After Winning Season, DVC Football Sees Impressive Number of Players Transfer to NCAA Schools

Following the 2022 football season, an astonishing 14 Diablo Valley College players transferred to universities in the National Collegiate Athletics Association, or NCAA.

Twelve of those players, including standout quarterbacks Joey Aguilar and Jordan Cooke as well as defensive back Malachi Ward, transferred to Division 1 schools, the highest level of competition in the NCAA. 

Two others transferred to Division 2 schools, one to Division 3, and one to the NAIA, or National Association of Collegiate Athletics, which does not belong to the NCAA. The moves followed a dramatic season for the 7-4 Vikings who concluded the year with a win over Sierra College in the Gridiron Bowl. 

“I can’t think of another program that sends out two Division 1 quarterbacks in [one year], said Max Agress, a former DVC football player and current Vikings broadcaster. “It’s unheard of.” 

He added, “It’s just one of the toughest places to play football at the junior college circuit.”

While competing for local talent alongside powerhouse Bay Area teams like City College of San Francisco, DVC has maintained a high level of competition and talent production for years under head coach Mike Darr.

Players attribute the program’s success to the culture of brotherhood and strong academic achievement that has become the norm over the years. 

“DVC athletics and my experience there was life-changing,” said Aguilar, who recently transferred to Appalachian State University. “Honestly, going to DVC was the best decision I made.

More than anything, it was the relationships he formed that “helped me push myself to be better as a player.”

“The locker room was hilarious. We had rap battles, singing songs—we were like brothers in there,” he added.

For others, DVC football offered a chance for talented but often overlooked players to shine.

“Coming out of high school I had one offer, from Dixie State, that’s it,” said Malachi Ward. When the school took back its offer, Ward ended up at DVC where he became one of the best players on the Vikings team, showcasing his skills through sacks and interceptions alike. 

Ward flourished under Darr and the rest of the DVC coaching staff, ultimately earning a transfer to UC Davis following his stellar 2022 season.

Now, after Darr announced he will leave his position following 15 years as head coach, the question remains whether the program will maintain its high level of competitiveness in a conference stacked with talent.

DVC Athletics Director Christine Worsley said she isn’t worried in the slightest.

“This is an opportunity to continue [our success],” said Worsley. In addition to playing winning football, the Vikings “have to keep that tradition of having disciplined academics as well.”

Worsley said the program went through an emergency hiring process in order to get a new coach in place by the end of March.

“[DVC] President Lamb is very supportive of our athletics,” she added, noting that “she helped expedite the process.”

Worsley confirmed the rest of the Vikings assisting coaching staff will remain unchanged for the time being and will continue training players in the spring to maintain the program’s infrastructure built by Coach Darr.

DVC Vikings football will return in the fall for the 2023-24 season.