MARSHALL, Texas – Former American Southwest Conference “Coach of the Year” Rusty Rainbolt has been hired by East Texas Baptist University to lead the women’s basketball program. Rainbolt is no stranger to the ASC as he has coached at Concordia University-Texas and McMurry University. He is coming back to the NCAA Division III level after spending the last two years in his hometown of Sweetwater, Texas, as the Girls Athletic Coordinator and Head Girls Basketball Coach.
“We heard from countless people what an incredible man of Christian leadership Rusty Rainbolt is. Getting to know him through our search process, I have discovered how true this description is. Rusty embodies the total package that fits our Christ-centered athletic department: devoted husband, loving father, dedicated coach. He and his lovely wife Audra are committed to Christian sports ministry. Together our Lady Tigers will have an extended family in the Rainbolts encouraging and challenging them to excel in the classroom, on the court, and in life,” says ETBU President Dr. J. Blair Blackburn.
Rainbolt had a very successful run in the American Southwest Conference as a head and assistant coach. He spent three seasons as the head coach of the women’s basketball program at Concordia-Texas where he went 54-24 overall and 45-16 in the ASC. In his second season, his team went 23-5 overall and 18-3 in the ASC West winning the division. That team then went on to win the ASC Tournament and qualify for the program’s first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament. In that season, they had three wins over NCAA Division III top 25 programs and also won their first-ever ASC Tournament game. For his great season, he was named the ASC “Coach of the Year” and his team was the ASC Sportsmanship “Team of the Year.”
“We are thrilled to have Rusty Rainbolt and his family joining the ETBU Athletics as our Head Women’s Basketball Coach. Rusty’s passion for Christ-centered athletics and philosophy of developing the complete student-athlete, both on and off the court, is a perfect fit for ETBU Basketball,” comments ETBU Vice President of Athletics Ryan Erwin. “We are excited about the future of the Tiger Women’s Basketball program under Coach Rainbolt’s leadership. I am confident Rusty will be able to lead the ETBU Women’s Basketball team to new heights because of his wealth of experience and familiarity with the ASC, as well as his commitment to discipleship and excellence.”
Prior to heading to Concordia-Texas, he was an assistant at McMurry University for two seasons. McMurry went 39-16 winning the ASC West Division in 2008-09 and were the tournament runners-up in 2009-10.
“My family and I feel so blessed to be joining the ETBU family. In visiting with Dr. Blackburn and Mr. Erwin, their passion for serving Christ was overwhelming. It is an honor to be chosen to join a University and lead a program that publicly makes it their mission to serve Christ in every way,” comments Rainbolt. “We want to say that we were blessed to be a part of Sweetwater High School and the Sweetwater community. That is home and will always have a special place in our hearts. However, this opportunity is one that we know has been placed before us by God and we embrace the calling He has for our service.”
After his time at Concordia-Texas, Rainbolt moved to Southern Arkansas University to take on a winless program. He took over a program that had not won in 35 games and in the next two years posted 21 victories. Both years he was there, SAU made the Great American Conference tournament which was a first for the program. He also coached the GAC Newcomer of the Year in Chanel Miller.
Rainbolt worked his way up into the college ranks after a successful three years as an assistant coach at Trinity Christian High School. In 2005 and 2006, Trinity Christian HS won the 4-A TAPPS State Championship. He then spent a year at Hardin-Simmons University earning a master’s degree and then a year at Wayland Baptist University as the recruiting coordinator. From there he went onto McMurry as an assistant.
In his two stops at as a head coach, he has restructured the academic and recruiting settings. None of the teams he coached had less than a 3.2 grade point average. At Concordia-Texas, he had 18 players named to the ASC All-Academic team. In five years, he had eight All-Conference players, two conference newcomers of the year, and one conference player of the year and defensive player of the year.
“As we begin to build the women's basketball program, we want to attract quality young ladies that will represent God, their families and the ETBU community with the utmost respect and class. We are excited to get started,” says Rainbolt.
As an assistant coach for three years in his career, he recruited four players for three different programs that earned numerous awards. Those awards include ASC Newcomer of the Year, SAC Newcomer of the Year, SAC Defensive Player of the Year, NAIA All-American, and an ASC West MVP.
Rainbolt will begin his duties immediately and move his wife Audra and their three daughters, Bailey (9), Summer (7) and Rhilee (3) from Sweetwater, Texas, to the Marshall community. He will inherit a very young and talented team.
|Southern Arkansas||2014-15||9-18||7-13||GAC Tournament|
|Southern Arkansas||2013-14||12-15||8-12||GAC Tournament|
|Concordia-Texas||2012-13||17-9||14-5 (2nd)||ASC Tournament|
|Concordia-Texas||2011-12||23-5||18-3 (1st)||ASC Tournament/NCAA Tournament|
|Concordia-Texas||2010-11||14-10||13-8 (4th)||ASC Tournament|