|Mike Juscik is stepping in to take over as Concordia-Chicago's head coach with less than a month before training camp starts.
Concordia-Chicago athletics photo
Mike Juscik has been appointed the 18th head coach in the history of the Concordia-Chicago football program. Juscik, the Cougars' defensive coordinator since 2014, will succeed Randy Awrey who resigned his position after five seasons as head coach.
Awrey, who coached the Cougars for the past five seasons, told D3sports.com he was leaving college coaching to move to North Carolina and be closer to his children and grandchildren.
CUC was 12-36 under Awrey's watch. He took over a program that lost 50 players from a 10-1 team and had just 22 in his first spring practice.
"I am thankful to be entrusted with the direction of the CUC football program," said Juscik. "It is exciting to think of where this program is capable of going, and I'm looking forward to this opportunity."
A native of Hammond, Indiana, where he attended Bishop Noll Institute, Juscik began his coaching career at his alma mater in 1994 and 1995. He later returned there as head coach in 2007 and led the Warriors for seven seasons. Juscik would coach several players who went on to NFL careers, including John DiGiorgio (Buffalo), Todd Herremans (Philadelphia). Ruvell Martin (Green Bay) and Glenn Martinez (Detroit). Juscik's prior coaching experience also includes a four-year stint as linebackers coach at Franklin and a seven-year stint as linebackers/special teams coach at Division II Saginaw Valley State. His time at SVSU featured five playoff appearances including championships in 2000 and 2003 and also saw Juscik coach alongside Awrey and current CUC offensive coordinator Jim Kiernan.
The Cougars' defense has shown a steady improvement since Juscik came to CUC in 2014, when he took over a unit that had several freshmen and only one senior starter. In 2017, the Cougars finished third in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference in points allowed per game (32.7). The team led the NACC with 29 takeaways (13 interceptions, 16 fumble recoveries).
The 2018 Cougars will have a significantly more experienced team than many of the previous seasons, with seven starters returning on both sides of the ball. Added to a large incoming class that is expected to give the team one of its largest in history personnel-wise, Juscik is understandably optimistic about the upcoming season. "Based on our experience, talent and numbers, we should have a team that can really go out and compete in this conference. It will be exciting to see it start to come together when the guys report next month."
Although more of his coaching experience has come on the defensive side of the ball, Juscik played his college ball as a wide receiver at Ball State. He was a member of the 1993 Mid-American Conference championship team that played Utah State in the Las Vegas Bowl.
Juscik earned his bachelor's in exercise science from Ball State in 1994 and his master's in leadership and public administration from Saginaw Valley State in 2004.