By Shaleisa Daniel
End of era for legendary Rams football head coach George Rush
The mood was bittersweet as City College Rams head football Coach George Rush formally announced his retirement at a news conference held in the Health and Wellness Center on Jan. 16.
Rush, who maintains the title of the most winningest coach in junior college history, is set to retire after a memorable 38 year career with the Rams, which could best be described in his words as the “career of a lifetime.”
Among those in attendance for the announcement were City College President Virginia Parras and Chancellor Dr. Arthur Tyler, who began the news conference with a commendatory introduction of the football legend and highlighting the program’s many accomplishments under his leadership.
Rush’s long history with the college’s football program includes playing defensive back for the Rams through 1966-67, becoming an assistant coach in 1972, and serving as defensive coordinator in 1973 before finally replacing head coach Dutch Elston in 1977.
In his 38 seasons as head coach Rush has led the Rams to 326 wins, 22 conference titles, seven state titles, and seven national championships.
As Rush took over the podium, an act accompanied by a well-deserved round of applause, the tone of the room quickly turned emotional. “It’s a day that I never thought was really going to come, but it’s here,” he said in a tumorous voice.
“There’s not many people that get an opportunity to get up every morning and do something they love and it’s very difficult to say goodbye to it,” he went on to say as his family and friends looked on.
He also took the time to express his gratitude for the institution and his colleagues saying, “I’ve always had the support of this college. From the chancellor’s office to the custodial office, there was never anyone that didn’t share in our wins.”
He concluded his speech with a heartfelt thank you to his wife, Jane, and a moment of acknowledgment for his running back coach Mike Perotti, who will also be retiring after 36 respective years with the program. He then turned the microphone over to his successor Jimmy Collins.
Briefly touching on his new task of taking over the program, QB Coach Collins was confident in his future as head coach noting, “I am inheriting the best junior college football program and I intend to keep it that way.”
He also acknowledged any challenges he might be faced with in assuming the position, assuring not only is he aware of the challenges, but he also looks forward to them.
Collins grew up in Marin and played starting QB for the Rams in 2005. After, he attended and played QB for Portland State University, earning a B.S. in Political Science and later a Master’s degree in Sports Science from the United States Sports Academy in Daphne, Ala. He finally returned to City College in 2009 to coach under Rush for the next six seasons.
As for Rush, when asked about what the future holds for him, he said he has approached Chancellor Tyler and President Parras on how he can still serve the college.
“Hopefully we’ll find a role for me here,” he said. “I love this place and I’ve got a lot of energy.”
Despite his many accomplishments Rush has maintained that the most memorable part of his tenure will always be his players.
“I’ve had so much fun with our players,” he said. “Football is a game that should be fun; and nobody had more fun than I did. Nobody.”