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Coming Up Rosie

womens volleyballPenn State women’s volleyball coach Russ Rose likes smoking his Cuban cigars outside Rec Hall. He’s not sure if he’s allowed, but frankly, he doesn’t give a damn.

It’s these kind of off-the-wall quirks that characterize Rose, who was recently featured in an article by the New York Times. “He’s like that black-sheep uncle,” a volunteer assistant coach said in the article, which also reported on Rose’s love of sweats (as opposed to suits) and swearing like a sailor in casual conversation.

There’s one other thing that defines Rose, though…his insanely dominating coaching record!

Rose has been at Penn State for 31 seasons, racking up these incredible stats:

The highest winning percentage (.862) for any coach in the history of Division I women’s volleyball (that’s more than 100 points higher than JoPa’s .751).

He has taken his team to the last 29 consecutive N.C.A.A. tournaments.

This month, he will try to lead the team to its third national title in a row.

The biggest accomplishment so far may be the team’s current 98 game winning streak. It is the second longest overall streak in N.C.A.A. Division I history.

Following superbly with Rose’s character, the Times reported that the coach couldn’t care less about the streak. It was said that he considers every year’s team different from the other, saying, “The statistics I’m interested in are performance related, not historical.”

In fact, Rose’s different approach to things is a big part of his coaching and, obviously, his success. The article on him reported how he takes detailed notes of every match in a three-ring binder and then stows them away in his office with the decades of other binders he has kept for reference. All his decisions in coaching are made from those notes, not the official ones printed out by the N.C.A.A.

Rose is said to sit quietly on the sidelines during matches…except for when he’s letting a good four-letter whammy fly behind his clipboard. Recently, the team had a televised match on TV, and he decided the court-side mic needed unplugging.

Administrators tell Rose to watch his language, but he doesn’t care.

Don’t mess with the best.


About the Author


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