GREENSBORO, N.C. – Chris Rusiewicz, former associate head coach at NCAA Division III Ursinus College, was introduced as Guilford College's new head football coach Wednesday, Jan. 5. HeHThe Quakers' 22nd head football coach in 104 recorded seasons, he succeeds Kevin Kiesel, who compiled a 24-36 overall record in six campaigns.
Rusiewicz, 33, served the past four seasons as associate head coach at Ursinus, a highly selective liberal arts college with 1,750 students in Collegeville, Pa. He received the 2010 American Football Coaches Association's (AFCA) Division III Assistant Coach of the Year Award in November. The annual prize honors coaches who excel in community service, commitment to the student-athlete, on-field coaching success and AFCA professional organization involvement.
"Chris quickly distinguished himself as a guy who is very enthusiastic and very energetic," said Guilford Athletic Director Tom Palombo, who introduced Rusiewicz. "He wanted to take this on as a challenge and in the short time he's been here, he can see the potential of what Guilford College football can be."
"I've had the opportunity to watch Guilford football play and I think the pieces are here," Rusiewicz said. "It's not a matter of rebuilding … it's about refocusing."
Rusiewicz joined Peter Gallagher's Ursinus staff in 2001 as a secondary coach, became the Bears' defensive coordinator in 2003 and was named special teams coach in 2008. The team ranked 23rd or higher among NCAA Division III total defense leaders in three of the past four years. The Bears boasted the nation's 12th-rated rushing defense in 2010.
He guided 11 Ursinus defenders or specialists to 14 First Team All-Centennial Conference honors in 10 seasons, including defensive back Mike Dale, a 2001 third-team All-American. Four Bears defenders received D3football.com All-South Region recognition, including two-time selection Chris Rountree, the 2009 Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III Southwest Rookie of the Year.
Ursinus has had four winning seasons and four top-three conference finishes in the past five years. Last fall, the Bears posted an 8-2 overall record and went 7-2 in the Centennial, their best league mark since 1996. Ursinus shared the 2010 Centennial title and made postseason appearances in the 2006 and 2009 ECAC playoffs.
In addition to his coaching accomplishments, Rusiewicz made significant contributions to the greater Ursinus community. He implemented a Christmas program that raises approximately $1,500 for the benefit of three local families. In conjunction with the National Marrow Donor Program and Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, Rusiewicz coordinated an effort to recruit bone marrow donors. He also participated in service projects with Big Brothers and Habitat for Humanity that contributed to the football team's over 600 volunteer hours in 2009-10. He also developed and implemented a series of off-field programs designed to benefit students' academic progress and leadership abilities.
"A football coach is someone that not only teaches the game, but also is a good mentor and a leader," Rusiewicz said. "I plan on doing that here, not just on the field, but off the field."
After playing at Quakertown (Pa.) High School, Rusiewicz started his college career at Shippensburg (Pa.) University where he lettered as a reserve running back for the NCAA Division II Red Raiders. He graduated with a degree in sport management from DeSales University in Center Valley, Pa., in 2001. Rusiewicz entered the coaching ranks as founder, general manager and offensive coordinator of the semi-professional Eastern Pennsylvania Scorpions from 1997-2004. He spent four years as the Physical Director of the Spring Valley YMCA.
A native of Perkasie, Pa., Rusiewicz and his wife, Tara, have two daughters, Brooke (3) and Natalie (1). The couple is expecting its third child in May.