Dan Connor, a former standout linebacker at Strath Haven and Penn State, has stepped down as the head football coach at Archbishop Carroll after two seasons to become the defensive coordinator at Widener.

"It was a great opportunity to get back in the college game and, at the same time, stay local," Connor said. "My family has a lot of ties to Widener. My father [Jim] played defensive tackle there and coached there under Bill Manlove, and my brothers [Mike and Jim] were water boys for the team."

Before taking over at Carroll, Connor, who played six years in the NFL, was a linebackers coach at West Chester University for two seasons under Bill Zwaan.

"I want to thank Coach Connor for the two seasons he spent leading the Carroll football program and wish him the very best as he takes advantage of a terrific career opportunity," Carroll president Frank Fox said in an email sent Thursday evening to parents. "Coach Connor was a true role model for our young men, both on and off the field."

Widener, which is guided by Mike Kelly, went 7-4 overall and 7-2 in the Middle Atlantic Conference last season.

"I met Mike a few years ago at a recruiting event at Villanova," Connor, 32, said. "We've stayed in contact since then."

Connor set a team record with 419 tackles from 2004 to 2007 at Penn State. His NFL career – he played for the Panthers, Cowboys, and Giants – was cut short by injuries.

At Carroll, Connor went 4-18 overall and 0-12 in the powerful Catholic League Red Division while playing the likes of Archbishop Wood, La Salle, and St. Joseph's Prep.

"It was a great experience at Carroll, mostly because of the players, community, and the administration," Connor said. "I learned a lot and developed as a coach."

Connor and his wife, Angela, live in Broomall with their two young boys.

"We have already commenced a search for a new head football coach, and I am extremely confident that the next Carroll coach will  continue our tradition of fielding competitive teams of student-athletes who represent the very best of Carroll," Fox said.