WACO, Texas — The American Football Coaches Association is proud to announce its 2010 Assistant Coach of the Year winners. One assistant coach from the five divisions of college football has been selected for their dedication to their teams and communities.
Each year, staff representatives from NCAA and NAIA football-playing schools are asked to nominate an assistant for consideration. From those nominations, a winner is selected by the AFCA Public Relations Committee. The winners of this award were selected from Football Bowl Subdivision, Football Championship Subdivision, Division II, Division III and the NAIA.
The Assistant Coach of the Year award was first presented in 1997 and was created to honor assistant coaches who excel in community service, commitment to the student-athlete, on-field coaching success and AFCA professional organization involvement.
The 2010 honorees are as follows: Football Bowl Subdivision–Luke Fickell, Co-Defensive Coordinator & Linebackers Coach, Ohio State University; Football Championship Subdivision–Rick Fox, Offensive Line Coach & Special Teams Coordinator, Drake University; Division II–Joe Lorig, Defensive Coordinator & Defensive Backs Coach, Central Washington University; Division III–Chris Rusiewicz, Defensive Coordinator, Ursinus College; and NAIA–Doug Schleeman, Offensive Coordinator & Quarterbacks Coach, Montana Tech.
“Once again, five outstanding assistant coaches have been selected for their dedication, not only to their teams, but to their communities,” said Executive Director Grant Teaff. “Often times, the head coach receives much of the credit for his team’s success, but any head coach is only as good as his assistants. Much of an assistant coach’s work is done behind the scenes. It is our pleasure to bring it to the forefront.”
The criteria for the award is not limited to on-field coaching ability or the success of the team and players that these assistant coaches work with. Service to the community through charitable work and other volunteer activities, participation in AFCA activities and events, participation in other professional organizations and impact on student-athletes are all taken into account in the selection process.
“I am extremely honored, because I know there are eight other assistant coaches at Ohio State and thousands of assistants across the country that deserve this recognition,” Fickell said. “Thanks especially to all our players, because they are the ones who make us look good as coaches.”
Winners of the Assistant Coach of the Year Award will receive a plaque to commemorate the award and an educational stipend to attend the 2012 AFCA Convention or another professional development clinic/convention of their choice. They will be honored at the AstroTurf President’s Kickoff Luncheon, Monday, January 10 at the 2011 AFCA Convention in Dallas, Texas.
The AFCA was founded in 1922 and currently has more than 11,000 members around the world, ranging from the high school level to the professional ranks. According to its constitution, the AFCA was formed, in part, to “maintain the highest possible standards in football and the coaching profession” and to “provide a forum for the discussion and study of all matters pertaining to football and coaching.”
Football Bowl Subdivision
Luke Fickell, Co-Defensive Coordinator & Linebackers Coach, Ohio State: Fickell has been coaching football for 12 years, the last nine at Ohio State … Fickell, along with former Ohio State teammates, Mike Vrabel and Ryan Miller, developed and began the 2nd & 7 Foundation. In 2000, the foundation sponsored its inaugural FUNdamental Football Camp for young kids and the proceeds were used to purchase books for second graders in seven Central Ohio elementary schools (thus, the creation of the foundation’s name). The 2nd & 7 Foundation has grown as its founders’ passion to “Tackle Illiteracy” has increased. The “Tackle Illiteracy” program now includes reading to second graders in classrooms all over the country and provides each of the children in those classrooms with a book to take home … Fickell is a frequent speaker at state and regional high school coaching clinics … He also works with other colleges to develop 2nd & 7 or similar organizations on those campuses … Fickell has coached nine All-Big Ten players, four All-Americans and 10 players who have played in the NFL … Ohio State has won five Big Ten titles, gone to seven bowl games and played for the national championship twice during Fickell’s tenure.
Football Championship Subdivision
Rick Fox, Offensive Line Coach & Special Teams Coordinator, Drake: Fox is in his 25th year of coaching and has spent the last three years at Drake … Fox coordinates the community service efforts of the Drake football team and has established a year-round program whereby community service captains are chosen to help lead the events and programs … Fox also leads football players to participate in Meals from the Heartland, where they package food to be sent off to places in dire need … Fox helps host a Special Olympics event at Drake each May, and takes football players to visit Blank Children’s Hospital, local Boys and Girls Clubs, and the Wilke House, which is an after school program for Des Moines youth … As special teams coordinator and offensive line coach at Drake, Fox has coached two all-conference punters, two all-conference kickers and five all-conference linemen … Since 2000, he has coached an all-conference punter every year except two … As an offensive coordinator at Centre from 1999-2007, Fox produced 50 all-conference players and two offensive players of the year.
Joe Lorig, Defensive Coordinator & Defensive Backs Coach, Central Washington: Lorig is in his third season at Central Washington and 14th overall as an assistant coach … He leads a football crew of 30-35 players who volunteer to clean up the Yakima River, which runs through Ellensburg, Washington … Lorig also volunteers with the annual Central Washington Blood Drive, registering people who give blood … He volunteers at a youth football camp for Kittitas Valley Grid Kids, grades third to eighth, and takes a group of football players to local elementary schools on Dr. Seuss’ birthday to read to the kids every year … Lorig serves as a mentor to a developmentally challenged young man named Bryan Yancy. Bryan is a part of all CWU practices and is with Coach Lorig for two hours during each practice. Bryan’s verbal and communication skills have improved vastly with his time with Coach Lorig … He has tutored four NFL players and his defense was ranked No. 1 in scoring defense, and fourth in total defense, as CWU finished the 2009 regular season undefeated and made a run to the NCAA Division II quarterfinals.
Chris Rusiewicz, Defensive Coordinator, Ursinus: Rusiewicz has spent nine years as an assistant coach, all at Ursinus … He implemented the Christmas Adopt-A-Family program at Ursinus where the football team raises approximately $1,500 to put towards three local families in need for Christmas … Rusiewicz coordinates an on-campus National Marrow Donor Program through Temple Hospital in Philadelphia where the football team recruits marrow donors from campus and the surrounding communities … He also leads volunteer efforts for the football team with the Big Brothers program and Habitat for Humanity … Rusiewicz is an active member of the AFCA and serves on the Registration Committee … He developed and implements an Academic Support System at Ursinus where players are encouraged to ask for help and know help is available. Each player is also monitored in all phases of academics, such as class attendance and assignment scores … Rusiewicz also developed an off-season team leadership program which allows players to mentor, lead and hold each other accountable in five major categories to make each other a better person. The five categories are academics, social, football (off-field), football (on-field) and team competitions … He has coached four All-Americans and 33 all-conference players.
Doug Schleeman, Offensive Coordinator & Quarterbacks Coach, Montana Tech: Schleeman is in his 15th year as an assistant at Montana Tech … He is active in Montana Tech’s “Kid’s Night Out” program … Schleeman plans, administers and coaches in “Champ Camp” for grade school kids in the community … He has assisted with the Kiwanis Sunshine Camp’s assembly and installation of new playground equipment and participates in M.D.A., Heart Association and Big Brothers/Big Sisters fundraising activities … Schleeman organizes and participates in Digger Football blood donations to United Blood Service and assists with organization of players collecting food for Thompson Distributing/Butte Food Bank donation … He also works extensively with local boy scouts as they complete requirements for their fitness merit badges and assists with American Legion Baseball fundraising activities … Schleeman is active in the AFCA and is chairman of the NAIA Assistant Coaches Committee … Montana Tech has won or shared five conference titles with Schleeman on the staff, including four trips to the NAIA playoffs and one appearance in the national championship game.
Assistant Coach of the Year Finalists for 2010
Football Bowl Subdivision
Steve Addazio, Florida
Tyrone Nix, Mississippi
Luke Fickell, Ohio State
Football Championship Subdivision
Rick Fox, Drake
John Revere, Eastern Kentucky
George Small, Florida A&M
Jason McEndoo, Montana State
Joe Evenson, Augustana (S.D.)
Joe Lorig, Central Washington
Ralph Isernia, Charleston
Buck Buchanan, Louisiana College
Benny Boyd, Luther
Chris Rusiewicz, Ursinus
Dan Scheible, Avila
Trevor Whiting, Central Methodist
Doug Schleeman, Montana Tech
Assistant Coach of the Year Notes
Seventy assistant coaches from 58 different schools have been honored by the AFCA since the inception of the award in 1997 … Campbellsville (NAIA) and Hampton (FCS) lead all schools with three winners each … Campbellsville’s three winners came in three straight years (1997-Samuel Wickliffe, 1998-Eric Graves, 1999-Haywood Riner) … Hampton won its three awards in 1997 (Alonzo Lee), 1998 (John Wright) and 2003 (Donovan Rose) … Air Force, Benedictine (Kan.), Carson-Newman, Central (Iowa), Morningside, Mount Union, Northwest Missouri State and Wabash have had two winners each … A total of 89 assistant coaches from five divisions were nominated for the 2010 AFCA Assistant Coach of the Year award.