Entering his 33rd year at Williams this fall, men’s soccer coach Mike Russo has posted 28 consecutive winning seasons. In 27 of his 32 campaigns, Russo’s booters have won at least 10 games in a regular season that contains but 14 contests.
What makes a coaching legend, someone who could be named national coach of the year four times? Russo’s colleagues and players are quick to paint a picture of a man whose dedication and passion—for the sport and for his players—are unmatched.
Longtime assistant coach Tom Demeo: “There is no better gentleman in the game of college soccer than Mike Russo. He competes as hard as he can, but he respects every opponent, his kids, and the game itself.”
Junior back and 2011 co-captain Matt Ratacjzak: “His commitment to excellence and indefatigable hunger for more are enough of a reason to give your heart, body, and soul every time you step on the pitch wearing the Williams colors. He has taught me that in order to succeed, countless sacrifices must be made for the team and that the focus needs to be on the process, not the final result. Coach is an inspirational figure in our Williams soccer family, for his sheer presence and devotion to the team. He fires guys up like you wouldn’t even imagine. It’s truly something to experience first-hand.”
Rob Blanck ’89, an All-American goalie for the Ephs, currently goalie coach for the U.S. Naval Academy women’s team: “Nobody loves the game like Coach, and nobody prepares for pre-season, daily training, or matches as well or as thoroughly as Coach. To this day, I think the biggest reason Williams is successful is because he out-coaches his counterpart on game day but, just as importantly, also every other day.”
Read the full profile of Russo here.