes, Van Dyke was a third-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft to the Oakland Raiders. He recorded a 4.28 second 40-yard dash time in that year’s combine. It’s the fifth-fastest time in Draft Combine history since electronic timing began in 1999.

During his six-year career, he played with four other teams: the Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings and Atlanta Falcons. 

If the Bulls take a leap in 2024 it could be due to the play of the secondary. On Van Dyke’s first day. The attitudes of his players reminded him of the Hurricane teams that he used to play for. 

“I’m excited to see how this thing goes this year with these guys,” Van Dyke said. “They have shown me through nine practices that they have to take to be the best country.