Chicago – Fr. Paul Galetto, O.S.A., Ph.D., St. Rita of Cascia High School's Head of School and Chief Executive Officer, has appointed current St. Rita Athletic Director, Roshawn Russell, M.B.M., a 2008 St. Rita alumnus, as Head Basketball Coach of the 114-year-old institution. Russell will also retain his position as Athletic Director. Russell will succeed Coach Gary DeCesare, who coached the Mustangs for ten years with an 182-110 overall record. Russell spoke highly of his time working with DeCesare. "He took our basketball program to new heights. We wouldn't be where we are today without him," Russell said.
Prior to becoming Athletic Director in July 2018, Russell served as an Assistant Admissions Director at St. Rita. Russell has extensive basketball coaching experience, including serving as the Assistant Men's Basketball Coach at Fontbonne University. Additionally, Russell enjoyed a very successful playing career on the hardwood. He finished his career with the North Park University Vikings ranked number one for career and season all-time free-throw-shooting percentage. He shot a career-best 88 percent from the line and a record 90 percent during his freshman year. He also ranks tenth all-time in total assists at North Park and scored 939 points over his four-year playing career. Russell is ranked seventh all-time at North Park for career three-point field goals, and ranks eighth all-time in career three-point percentage with 38.5%. Russell graduated from North Park University with a BA in Physical Education, and holds a Masters in Business Management from Fontbonne University. Coach Russell has served as St. Rita's Head Sophomore Basketball coach since September 2015, and has led the sophomore Mustangs to two 20+ win seasons and two Chicago Catholic League titles.
Russell attended St. Rita where he enjoyed a stellar prep career. He was a four-year starter for the basketball team and earned All-Chicago Catholic League Second Team honors as a junior and First Team as a senior, as well as All-Area honors from the Southtown Star. He was voted the team MVP his senior year and earned All-Tournament honors at the McGovern Classic. He averaged 18.7 points, 4.1 assists and 2.1 steals in leading the team to an 18-11 record his senior year. Russell also played in the Catholic League All-Star Game in the spring of 2008.
When asked about Russell, Fr. Galetto said, "St. Rita is in a strong position. We have premiere facilities and a great family atmosphere, which Coach Russell understands. His positive and competitive attitude, combined with his basketball knowledge is a winning combination. I'm excited to see his dynamic coaching style on the varsity level."
Russell is equally excited to step into this role, stating, "I've worked very hard to get to this point in my career, and I understand what it takes to succeed. I've been very fortunate to learn from some of the best coaches at every level. St. Rita and its basketball program had a tremendous impact on my life, and I am honored to be able to carry the tradition forward. This is the opportunity of a lifetime."
About St. Rita High School
St. Rita High School is a college-preparatory, Augustinian Catholic high school located on a beautiful 37-acre campus at 7740 S. Western Avenue on Chicago's south side. The all-boys St. Rita has a 114-year old tradition and legacy, is over 24,000 alumni strong and offers 15 athletic teams competing in the Chicago Catholic League and 32 clubs and activities.