But make no mistake about it, Kunczewski is building something at Berry College.
Kunczewski — who goes by ‘Coach K’ to help avoid any issues with the pronunciation of his name — is leading the charge in helping Berry’s football program get off the ground.
He was named head coach at Berry on April 16, after previously serving as an assistant coach at LaGrange, where he helped put together the program from scratch.
At Berry, he will be in charge of a Vikings’ program that is set to begin play in the fall of 2013. So, needless to say, the man with the long name has a long to-do list.
He will spend the summer on the recruiting trail, along with doing various administrative work that comes with his job.
This week, the Rome News-Tribune caught up with ‘Coach K’ to talk about his duties. Here is what he had to say:
RN-T: This is your first head coaching job. How excited are you about being the man in charge?
KUNCZEWSKI: Well, it’s always been a goal of mine. I think most guys who get into coaching football, they want to have that opportunity one day to be a head coach. But I looked at it, as I didn’t just want to jump in and be head coach anywhere. I wanted it to be the right place for me and my family, and I’m tremendously blessed (that) a place like a Berry opened up. I mean, it’s everything we were looking for. It’s a great school academically and has a beautiful campus. I’ve been up here for five weeks now, and the Rome and Floyd County community is just great. This is everything we could have asked for.
RN-T: You just touched on it a little, but what else made the Berry job so appealing to you?
KUNCZEWSKI: Well, there’s a lot to talk about. … We wanted to be at a place that was rooted in strong academics and a place that we would want to send our kids one day. When we’re recruiting guys to come to Berry, I wanted to be able to say that we would send our own kids here. Plus when you factor in all the beauty of the campus, and the thing I have been really impressed with — because I didn’t know much about it — was the Rome area itself. It’s got a great downtown and I’ve gotten a chance to tour a lot of the community … It’s really nice.
RN-T: You helped start the football program at LaGrange College. How much from that experience will help you build the program at Berry?
KUNCZEWSKI: I think it’s huge. Somebody on campus asked me the other day if I wake up at night in cold sweats, realizing everything that needs to be done — like, we don’t have a stadium location necessarily picked out yet, (I’ve) got to bring in all these recruits and (I) have to get coaches, and all that stuff. (But) having been there before — not in the position as head coach but being the first hire of the head coach down at LaGrange — that experience is helping me tremendously. … I’m very proud of how we did things at LaGrange. We built it from the bottom up and didn’t try any quick fixes, and I felt like we built something there that’s got some staying power and is going to last. I was fortunate enough to be under the tutelage of a great head coach in Todd Mooney, so the experience at Lagrange has helped me out immeasurably thus far.
RN-T: So how are things going in the first few weeks since being named the head coach?
KUNCZEWSKI: Things have been going great. We’ve finally been able to recruit some young men for this incoming class in 2012, and we’re getting things set up for the 2013 on the recruiting side of things, which is something that I wanted to do early. We’ve got some coaching candidates in here already that have interviewed, so we’re almost wrapping that up. … I’d like to get an offensive and defensive coordinator hired here very shortly because there both going to start July 1. That’s a big part of what we did, recruiting coaches and players, but I’ve been able to get out and see a lot of the Berry community. I’ve reached out to Berry people associated with the college … (This week) I was just floored that I got to have breakfast with the alumni work week that’s up here. You have people that graduated in the 50’s and 60’s from Berry that have taken time out of their lives to be able to give back to college and do various projects. I got the chance to meet with them and talk a little bit, and it’s just been everything we could have dreamed of and more.
RN-T: Speaking of recruiting, how is the recruiting going here in the early stages?
KUNCZEWSKI: Well, it is early, so it’s kind of tough to really gauge that. But I’m excited to go out there this fall and be able to see a lot of high school games and get out into the schools. One thing I have been able to do already is reach out to the schools in Floyd County. I’ve been to all the county schools, to Rome High, and to Darlington and be able to go out and shake hands with head coaches and their assistants and be able to watch a little bit of practice. I’ve done that already and all six of the programs have been tremendously helpful thus far. (They) all have gone out of there way to reach out, and we’d love to be able to get some of the local talent to come play for Berry. And it’s not just been the local high schools; I’ve been to Shorter and coach Phil Jones and his staff has reached out as well. I’ve gotten to know Coach Jones a little bit through playing against him for four years when I was at LaGrange, and I have a lot of respect for the way they do things there at Shorter and the way they run their program.