In this episode, Rick talks about his dual role as head football coach and director of athletics, the importance of athletics recruiting in enrollment management and the impact of Wartburg’s facilities upgrades.
Willis is director of athletics and head football coach. He came to Wartburg in 1997 as head football coach and left that position in 2005, when he was named director of athletics. He resumed his coaching career in 2008 and led the Knights to their 11th Iowa Conference football championship, eighth NCAA Division III playoff berth, and a run to the national quarterfinals.
Willis was named GTE Regional Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association following an unbeaten 1999 campaign. As defensive coordinator and head coach, Willis has guided the Knights to one of the nation’s 10 best winning percentages, Iowa Conference championships in 1999, 2002, 2003, and 2004, and NCAA Division III playoff appearances in those same seasons. As an interim head softball coach, Willis took the program to national prominence during the 2003 season, leading Wartburg to an NCAA regional title and a tie for fifth at the Division III College World Series.
Before coming to Wartburg, Willis was the football defensive coordinator and head baseball coach at Wittenberg University. He graduated from Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, and earned his M.S. degree at the University of Illinois.
[Courtesy: Wartburg Athletics website]