With its first season of varsity football in the books, the Russellville Indians High School football team will have a new face at head coach for this year’s fall season.
Tim Rulo — who has coached at South Callaway, Helias and, most recently, Chillicothe across a 13-year span of time spent in head coaching positions — was named as head coach in a news release March 4 from Cole R-1 Athletic Director Lucas Branson.
Rulo takes over a Russellville team that finished its first season with a record of 0-8, ending in a 56-18 loss to Tipton in the first round of the Class 1 District 3 Tournament.
Rulo said location was one of the reasons he decided to come to Mid-Missouri. Rulo hails from St. Louis and his wife is from Kansas City, and he said being located in-between their two families was ideal.
“These last three years being up more near Kansas City was great, but also being very far away from my family was challenging,” Rulo said. “I have two small children and the fact that they were not able to see their grandparents was very challenging. I think a lot of that was brought to light with COVID-19 and the pandemic, and we as a family spent a lot of time thinking and praying about it and finding a way to be able to see both sets of our families, and Mid-Missouri seemed like a great place.”
Rulo said he was familiar with the Russellville community due to his time at South Callaway. Rulo said his first coaching experience was during a summer basketball league game at Russellville.
“I was always impressed with (Russellville),” Rulo said. “It is just a community I have watched over almost the last 20 years now.”
Rulo said after taking to school officials, he decided Russellville seemed like a good fit.
“I just had a great feeling and it checked a lot of boxes, which made me excited about coming to Russellville,” Rulo said.
Rulo said he is looking forward to getting to know the players in the young football program and to start building trust between them.
“It is very much learning about the traditions and the things that are in place already,” Rulo said of what the process will look like as he comes in. “Even for a program that is only going into its second year of varsity, it still has some norms and things we have to figure out. I look forward to communicating with the players and trying to get to know them. My goal is to use the vehicle of football to try to impact as many kids as possible. To do that, you want to try to get as many kids on the team as possible, so I think that is definitely something we are going to try to do. That comes from those kids being able to trust you and believe in you. Just trying to get down there as much as possible, so these guys get to know me and they can really start to recognize me and we can start communicating with them as much as possible to find a vision and direction that we want to take the program in.”
When practices start, Rulo said he wants to get the players excited for football and let their athleticism shine.
“I think the message we always try to send to people is that football is fun, it’s hard work and it’s challenging, but the memories that you make are for a lifetime,” Rulo said. “We want guys to make great memories of being with their friends and doing fun stuff together on the football field.”
Rulo said the upcoming season will be about building the program for future generations of Russellville football players.
“We are going to try to build and every day try to make this program better,” Rulo said. “Try to get it entrenched into this community because it is still so new. I think these players are, in many ways, the brick layers. These are the guys who are truly building the foundation. They are doing the little things that people are going to be able to experience and see the fruits of in many ways years, decades later. It is hard sometimes to catch and understand that vision but that is the real goal that I have, is that these guys are going to be the ones laying down the foundation for the future, for the Russellville Indians that will be playing football for the years to come.”