RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. (ATU) -- A journey that began 29 years ago with a long bus ride from Louisiana finally brought Raymond Monica back around to Arkansas Tech University on Tuesday.
Monica was introduced by Arkansas Tech President Dr. Robert C. Brown and Arkansas Tech Director of Athletics Steve Mullins as the 16th head football coach in Wonder Boys' history before a capacity crowd at Ross Pendergraft Library and Technology Center room 300.
"I came up here 29 years ago in a yellow school bus from south Louisiana for football camp," said Monica during his press conference on Tuesday. "It took more than nine hours to get here. There's something about this campus I fell in love with. I always paid attention to Arkansas Tech. I look forward to embracing our rich history and meeting the alumni. When you combine the academic tradition and the tradition of the football program, I think that Arkansas Tech is first class and the sky is the limit here."
Monica was announced as the new head football coach at Arkansas Tech via press release on Thursday. He succeeds Steve Mullins, who resigned as head coach on Nov. 15 and remained with Arkansas Tech as its director of athletics.
A native of Garyville, La., Monica was head football coach at NCAA Division II member Kutztown University (Pa.) from 2006-2012.
He led the Golden Bears to a cumulative overall record of 45-34, two NCAA Division II Playoffs appearances (2010 and 2011) and their first Pennsylvania State Athletics Conference championship (2011).
Prior to his appointment at Kutztown, Monica served as an assistant coach at the University of North Alabama and Temple University. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in health, physical education and recreation from the University of North Alabama in 1990.
Monica and his wife, Linda, are parents of Ray (17), Lindsey (14) and Austin (6).
Arkansas Tech will play its 99th season of intercollegiate football in 2013. The Wonder Boys have an all-time record of 531-351-41 (.598), and Tech is one of 10 NCAA Division II football programs with 530 or more all-time wins.
The Wonder Boys became the first football program in Arkansas to earn three NCAA Division II Playoffs berths (1999, 2004 and 2009), to host an NCAA Division II Playoffs game (2004) and to win an NCAA Division II Playoffs game (2004).
Arkansas Tech was 5-6 overall and 3-5 in the Great American Conference during the 2012 season.