Tony Kunczewski became the face of the program on Monday morning when he was introduced as the team’s first head coach during a press conference on the Berry campus.
Kunczewski, who will officially take over his role as head
coach on April 23, will be in charge of a Berry program that will play its first-ever season of football in the fall of 2013.
Kunczewski comes to Berry after serving as defensive coordinator at LaGrange University, where he helped build that program from the ground up.
Berry athletic director Todd Brooks said that Monday’s announcement will quickly boost the excitement level for Berry football. In fact, he said it has started already.
“Even today, during the reception, you could feel it,” said Brooks. “It is beginning to percolate around campus, and the reality is starting to set in: Football is coming to Berry. .... We still have so many things to do (before is starts), but it’s so nice to have this first big thing checked off the list.”
Brooks said Kunczewski was
selected from more than 260 applicants for the coaching position.
“We felt like we needed someone with Division-III experience,” said Brooks, who added that Kunczewski’s experience
with building a new program was also a favorable factor.
Brooks said he was impressed Kunczewski in ways that went beyond football.
“He was able to express to us his aspirations for building character in his players — not just on the field, but as students and members of the community (after leaving college),” said Brooks.
“He wants the young men to develop into success students and individuals.”
At Berry, many of the students and staff members are likely to refer to Kunczewski (pronounced kun-CHESS-key) as “Coach K” — thereby avoiding any problems with pronouncing his name.
“Oh yeah, I think that (calling him ‘Coach K’) will catch on pretty fast,” said Brooks, who has already starting to referring to him that way. “Now we can say that Berry College has its own version of ‘Coach K.’ (Brooks, of course, was referring to Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski).”
Kunczewski was the defensive coordinator and head strength and conditioning coach at LaGrange since July, 2005,and played numerous roles in the development process during the building stages of the program.
Now, he is ready for his newest challenge, and he said is excited about being at Berry.
“I was so impressed with everything here during my day and a half interview,” he said during the press conference. “Everything was so top notch.”
Kunczewski knows that the recruiting process could be challenging at Berry, especially with Division III’s guidelines. Still, he said: “We’ve got to get the kids on campus. That’s half the battle right there. If we can just get them here, the campus sells itself.”