Consider this. Glenn Caruso was named head coach at the University of St. Thomas on January 24, 2008. He took over a team that finished 2-8 the previous season. In his first year, Caruso led St. Thomas to a 7-3 record. The Tommies finished 11-2 in his second year, then 12-1 in 2010, and 13-1 last fall. That four-year run completed the biggest turnaround in Division III football history.
St. Thomas’ 36 wins from 2009-2011 are fourth most in D-III history, only behind Wisconsin-Whitewater, the University of Mount Union and Wesley. Caruso previously was the head coach at Macalester College and also served as an assistant at Ithaca, North Dakota State, Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and South Dakota. His overall record as a head coach is 49-19 and 7-3 in playoff competition.
Caruso has developed a reputation for resurrecting programs wherever he’s coached. At North Dakota State, he helped a Bison team that went 6-4 the previous year make two NCAA playoff trips and reach the national semifinals in a four-year span. At South Dakota, Caruso came into a program that had won 10 games combined the previous three years and helped the Coyotes post back-to-back 9-2 records and win the North Central Conference championship.
In 2006, Caruso inherited just 24 players as head coach of a Macalester program that was 2-25 between 2003 and 2005. He doubled the roster size and took the Scots to a 4-5 record in his second season. In his first year at Macalester, the Scots produced their two highest single game total yardage figures in the school’s 119-year history.
Last fall the St. Thomas defense allowed only 10 points and 56 rushing yards per game. The Tommies run a 3-4 defense, bringing heavy pressure. “A lot of our pressure packages are based on personnel match-ups,” said Caruso. “We also try to take advantage where our opponent is splitting their protections and becomes vulnerable.”
Offensively, St. Thomas runs a multiple two-back system with a run game balanced between a power attack and running both inside and outside zone plays. The passing game is all based off of play-action. “Our goal,” said Caruso, “is to be as balanced as possible between our running and passing game.”