Chris Roulhac is the head coach for the Cheyney University Wolves. He has led the program since 2015. This follows a previous stint with as Cheyney's head coach from 1992 to 1994. Coach Roulhac has performed strongly with the program in both stints with the university; he helped the team snap a 36 game losing streak in 1993 (winning Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in the process), and also helped the team to snap a 43 game winless streak upon his return to the program with a 21-20 victory over Lincoln. Roulhac is an extremely experienced coach who has spent time with Temple University, Colgate University, Drexel University, Dartmouth College, and the Ottawa Rough Riders. With more than thirty years of coaching experience, Coach Roulhac is one of the most experienced coaches in college football.
Roulhac heads a Cheyney program steeped in tradition. Each season, Lincoln University and Cheyney University face off in the Battle of the First to open their seasons. Last season, Roulhac led Cheyney to a 21-20 overtime victory. This season, he led the team to a 56-28 victory in which senior quarterback Dominick Trautz threw for five touchdowns and rushed for a sixth. Senior defensive end Keyson Dingle also had a huge game with 2 sacks, 5 tackles for loss, a forced fumble and 6 total tackles.The program has launched players into the NFL in the past; Offensive tackle James Williams spent 12 seasons with the Chicago Bears between 1991 and 2002. Defensive back Andre Waters played for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1984 until 1993, and with the Arizona Cardinals in 1994 and 1995. Wide receiver Dondre Gilliam played with the San Diego Chargers in 2002 and 2003. In recent years, players such as offensive lineman Adonis Cruz, defensive back Marvin Easter, defensive end Joseph Bryant, and linebacker Isaiah Fleming have generated buzz within the scouting community.
Cheyney football is a DII program with a history of success preparing players for a future in the NFL. Coach Roulhac leads the team into a promising new season following a 56-28 victory to open the year. Roulhac describes this team as the strongest team he has coached since returning to the sidelines at Cheyney, and the combination of experienced players and talented freshmen the team has makes Cheyney football a program on the rise in 2017. We were fortunate enough to interview Coach Roulhac here at Matt and Mike Sports, and here it is. Questions in black, Coach Roulhac's responses in blue:
Coach Roulhac, first off, congratulations for your team's dominant victory over Lincoln University. Quarterback Dominick Trautz and defensive end Keyson Dingle both had phenomenal performances in that game. What other players stood out to you?
It was a team effort. Our senior wide outs did an excellent job of setting and our first team defense played well in the first half.
Tell us about the Battle of the First. What makes this game special?
Both schools lay claim to being the first HBCU. It’s bragging rights for the while year. It has been a tough game since they restarted football. This is the first game that has been a blowout.
Over the 30 years, you've coached at a number of universities. What are some things that stand out about Cheyney football? What are some traditions that the casual college football fan might not be familiar with that make Cheyney football special?
Cheyney was the only school to give a chance to be a head football Coach. My Mom was a Cheyney graduate and my dad spent 20 yrs as admissions director, so I spent a lot of time in the campus. It is a place that has always given people of color an opportunity to get a college education and to follow their dreams.
The Penn State Athletic Conference is one of the most competitive conferences in college football, and the PSAC has a long history of launching players towards career in the NFL. What makes PSAC football so competitive?
There are great coaches in the conference and the state has great high school football. You don’t have to leave the state to recruit. The coaches do a great job of developing the talent into players that the pros look at.
Over the past few seasons, you've coached some phenomenal players at Cheyney. Who are the most pro-ready players on your roster this season, and why?
We want our players to be the best college players they can be. It is up to the pros to decide who they feel is good enough to play at the next level
The Wolves have built a strong roster under your leadership for this season. What players are you most excited to coach and watch this season?
Our senior class is a great group of people. They are finally living up to what we felt they would be. The leadership has been great and in the first game they played the way I had hopes they would several years ago.
Who is the toughest player you have ever coached against? Why?
They are all tough because they want to win as much as you do.
You have coached in a number of different divisions in college football. What are some of the unique challenges faced by DII coaches? What are some of the benefits to coaching in Division 2?
In DII you have to do everything. When I was at IA and IAA all you have to do is coach and recruit. We have to be a part of all parts of the players' lives. You really get involved in the players' lives and watch them grow into graduating men.
As a DII coach, how do you help prepare players for life after college football? What is life like for student-athletes in Division 2?
We try to focus on graduating. They all think they are going to the league. That degree is the most important thing to me.
You left Cheyney following the 1994 season, and returned in 2015. How did the program change while you were gone? What brought you back to Cheyney?
I came back to help out a friend who was then the head coach. The biggest difference was that there was more scholarship money in the program. It made it easier to recruit.
Over the past three decades, you've coached through many changes in the media and in the way that players interact with fans. How has the rise of social media impacted the college game?
I still have not gotten used to social media. It really runs how we do things and our staff has done a great job of staying on top of it.
What has been the most memorable moment of your coaching career so far, and why?
Being able to give back to an HBCU has been the most memorable for me. I have felt that what I have to offer is greatly needed at an HBCU where the kids need guidance and direction and a positive role model.
Most NFL fans focus mainly on FBS and FCS players in the months leading up to the NFL Draft. However, Division II football is filled with outstanding players who have the talent to contribute immediately to an NFL roster. Tell us why fans and scouts should give DII football a second look as they prepare for the draft.
Scouts don’t overlook anyone now days. They know there is a great deal of talent at the DII level. The PSAC just had an OL drafted in the 4th round last year.
How does the Division 2 recruiting process differ from the Division I recruiting process?
We have to look harder and have to see what a kid can be in a couple years and we have far less scholarships so we have to depend on all types of financial aid.
What are some of your goals for Cheyney's football program, both this year and in the future?
Win and make sure our players graduate.
The Cheyney Wolves started out the season with a dominant victory over Lincoln. What makes the Wolves a team to watch in 2017?
Our quarterback and his leadership
Many casual football fans are relatively unfamiliar with Division II football. To us, Division II is one of the most exciting divisions in football. If you had to make a case to the casual fan looking for a DII team to follow, why Cheyney?
You will have a great time at the games and bring the family
Thank you Coach Roulhac, for your time. Here at Matt and Mike Sports, we look forward to following the Cheyney Wolves throughout the upcoming season. After a strong start to the 2017 season, the Wolves are poised for a strong year. Best of luck throughout the season, and thank you again for taking the time to interview with us!--Mike Bertasso and Matt Koontz, Matt and Mike Sports.