On January 6, Lawrence University announced the hiring of Rob McCarthy as the school’s 28th head coach of the Lawrence University Football Team after a coaching search that took four months. “This was a nation-wide search that included nearly 200 applicants,” said Athletic Director Mike Szkodzinski. “Our search committee was made up of athletic alumni, faculty, staff, students.”
McCarthy brings over 25 years of experience to the program, including . Szkodzinski cited recruiting ability, national connections and a winning attitude as reasons of selecting McCarthy.
“We know Coach McCarthy will be an asset to the entire department and look forward to watching our program move back toward the top of the Midwest Conference,” Szkodzinski said.
McCarthy has not had any experience as a head coach, but worked in a multitude of roles during his time at St. Olaf. At Carleton College, Coach McCarthy served as defensive Line coach, These two factors also played a role in this coaching selection. Last season, opposing team’s averaged 40.5 points per game against Lawrence.
“I promised my wife I wouldn’t move out in the middle of nowhere just for a coaching job,” McCarthy said. “When an opportunity to get a job at a school like this in a community, a town like Appleton, it was just a perfect fit for my family and I.”
The football program boasts Lawrence’s oldest athletic team, dating back to 1893. Despite this storied history that includes 16 Midwest Conference (MWC) championships, has struggled in recent years. The Vikings have not had a winning season for well over a decade and finished last season with a record of 2-8 (MWC 1-4).
Coach McCarthy arrives with a winning record throughout his career. Prior to spending one year on Carleton College last year, McCarthy was part of a record-breaking coaching staff at St. Olaf College. In his 12 years at St. Olaf, the Oles put together a 73-47 record, their best in school history.
“I do have a plan. It’s a plan that I used 13 years ago when I got to St. Olaf College. We had 34 guys in our first team meeting. 12 years later, we had a 100-man roster and were ranked in the top-40 teams in the country,” Coach McCarthy said. “The key to that is diligent recruiting. I think the way you become great at a school like this is you have to embrace who we are, as a college.”
It might take time, but all members Lawrence’s football program are hoping that McCarthy can spark some passion and success in a program that’s been missing it for far too long.