Glenn Caruso was named the 29th head coach in the 114-year history of University of St. Thomas football in January 2008. He's led the Tommies' remarkable surge that has produced two NCAA championship game trips over the last seven seasons.
Caruso, 44, is among the NCAA’s most accomplished coaches in any sport under age 45.
The six-time National Coach of the Year (the most among all current coaches) is entering his 12th season guiding the Tommies.
In his St. Thomas era, his teams have:
- Compiled a 118-19 record (.868 win%), including a 79-10 record (.888) against MIAC opponents;
- Recorded the MIAC's longest win streak over conference opponents (34 games, 2014-2018) in the nearly 100 years of league play;
- Won 36 consecutive regular-season games (including 27 MIAC wins) from 2009-2013);
- Built a current streak of 19 consecutive MIAC home wins and victories in 32 of their last 33 home contests;
- Rank in the top seven among all 660 NCAA teams in the 2010s decade – alongside programs such as Alabama and North Dakota State -- in winning percentage (100-14, .877);
- Made eight NCAA playoff appearances, including two Stagg Bowl trips and one other trip to the national semifinals;
- Won 19 postseason games;
- Had seven 10-plus win seasons;
- Won six of the last nine conference titles, all with 8-0 records;
- Posted three consecutive 10-0 regular-season marks from 2010-12, an unprecedented feat in MIAC football;
- Lost just eight road games in nine seasons this decade;
- Been ranked in the top five nationally at some point during 10 of the last 11 seasons;
- Received 10 CoSIDA Academic All-America awards;
- In this decade alone, had 27 different players receive All-America or CoSIDA Academic All-America.
Caruso took over a program that won 97 games the previous 17 years and has won 118 in his first 11 seasons. His leadership launched a five-year surge from 2008-2012 that saw the Tommie climb from a No. 206 national ranking all the way to No. 2.
His inaugural 2008 season, on the heels of a 2-8 finish in 2007, produced a 7-3 record. He followed that up with an 11-2 season and the Tommies’ first NCAA playoff trip in 19 seasons. His next three teams had a combined 39-3 record with a 2012 runner-up finish. UST also took second nationally in 2015 with a 14-1 record, and went 12-1 in 2016 and 11-2 in 2017. In six NCAA playoff trips since 2011, they have lost to the eventual national champ three times and lost to the national runner-up twice.
In the last 15 years, St. Thomas is one of only four Division III programs to make multiple trips to the Stagg Bowl national championship game. Since 2010, St. Thomas ranks in the top five among all 660 NCAA institutions for the best combined football/men's basketball record.
UST’s 2010 conference football championship was the school's first since 1990. St. Thomas claimed three conference crowns in a row from 2010-2012, the school’s first such streak since 1947-1949.
In each of his first seven seasons as a head coach, Caruso’s teams won more games than the previous season. That included a climb from 7-3 in 2008 to 11-2, 12-1, 13-1 and 14-1 from 2009 through 2012. His 2015 team was unbeaten during the regular season (10-0) and won the MIAC championship. The season ended with another second-place national finish and 14-1 mark after appearing in the Stagg Bowl and falling 49-35 to Mount Union. St. Thomas had four wins over top-10 ranked teams, including two by double-digit margins over archrival St. John’s. Six Toms received All-America or honorable mention All-America honors led by National Offensive Player of the Year Jordan Roberts.
In 2016, St. Thomas was unbeaten in the regular season (10-0), claimed another MIAC championship, and reached the NCAA playoff quarterfinals to finish with a 12-1 record. Five players received All-America or honorable mention All-American honors, including senior Michael Alada, who led all NCAA players with 11 interceptions.
In 2017, the Tommies again had four All-America honorees. Caruso surpassed 100 wins, and his team shattered a Division III national record for single-game attendance with 37,535 for the 20-17 win ver St. John's at Target Field. UST's 21.9 net rushing yards allowed per game were the fewest allowed by any NCAA football team (all four levels) in one season in the last 16 years. The defense's 157.6 total yards allowed per game were the fewest allowed by any NCAA team in one season in the last 20 years. It was 50 yards better this season than the next closest team.
The 2018 Tommies had three All-America honorees. Despite missing the postseason for just the second time in 10 seasons, the 8-2 Tommies closed with the No. 15 national ranking by D3Football.com -- the 10th consecutive season that St. Thomas football has finished in the top 20 in the final D3Football.com poll. Only three Division III football programs -- Mount Union, Mary Hardin-Baylor and St. Thomas -- have closed in the top 20 each of the last 10 years. Those three schools join UW-Whitewater as the lone programs to play in two or more Stagg Bowl championship games over the last 18 seasons.
Impressive Coaching Stats
Out of 639 NCAA football programs, he was one of just three head coaches – joining Mount Union’s Larry Kehres and Boise State’s Chris Petersen -- to lead the same school to 11 or more wins in each of the four seasons from 2009-2012.
Caruso was also named the Liberty Mutual Division III National Coach of the Year for the third year in a row -- Liberty Mutual’s only multiple winner in any division in the award’s seven-year history.
He previously was named Division III Coach of the Year in 2011 by American Football Monthly magazine.
Caruso accomplished something unheard of in college football coaching: He improved his won-loss record in each of his first seven seasons as a head coach. He inherited a Macalester program that was 0-9 the previous fall and guided the Scots to records of 2-7 then 4-5. He took over a St. Thomas program coming off a 2-8 season and has posted records of 7-3, 11-2, 12-1, 13-1 and 14-1 in his first five seasons.
In that five-year span, UST football won CoSIDA Academic All-America honors five times; had one National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete; had three Gagliardi Trophy semifinalists; had three AFCA Good Works Team honorees; and on the field had two conference Player of the Year recipients and 11 players who combined to win All-America honors a total of 16 times.
At his six stops in a 21-year coaching career, he’s coached five winners of the Rimington Award recognizing the top center in each of four levels of college football.
Caruso was voted the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in each season from 2010 to 2012 and was honored again in 2015 and 2016. Prior to 2010, the last Tommie football coach so honored was in 1993.
His Tommie teams have been a model of consistency. They’ve led in the second half or overtime in 127 of their 137 games, including 106 of 110 regular-season games.
St. Thomas isn't Caruso's first turnaround. He helped resurrect three other football programs and has developed a national reputation for installing dynamic, high-scoring offenses.
The Greenwich, Ct., native played on two state championship football teams at Greenwich High, and has many family members and a vast support system living in that area.
He went on to Ithaca (N.Y.) College, where he was a starter on the offensive line (center) and helped the Bombers make two NCAA Division III playoff trips and post a 30-13 record in his four-year era. He spent one season as a graduate assistant coach at Ithaca, where he coached the offensive line.
Caruso has mentored 15 offensive players who signed pro contracts, including former NFL kick-return standout Stefan Logan of the Detroit Lions.
Caruso earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1996 from Ithaca, where he majored in sport studies. He earned his master's degree in education from North Dakota State University in 2004. Coach Caruso and wife Rachael reside in St. Paul with daughter Anna (14) and sons Cade (12) and True (10).
Liberty Mutual made three $50,000 charitable donations on his behalf, which Caruso has designated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital; Habitat for Humanity, Twin Cities; the University of Minnesota Cancer Research, located just four miles from UST's campus in Minneapolis, and Bucky's Pride, his foundation created in 2010 and named after his dad Frank "Bucky" Caruso.
Off the field, Caruso and his program make a strong impact in St. Paul and beyond. He is a founder of a Reading Recess program at local elementary schools. He joined Tommie players in the Up ‘Til Dawn Benefit writing 2,000 letters to raise funds for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. He also holds an annual youth football camp and is active in state and national coaching organizations at several levels.
St. Thomas has a rich tradition since its first varsity games in 1903. The Tommies' are ranked in the top 25 in Division III all-time winning percentage, and they played the school's 1,000th varsity game in 2018.
Thirteen Tommies have gone on to play in the National Football League, including three in the last 28 years.
The 2018 season marked the 70th anniversary of St. Thomas' famed 1948 Cigar Bowl team which played a New Year's Day bowl game in Tampa, Fla.
Off the field, Tommie football has received CoSIDA Academic All-America honors 23 times in the last 26 seasons; had a player named to the AFCA Good Works Team (campus/community service) a Division III-record 12 consecutive seasons; and have had three players in the last two decades receive an elite National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award and $18,000 postgrad scholarship.
In 25 of the last 30 seasons, St. Thomas Football has had at least one All-America or CoSIDA Academic All-America honoree.
Glenn Caruso Year-By-Year
2008------7-3-----------5-3 (tie 2nd)
2013------8-2-----------6-2 (tie 2nd)
2014------8-3-----------6-2 (tie 2nd)
Totals/118-19 (.861)---78-10 (.886)