Saturday, October 19, 2002

Notes of Thanks

This thank you note was delivered at the end of the day on Tuesday to the four people with the DU Athletic Department who had been part of the interview process on Monday. I rushed a bit and it slid to fit on three pages plus an attachement of additional swim references.

Traditional letterhead details snipped.

Thanks to those at Duquesne University on the swim coach interview team!
Dear _____,

Thanks for the interview and insights concerning your mens swim coaching position. It was splendid to meet with you given your busy schedules. I'm excited about the possibilities and opportunities. With every conversation, it was clear that a drastic change in directions is desired. I was happy to learn of your serious concerns and assessment of the situation. Hiring me is a certain pivotal step to making a serious difference with the team.

The flurry of interviews in a brief period uncovered just a few of the challenges ahead as well as our past approaches in similar situations. Please allow me a moment to reflect on the different conversations.

Key expectations from the Duquesne officials seemed to be:

1. Performances worthy of a competitive Division I team.

2. Ongoing supervision and coaching of the team.

3. Recruiting and outreach to insure talent enters the teams.

All of the above, in the hands of an aggressive coach, should not be a problem. My ambitions exceed that of most in swimming, sports and education. Providing a master plan with a vision and details in a sensible style can be delivered. As an engaged, driven, creative, organized and effective coach, I'll want the Athletic Department and my swim coaching peers to, in turn, offer insights, feedback and support of these presented ideas.

As well, the athletes I coach have always been and are expected to be highly successful because they internalize a trust with me (their coach) and seek to perform for intrinsic reasons.

The "mind - body - spirit advertising campaign" of Duquesne University is clever and fits to a small degree in the Pharmacy classrooms. However, in the natatorium, we get to live the lifestyle and associated challenges in moment-to-moment pursuits. The refreshing part of swimming -- personal, group and team engagements -- gives student-athletes their top rewards.

Travis said he still wants to be on a swim team. His drive to be with the sport comes from deep within. I want to coach him for all the right reasons. I won't need to toss existing swimmers off the team. I'm not the type of coach that needs to worry about such matters. Squad size can stay at or near present levels, as desired. Travis swim faster this season than he even expected.

For those associated with the team, now and in the future, I'll help to make those reasons for participation clear. Many young men will enroll in D.U.'s program after Travis graduates. Those who take his place will enter with measures of A10 standards. They will choose to be a part of this styled program.

Before yesterdays interviews, worries concerning D.U.'s accommodation of my personal insistence upon excellence within the sport of swimming were unresolved. Today, that outlook has changed. I had been sure that I'd be able to do a fabulous job for Duquesne. What's more, now, I'm sure that your setting can be home to fabulous swim programs.

Consider prior turnabouts as selecting the next coach. My background has been filled with rapidly progressing teams brimming with improvements. I bring new excitements to these programs and leapfrog most of the competitors.

Duquesne presents risks to coaches resumes. David C. Salo, USA Swimming's Coach of the Year, asked me, "Do you want THAT job?" I'm creative enough to see a way out of these situations and confident enough to trust in my abilities. The biggest risk rests with you as a department in its decision on hiring. An individual with a world-view, rich experiences in fast swimming, as well as a command of excellence and philosophy is called for now.

In Peoria in August 1983, PAWW had 25 swimmers and was in last place in the Lincolnland Conference. By October the team swelled to 200. I hired and trained seven assistants. The reputation changed and word-of-mouth buzz shifted from splashing on inter tubes to practices with teaching, training, and real swimming.

In 1984 at the Illinois State Senior Championships the PAWW girls 400-Free Relay clocked a 3:40.12. That performance, a Junior National Cut, happened with Erica, Beth, Katie and Jennifer, grades 7, 8, 8 and 9. The five of us flew on Peoples Express from Peoria to Syracuse, NY for a first Jr. National experience for that team. Rapid improvements to blistering speeds make a recurring theme in my past.

Both "A" and "B" relays from Peoria and men and women were soon headed to Juniors. We broke a number of state records and were sending kids with scholarships to Nebraska, Illinois, Wisconsin, Bakersfield and beyond. The excellence snowballed. We were not just getting a few kids to states, we were dominating races at elite venues. And, we grew from scratch.

The 02-03 DU women's team may clobber its 3:40 team record in its first dual meet. Performance facts were raised to a former Athletic Director on the bluff at an interview some years ago. Before Wayne Becker was the coach, I came to understand that no swim coach had much hope of thriving. Gladly, times and circumstances have changed today. I hope we all choose to work together and capitalize on these changed outlooks.

The quick build to excellence happened in more recent times and locally at Plum High School. Plum hovered at tenth place in the WPIAL Championship meet the year before my arrival. I coached the squad from November 15 to March and Plum's 400-free relay clocked 3:35.66, dropping more than 10 seconds from the prior year. Those kids (Karen, Erica, Karin, Katie) shattered their own expectations.

Moving an unranked team to second in Western PA and sticking there the second year speaks to the nature of the results I'll expect to attain.

This year's women's team at DU may beat the 3:35.66 in the 400-free relay the A10 Championships. I'll hope to be there to cheer them on to do so.

Deliberate, organized, structured programs of excellence yield fast times. My team will become masters of our space, time and relationships and seek groove performances in our athletic pursuits. Furthermore, we learn skills and make efforts to transfer these quests of mastery into lifelong activities.

Recent academic advancement of the DU women swimmers is terrific. As a team internalizes concepts of excellence, limits to potential vanish. A natural outgrowth is academic performance. To soar, we'll need to strive in holistic ways. Of course the classroom perfection sharpens as well. I'd like to learn more of the academic standings of the DU men, and help them advance too.

The Ohio University ascent from 8th to 3rd from 1978 to 1982 in the ten team MAC highlights the same trend, but in the NCAA Division I setting.

My habit of crafting clear instructions necessitates extra steps. I take those steps and deliver those messages. To explain why things need to be done in certain styles makes the burden of teaching five times greater, but outcomes are pushed so perfection come near.

In my interview with Dave and Rick, questions of drugs and alcohol among the team's members surfaced. I said that the members on the team that I've coached have never had a problem in those areas. Within the season, the OU swimmers made a promise and didn't drink. Athletes I'm engaged with won't want to drink. We'll be quite busy with other, more important activities. Those striving to treat ourselves with great care won't drink. Some of the greatest programs with great individuals don't drink. For DU, squad members won't drink because other championship programs do the same and because we'll behave in the right manners for all the right reasons.

Thanks again for the time and for everyone's full consideration about the job.

Sincerely yours, Mark Rauterkus

Additional swim references:
These folks could help ease specific worries you might encounter with your decisions in the days to come.

- Bill Wadley, Head Coach of the Mens Swimming Team at Ohio State University

- Tim Welsh, Head Coach of the Mens Swimming Team at the University of Notre Dame

- Paul Blair, Head Coach of the Arkansas Dolphins

- David Salo, Irvine NOVA, USA Swimming's Coach of the Year, 2002

- Al Ledgin, former Lincolnland Conference coaching peer, Y coach north of Chicago

Friday, October 11, 2002

From a former boss, Retired AD at Bradley University

Ronald H. Ferguson was the Athletic Director at Bradley University when I was hired as the interim swim coach.

dear mark, i have sent a hand written letter to Crian Colleary who I met many years ago. It was a very positive letter and I hope it helps. Let me know how it turns out and if there is anything else that I can do. We had a great time in Prague, Salzberg and Munich where we took in the last night of the Octoberfest. Got home wed night pretty worn out. Thanks again for your help at Bradley and the best of luck. sincerely,

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

Applied for the swim coaching post at West Mifflin

October 9, 2002
Athletic Director 
High School
West Mifflin School District 
Pittsburgh, PA


Dear Mr. Relich,
Please consider this letter, resume and associated information as an application for the open position of Varsity Swim Coach for the Swimming and Diving Teams.
I am excited about the possibilities of becoming a member of the Titans Athletic Department. I believe my qualifications and goals match the position.
A few weeks ago I met Steve at the pool in an informal setting and passed him my resume. I was impressed with the activities at the pool and the number of assistants he has engaged with the overall programs. Plus, of course, the new facility is wonderful.
Steve wants to do some special things with the overall programs and I believe that I can bring such excitement and pursuits to the studentathletes. I look forward to talking with you about such plans and the overall vision.
Thanks for your consideration.
Sincerely Yours,

Thursday, October 03, 2002

Letter to Editor, published in the P.G., about Ellen Goodman's article & parenting

My letter was published in the PG, date unsure. This is the day I sent it in. The letter said:

Re: Ellen Goodman's article, "Recognizing that motherhood is a job, too," on Oct 2, 2002.

How silly to fabricate such a thing as the "mommy wars." Please call it a "parental war." I've been a stay-at-home dad for eight years. The article misses the mark in that dads were ignored. Many dads are doing much more in giving care to their young children.

When the media wakes up to the dad's side of parenting, the life of our children is sure to improve by factors far more dramatic than the results from any At-home Infant Care governmental program.

Mark Rauterkus, Pittsburgh's South Side.
As a stay-at-home dad, Rauterkus ran for Mayor, City of Pittsburgh, 2001 GOP primary.

See the comments for a retyped copy of the original article.

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

Duquesne Univ Swim Coach Interview

This sage, in 2002, was the second time I sat for an interview at Duquesne University. The first was interesting, but our Peoria relay with a 7th grader, two eighth graders and one ninth grader was about 5 seconds faster than the DU women's school record at the time. 

The 2002 sage would end with the head women's coach taking the men's duties too. Soon after, the men's team would be cut.

Notes and bits of my resume.

My cover letter for the DU swim coaching job

Brian Colleary
Director of Athletics
Duquesne University
600 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15282

Dear Mr. Colleary,

Please consider this letter, resume and associated information as an application for the open position of Head Coach for the Men's Swimming and Diving Team and Aquatics Director.

I am excited about the possibilities of becoming a member of the Duquesne Athletic Department. I think my qualifications and goals match the position.

I've coached NCAA Division I Men's Teams for six seasons. Additionally, the aquatic management position matches my desires and experiences. I have the necessary CPO (Certified Pool Operator) as well as CAM (Certified Aquatic Manager) credentials.

The combination of positions with coaching and aquatics is exactly what I am looking for at this time. As you will see from my resume, I have a strong background in coaching and pool management.

When I met my wife and moved back to Pittsburgh I was combining my love and knowledge of coaching and swimming with my degree in journalism into a book publishing business. When we decided to start a family, I decided to take the lead role in our children's care while my wife pursued tenure at the University of Pittsburgh. In the past year my wife has received tenure and our boys are school age. I had decided to go back into coaching full time and as you can see, I have re-certified in all necessary areas.

The posting of his job comes at an ideal time -- a time when I want to coach at the college level, run a pool in a manner that includes service to the community, and stay in the Pittsburgh area where we are surrounded by a large, wonderful family.

This is an ideal opportunity. I know many of the elements of the community and live less than one mile from the campus. I think my background and awareness of local matters will be a great asset.

The Rauterkus family has a strong history at Duquesne University. My grandfather, Joseph A. Rauterkus, Ph.D., was asked by the President of the University to found the School of Music. He did so and continued to teach and develop programs for DU and the larger community for many years. His son, my father, graduated with a teaching degree from DU and spent his career teaching in the Pittsburgh Public Schools.

My participation at DU has included assistance to the Head Volleyball Coach in the development, publishing and duplication of his team's playbook for a number of seasons. I worked at volleyball events and was the announcer for some matches.

I'd love to join your team in the Athletic Department, I think the match is going to be warmly welcomed as my talents and approach blend well with the mission of DU. I have applied myself in efforts to prepare others by stressing broad, well-balanced, integrated education and perspective of themselves and the world. These messages are woven into my being and the DU mission. The mission to disseminate knowledge within a moral and spiritual framework in order to prepare leaders has always been central in my life.

I'll be a dependable and effective recruiter, promoter and outreach advocate for Duquesne University on many fronts. I hope to make a lasting impact with the institution that extends well beyond the successes for the Men's Swim Team.

Thanks for your consideration.

Sincerely Yours,

Mark Rauterkus