Rob Cushman named to head football post at Augustana

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record
Rob Cushman

Rob Cushman, the defensive coordinator for the past three seasons, has been named head football coach at Augustana, it was announced today. Cushman will replace Jim Barnes, who resigned on Monday, Nov. 22 after posting a 79-34 overall record in 11 seasons.

“I am both humbled and honored to accept this position,” said Cushman who enjoyed three successful seasons of running the Vikings’ defense under Barnes. “Augustana has earned its status as one of the elite football programs in small college football and I have come to appreciate how much that means to the players, alumni and administration.”

Over the past three years, Cushman has fashioned the Viking defense into a sound unit and the statistics certainly prove that. His 2008 unit allowed just 13.4 points per game, which was seventh in NCAA Division III in points allowed and finished first in the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin in total defense. The 2009 team gave up 16.7 points per game and was second in the CCIW in total defense and the recently concluded 2010 season had the figures at 18.8 points per game and third in the league in total defense. The Vikings have compiled an overall record of 19-11 over the past three years while Cushman was in charge of the defense.

“We are ready to get started,” said Cushman of his approach to the third head coaching tenure of a football career that began in 1979. “I have to thank Jim for his confidence in hiring me as the defensive coordinator prior to the 2008 season and I wish him the best. It has been enjoyable working in the Augustana environment and we, as a coaching staff, are going to get after it in recruiting this winter and then move forward in preparation for next fall.”

Cushman has been a head coach twice before during his career. He had an 18-31 record in five seasons (1997-01) at Eastern Oregon University, an NCAA Division II/NAIA school in LaGrande, Oregon. Following his stint at Eastern Oregon, he was tapped to begin the football program at Feather River Community College in Quincy, California. In his very first season at Feather River, he guided the Golden Eagles to a 6-5 record and a berth in the CLO Bowl. He posted a 34-21 record in five seasons at Feather River and had his team in five straight bowl games. The best year for the Golden Eagles was a 9-2 mark in 2003.

He left Feather River after the 2006 season and spent one year as the special teams coordinator/defensive backs coach at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York. He helped the Bombers go 8-3 and earn a spot in the NCAA Division III national

playoffs.

“Rob Cushman is a great fit for us,” said Augustana director of athletics Mike Zapolski. “He has proven his skills as a coach and as a person who relates well with the student-athletes at Augustana as well as the staff and administration. He is an energetic person and we look forward to working with him.”

Cushman has devoted his entire professional life to coaching football. After graduating from the University of Puget Sound in 1978 where he was a four year letter winner and two year starter, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications, he began his coaching odyssey at California State University – Chico in 1979. In 1981 he moved to Butte Community College in Oroville, California where he was the defensive coordinator from 1981-84. His next two stops were head coaching positions in the high school ranks. He was the head coach at Marysville High School in Marysville, California from 1984-85 and had a similar position, although he also added head baseball coach to his resume, at St. Helena High School in St. Helena, California during the 1986-87 school year.

He moved to Eastern Oregon University in time for the 1987-88 school year and began a 15 year association with the Mountaineers’ athletic program. From 1987-97 he was the defensive coordinator in football, was the head baseball coach where he led EOU to three post-season appearances, and was an assistant professor of physical education. He was chosen in 2000 to win the Instructional Merit Award, the first faculty/coach to win the honor in the school’s history. He was named the head football coach in 1997.

“Rob Cushman, by virtue of his strong record as a seasoned coach, is well positioned to continue the Augustana legacy of combining great football with great academics,” said Augustana President Steve Bahls. “Coach Cushman will be a role model for our student athletes as one who holds himself to the highest standards of sportsmanship and integrity.”

A 1974 graduate of Hood River Valley High School in Hood River, Oregon, Cushman also has a Master of Arts degree in education/physical education from California State University – Chico, which he earned in 1982.

Cushman lives in Davenport with his wife Jessica and stepson Roman. He also has a daughter Cassie, a 2008 graduate of Mt. Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts.