Dec. 18, 2007
University of South Carolina head football Steve Spurrier has added Ray Rychleski (rich-LESS-key) to his coaching staff, he announced today. Rychleski will serve as the Gamecocks’ special teams coordinator in 2008.
Rychleski, 50, has spent the past seven years as the special teams coordinator and tight ends/H-backs coach at the University of Maryland. Over that seven-year period, Maryland has had zero punts blocked, the longest current streak in Division I-A football. His special team units have blocked 22 kicks and have eight returns for touchdowns in that seven-year span. In addition, Maryland is ranked second in the country in kickoff return yardage defense, allowing just 16.34 yards per kickoff return in 2007. Rychleski coached an All-Atlantic Coast Conference punter for six straight years (2001-06), had one specialist selected in the NFL draft and five others sign as free agents.
“I believe Ray is one of the best special teams coaches in the country,” said Coach Spurrier. “Maryland has not had a punt blocked since he has been there. I believe we’re in good hands with him coordinating our special teams.”
Rychleski helped the Terrapins to a record of 56-30 with five bowl appearances during his tenure, including the 2001 ACC Championship, the 2002 Peach Bowl Championship, the 2004 Gator Bowl Championship and the 2006 CHAMPS Sports Bowl Championship. The Terps were ranked in the Top 25 three times (2001, 2002 and 2003) and appeared in their first-ever Bowl Championship Series bowl game in 2001 (Orange Bowl).
Rychleski is expected to coach the Terrapins in their Dec. 28 Emerald Bowl game in San Francisco against Oregon State before joining the Gamecock staff in Columbia.
“This is an outstanding opportunity for me to coach in the SEC at what I consider one of the top jobs in the country,” said Rychleski. “I’ve had a great opportunity at Maryland working under head coach Ralph Friedgen, but I’m looking forward to the challenge that is presented at South Carolina and working for another outstanding coach in Steve Spurrier. Since attending the Carolina-Clemson game in 1997, I’ve wanted to coach at South Carolina because of the tremendous fan base and the excitement that’s generated at Williams-Brice Stadium.”
Prior to his arrival in College Park, Rychleski spent eight seasons (1993-2000) at Wake Forest University. For the 1999 and 2000 seasons, Rychleski was the Demon Deacons’ tight ends coach while also serving as the team’s special teams coach. For the three years prior to that, he worked with WFU’s outside linebackers. During his first three seasons at Wake (1993-95), Rychleski coached the defensive line.
A veteran of 28 years of coaching including 26 seasons at the collegiate level, Rychleski began his coaching career on the prep level in Pennsylvania in 1979 before heading to Temple University, where he took a position as a graduate assistant. Shortly thereafter, he was promoted to his first full-time collegiate coaching post. He spent eight years at Temple (1981-88) before joining the Northeastern staff as a defensive coordinator/inside linebacker coach. After two years at Northeastern (1989-90), he spent a year as a G.A. at Penn State and one summer with the Toronto Argonauts as a volunteer assistant.
In 1992, Rychleski was hired as a special teams coordinator and defensive backs coach at East Stroudsburg University where he helped the Warriors to their best record in 13 years. After his brief stint there, he left for Wake Forest in 1993.
A native of Old Forge, Pa., Rychleski earned his degree in social studies from Millersville (Pa.) State College (now known as Millersville University) in 1979. He is single.