Chad Rogosheske was hired as Hamline football coach earlier this week, and with the position comes an arduous task: returning the program at least to the level of respectability in terms of won-loss record that it enjoyed when Rogosheske was a player. The former Pipers running back played from 1994 to '97; in 1995, Hamline had its most recent winning season. Rogosheske spoke with the Star Tribune's Michael Rand about what he things it takes to revamp a struggling Division III program:
Q Did you hope at some point your career path would take you to back to Hamline as a head coach?
A It's interesting. When I decided to do the graduate-assistant route [2007 at Ohio State], it was pretty late in my career. I had already been a full-time coach. I asked some athletic directors and other people to advise me, "Does this make me a better candidate if I want to go the Division III route and pursue a head coaching opportunity?" and they all agreed that it does. The more experiences you have with different programs, the better candidate you are.
Q What are the most important things you've learned along the way?
A Being a coordinator at Hamline previously, I was responsible for an entire group of players, which was an excellent experience. Obviously Ohio State was a different world in terms of football than I was used to, and the resources they have. But I got to see what is in my estimation an outstanding football coach [Jim Tressel] lead a program that was in full swing and operating at a high level. And I was responsible there for coaching the kickers, punters and long snappers, so I got some very thorough special-teams experience, which was very valuable. Then I went to Bucknell [as offensive-line coach] and started brand new with a new staff. I got to see what that learning process is and how that development happens.
Q How do you go about getting the program back on a winning track?
A It's just going to take hard work and great people. We're going to have to look at doing things in as smart and efficient a fashion as possible. But I think there's great potential here. This place is different than when I was a student. ... They've done some great development projects with the look of campus. The stadium is still relatively new, and they added a new student center. It really has a nice feel and look to it. ... But we have to go to work realizing that potential.
Q It seems like facilities have become such a big deal in college sports, even at the D-III level. Have you noticed that shift, even from when you were a player until now?
A It's an arms race at certain levels when they want the newest, nicest thing. That has trickled down to Division III -- but it's not the same as the Big Ten. It's eye-catching and gets the attention of recruits. But what ultimately delivers on recruits is the relationships you can develop. To me, that's still the thing that's going to close the deal with them.
Q Are you jumping right in with recruiting?
A I signed my contract this morning [Monday] and started e-mailing coaches to set up visits for tomorrow. It starts right away.