Denison head men's soccer coach Rob Russo was recently recognized by his alma mater, Wilmington College. Russo received the college's Distinguished Alumni Citation for Professional Achievement as a result of his 35 years of coaching success across all three divisions of the NCAA.
A two-time National Soccer Coaches Association of America Great Lakes Regional Coach of the Year, Russo began his coaching career as an assistant at Miami University (Ohio) and was elevated to head coach in 1981. In one season at Miami, Russo guided the Redhawks to an 11-5-1 record. In 1982 he took over the head coaching duties at Gannon University and quickly built the Golden Knights into one of the top programs in all of NCAA Division II. In nine seasons at Gannon Russo went 133-35-12, leading them to six NCAA Tournament appearances. In 1985 he was named the NCAA Division II Coach of the Year and in 1989 and 1990 he led Gannon to appearances in the NCAA Division II national semifinals. Russo was inducted into the Gannon Athletic Hall of Fame in 2010.
Before taking over the reins at Denison in 1998, Russo spent four seasons at the head coach at University of South Carolina-Spartanburg (NCAA Division II) and four seasons at SUNY-Oneonta (NCAA Division I).
In 14 seasons leading the Big Red, Russo has won 148 contests and has posted a .608 winning percentage while posting 12 winning seasons, and nine seasons with double-digit victory totals. In 2003 Russo's squad posted a program-best 18-3 record and a share of the North Coast Athletic Conference Championship. Denison began the year with a school record 13-straight victories and was ranked as high as No. 2 in the NSCAA/adidas Division III men's soccer poll. Russo has also led DU to NCAC tournament titles in 2006 and 2009.
In his 32 years as a head coach, Russo has a record of 374-194-43 which places him among the top-40 coaches of all-time in terms of NCAA soccer victories.
Russo will begin his 15th season coaching the Denison Big Red on Aug. 30 when the Big Red host Washington and Lee at 7 p.m.