A Football Coach and the Importance of Passion

Fall means football and, although it’s early, the 2008 brand at St. Thomas has a new dimension: Intensity.

Describing St. Thomas Coach Glenn Caruso as intense is akin to calling Bill Clinton loquacious. I met Caruso months ago when the snow was still on the ground. Within five minutes, he’d shaken my hand, told me he loved being at St. Thomas and gave me the names of the two high schools in my home town of Fond du Lac, Wis.

He just might know something, I thought, about recruiting. Now he’s in the midst of show time with his football team, which has a 2-1 record, including a six-overtime loss at St. Olaf. Following that defeat, he was looking at tape from the game on the bus ride home.

I suspect he’s spending about 80 hours a week at his job these days and his players know – probably in no uncertain terms – that he doesn’t deal with losing gracefully. That makes him a lot like the best reporters and editors I knew. They'd drink a beer with you on Tuesday night and pull a story out from under your nose on Wednesday morning.
I like this coach. Spending a half day in a fishing boat with him would probably exhaust me, but watching him walk into The Grill and work the crowd intrigues me.

Caruso is shorter rather than taller, describing himself as “overachieving center” during his playing days at Ithaca College in New York. At his last stop, Macalester College, the 34-year-old inherited just 24 players and managed to win six games in two years.

He turned out 130 prospects this year at UST. Those left at the end of this season will know better about the importance of being passionate – a good lesson on the football field, in the classroom and for the rest of their lives.

(Editor's note: To get more of Caruso's insights on his team and its Saturday performance, see his Monday Morning Quarterback blog.)