How does an individual become an icon? Well, the progression is something like this: become a starting linebacker, become an All-American, lead your team to an undefeated 9-0 season, be named All-American again, join the coaching staff, become inducted into the VCSU Vikings Hall of Fame, and have your number retired. The icon in reference here is Dave Rausch. “Rouper” has been involved with the Vikings for more than 30 years as a player, supporter, and coach.
The West Fargo native came to VCSU in the fall of 1974. Dave earned All-American honors as a linebacker for the Vikings in 1976 and 1977. During the 1976 season, Rausch helped lead VCSU to an undefeated 9-0 season and a trip to the NAIA playoffs. That same year, Rausch logged 122 assisted tackles which stood for many years as the top single season performance of all time at VCSU. Rausch’s 163 total tackles in 1976 places him third all-time for total season tackles. He logged 147 total tackles in 1977, and from a total career perspective, Rausch is fifth all-time with 310 total tackles and second all time with 230 assisted tackles. Under his coaching guidance, Rouper saw linebackers Ben Aarestad, Josh Kasowski, Kevin Strang and most recently Nicholas McBeain break his school record for tackles in a career eclipsing his record of 310.
Rausch would graduate from VCSU in 1978. He took employment at Grotberg Electric where he was an accountant until 1997. Shortly after his departure from Grotberg, Rausch opened his own branch of Raymond James Financial Services Incorporated. In 1986, Rausch also began roaming the sidelines for the Vikings coaching linebackers. The 2018 season will be Raush's 33rd with the Viking coaching staff. In addition, Rausch was inducted into the VCSU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1988.
His coaching tenure has gone through three coaching changes. Coach Jim Dew, who Rausch played for, was the first head coach “Roop” experienced. Dew, the second winningest coach in Viking history said, “Dave Rausch is the most dedicated athlete I have ever coached. A leader on and off the field, Dave benched 410 lbs. the first day of practice in 1977. That year he was first team All-American linebacker and the first Defensive Player of the Week ever selected by the NAIA. I think you could truly say that Dave Rausch has devoted his life to Viking Athletics by giving his time, talents and resources over the past 30-plus years.”
Dennis McCulloch inherited the infectious Dave Rausch as part of his staff in 1997. “Every day we are blessed to have Coach Rausch’s energy and dedication within our program. Whenever I think of Viking Pride, I think of “Roop”, said McCulloch.
In a ceremony on September 28, 2007, Dave Rausch became the first VCSU Football player to ever have his jersey retired. He is also heavily involved the VCSU Football alumni club – The Oarsmen – that is responsible for raising thousands of dollars each year for football scholarships.