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Since joining the NAIA three years ago (while remaining in the USCAA), the Rochester College athletic department has grown rapidly and continues competing at the highest level in both the NAIA and USCAA.

In the last year, men’s basketball, women’s basketball and volleyball have competed in conference tournaments in the NAIA’s Association of Independent Institutions. Men’s basketball also qualified for the school’s first ever NAIA national tournament berth last year, while also taking home the program’s fifth USCAA national championship.

RECENT COACHING CHANGES AND UPDATES

Head volleyball coach Dave Crump has resigned after nine seasons, posting a 242-184 record at RC. Athletic Director Klint Pleasant says Crump will be missed. “Dave has moved to Arkansas to take a job. It thrills us that he found a great job, but we are sad that it has taken him away from us. He has built a really good program based on all of the principles that are important to us as an athletic department. When looking back at his career, it makes us proud to see what he accomplished both on and off the court,” he said.

Shannon Murphy will take over as the new RC volleyball head coach. Murphy headed the volleyball program at Skyline High School in Ann Arbor, Mich., as well as competed as a student-athlete and as a coach at nearby Concordia University-Ann Arbor. “We are thrilled to hire Coach Murphy. She comes to us after managing multiple volleyball positions for a few different programs and schools. She identifies with our mission and also had countless rave reviews from people she has worked with. I am really excited to see her pick up where Dave left off,” Pleasant said.

RC also has experienced a transition in its soccer program. Men’s coach Kevin Garner resigned from his position after one year on the sidelines. Garner guided the Warriors to a 12-3-1 record and a trip to the 2013 USCAA National Tournament. “Coach Garner did a great job this past year. He is a great soccer mind and a fantastic teacher of the game. I am grateful for all that he did in his limited time,” Pleasant said.

The Warriors welcome back a familiar face to replace Garner. Former 2008 women’s soccer head coach Tony Hermiz returns to the Rochester community to lead the men’s team. “Through his interactions and experiences with high school and club coaches and players, he has become widely known and respected in the soccer community. We are thrilled to have him back with us,” Pleasant said.

RC ADDS NEW SPORTS TEAMS

In addition to the coaching changes, Pleasant announced the college is adding men’s and women’s tennis and men’s and women’s bowling, which will begin competition in the 2014-15 academic year. These additions follow the rebirth of the women’s cross country team, which began this past fall. Head coach Laura Murphy directed the RC runners in their first season of competition in more than a decade.

Sarah Johnston will head up the Warriors’ tennis program. Johnston will build the RC program after captaining the Ferris State tennis team in college and also serving as an assistant coach at Kalamazoo College. “Coach Johnston is very impressive. She has a very good tennis pedigree, and she was drawn to our mission. She has already signed many student-athletes for next year, and I am very impressed with the job she has done thus far,” Pleasant said.

Rick Maruszczak will lead the inaugural men’s and women’s bowling teams. “We are really glad to have Coach Maruszczak on board. Bowling is becoming increasingly more popular at the high school level and it is an emerging sport on the NAIA level. We feel that bowling is a great fit in our athletic program,” Pleasant said.

RC now has 13 varsity sports as it competes in its third full year in the NAIA. “We have been talking about expanding the athletic department for the last couple of years, and now we are starting to put that plan into place. I really like the process that we have taken. We took our time to research and do our homework and have now arrived at the addition of varsity sports that we feel have a bright future. Our long-term plan is to join a local NAIA regional conference and we feel that these additions will help us move forward,” Pleasant said.

CONTINUED ATHLETIC SUCCESS

The college continues to expand its athletic program as it looks to construct an athletic center in the coming years. “Building an athletic center will really open up doors for us both as an athletic department and as a college,” Pleasant said. For more details about these plans, visit rc.edu/1plus1.

Rochester College athletics has demonstrated a strong ability to field competitive teams while displaying a high level of character and sportsmanship on the field. In the 2012-2013 academic year, the Warriors finished in third place in the race for the USCAA Director’s Cup, which is awarded to the school receiving the most points from USCAA championship events.

The Warriors were also recognized as a 2012-2013 NAIA Champions of Character 5-Star Institution. This distinction is given to schools that earn points for exceptional student-athlete grade point averages and obtaining zero ejections during competition throughout the course of the academic year.

“These recognitions are humbling. It’s nice to know that we’re producing All-Americans both on and off the court while emphasizing integrity in all things,” Pleasant said.

For more information about RC Athletics, including current standings, visit rochestercollegewarriors.com.