PAINESVILLE, Ohio—Lake Erie College Athletic Director Reid Guarnieri announced the hiring of Louie Rolko as the Storm's Head Men's Soccer Coach on Wednesday (March 1, 2017).
Rolko joins the Storm after serving close to ten years on staff at his alma mater Baldwin Wallace University. Following a professional playing career, he most recently was the Associate Head Coach and Recruiting Coordinator for the Yellow Jacket men's soccer program as well as the Senior Assistant Coach for the women's soccer program.
"Coach Rolko won over our administration and student-athletes with his positive and professional attitude. While this position garnered some very impressive interest, Louie separated himself from the pack with his playing experience, advanced education, fresh game philosophy and genuine care for the well-being of the students under his care at BW," said Guarnieri.
While it was difficult to bid farewell to his alma mater, Rolko is excited for the opportunity to become a head coach stating, "I am incredibly grateful to Athletic Director Reid Guarnieri, President Posler, and the search committee for the opportunity to lead the men's soccer program at Lake Erie College. I have watched the program grow over the years and am thankful to the previous coaches who built a great foundation for success to build upon. I also want to thank Reid Ayers at Baldwin Wallace University for preparing me well for this next step in my life. He has been a great mentor and friend and I look forward to watching the continued success of the Yellow Jackets."
Storm men's soccer has produced its most successful seasons over the last four years under the leadership of two head coaches. Davie Carmichael, now head coach at the University at Buffalo, was named GLIAC Coach of the Year in 2014 when he led the team to its second consecutive conference semifinal and a program-record 11 wins. Outgoing coach Kevin Brenner also led the Storm to two GLIAC semifinals and its first-ever appearance in the GLIAC Finals in 2015.
With the move to a new conference in 2017, Rolko will be charged with leading the program into a new era. "I am looking forward to becoming part of the Lake Erie College community and leading the men's soccer program into the G-MAC. It is a great opportunity for the program as we look to further our tradition and build our legacy. I cannot wait to get started," Rolko said.
Rolko's already successful career in soccer began as a player. After starring at local Hudson High School, Rolko became a four-year starting midfielder at Baldwin Wallace and garnered such accolades as four (three first team) All-OAC honors, two OAC Midfielder of the Year awards, three NSCAA All-Region awards, team MVP as a senior and three-time team captain. In 2005 and 2006, Rolko also played for the Sioux Falls Spitfire in the fourth division USL Premier Development League during the collegiate off-season.
Following graduation, Rolko turned professional in March, 2007 when he signed and spent two seasons with the Charleston Battery of the USL First Division. He then signed with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds of the USL Pro League and played there from 2010-2013 before making the decision to retire and seek a full-time career in coaching.
Before arriving at Baldwin Wallace, Rolko served as a Coach-in-Training with the USYSA Olympic Development Program where he was responsible for identifying and training Northern Ohio's top players for inclusion onto state teams. From 2010-2013, Rolko was a staff coach and the lead instructor for the Pittsburgh Riverhounds youth development program working with boys and girls aged 7-18.
After joining the Baldwin Wallace staff in 2013, Rolko has also been the head coach for local Everest Soccer Club U-17 Boys team based in Hudson. At Baldwin Wallace, Rolko has been responsible for assisting the head coach in management and leadership of the men's and women's programs including all seasonal planning, on-field activity, academic monitoring, off-season training and recruiting. While there, he also established social media outlet strategies to enhance communication with recruits, alumni and students, served as Co-Director and Co-Founder of the Baldwin Wallace University Youth and College Prep Camps, served as an academic and career advisor and assisted in the creation of strength and conditioning programs.
Rolko trusts the future is bright at Lake Erie saying, "When I visited campus and met with the various staff members, it was clear to me that Lake Erie was a special place. I realized quickly that I wanted to be a part of it. The excitement and passion everyone shared really caught my attention and I knew this was a place I wanted to call home."
A native of Hudson, Ohio, Rolko received a sport management and business administration degree from Baldwin Wallace and a master's degree in Educational, School and Counseling Psychology with a focus in Positive Coaching from the University of Missouri. He is a member of the NSCAA and possesses NSCAA Level 1 Goalkeeping and Level 2 Youth Coaching licenses and is due to receive his USSF B license in May, 2017.