How a Tough Alabama Football Coach is Thriving in the Alps

From coaching high school and college football in the toughest football region in the US to coaching the Turek Graz Giants of the Austrian American Football League, widely regarded as one of the toughest football leagues in Europe, to becoming national team coach for Austria, Rick Rhoades journey as a football coach has been colorful and filled with a consistent pattern of success. And yet, as is the case with many successful coaches, Rhoades is sincerely modest about his success.

His record at the high school, college pro levels is astonishing. To him though, any other good coach would have had the same success given the circumstances.

Rhoades is entering his fourth season as the head coach of the Graz Giants. Since arriving in Austria in 2007, he has taken his team to the Austrian Bowl (championship game) every year, winning it in 2008 and has been ranked in the top three in Europe for the past two years. In 2008, the Giants also won the EFAF Cup.

“We could not have achieved this without the building blocks put in place by the Giants club itself,” says Coach Rhoades. “Our president has initiated development programs at the youngest levels, and so the Austrian football players on our team have learned the fundamentals at an early age”.

He played guard at Central Missouri before discovering his passion for coaching the game. He has continued coaching ever since which is more than 40 years of experience. He coached high school football เว็บบอล ดีที่สุด in Alabama before becoming head coach at Troy State, (NCAA II) in Alabama where the team won two national championships (1984 and 1987) and Rhoades was named National Coach of the Year.

“That was a very special team with a very special group of players who grew close over the course of the four years,” he says. “We won 45 games and I think somewhere between 25 and 30 of those players went on to become coaches.”

He then moved on to Southern Illinois before becoming the offensive coordinator at the University of Kentucky for three years. He was at Nicholls State ( head coach 1993-94) and Pelham H.S. (head coach 1996-2000), as well as Stephen F. Austin University (linebackers coach 1996) and spent a season in the professional XFL with the Birmingham Bulls.

He then took the job as head coach of Delta State University (2002-2006), before coming to coach in Austria, where he spent five highly successful seasons guiding the team to number three overall in the U.S. in Division II football. In fact, as a head coach or assistant Rhoades has been part of a state championship team as a high school coach, six final four teams, an SEC championship team and two national championship teams. This is an astonishing record.

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