Rush Assistant Coach Lands Head Coaching Job

Mark DeSantis Takes over as Head Coach of SPHL’s Fayetteville FireAntz

(Rapid City, SD) – The Rapid City Rush are pleased to announce today that Assistant Coach Mark DeSantis has accepted the position of Head Coach with the Fayetteville FireAntz of the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL).  DeSantis has been a part of the Rush since the organization’s inaugural season where he served as team captain before transitioning to Assistant Coach where he remained for the last three seasons.

The former defenseman played a key role in Rapid City’s 2009-10 Ray Miron Presidents’ Cup Championship, leading the Rush defensive corps alongside Head Coach Joe Ferras.

“This is a great opportunity for me personally,” said DeSantis.  “I’ve had a great mentor in Joe, not only in my years behind the bench, but as a player-assistant under him.  I feel that it’s my turn to spread my wings and give head coaching a shot.  You never know if you don’t try and I’d like to see what I can do in Fayetteville, which is a great spot.  With that, I can’t thank the Rush organization enough for what they’ve done for me over the past four years.  Coming in as player then serving as an Assistant Coach for three years was remarkable and I can’t thank them enough.  The Rush played a major role in helping prepare me for this job.  I’d like to thank the ownership group, GM Tim Hill and of course Joe who has guided me all of these years.  I know I’ll succeed because I see how hard Joe works and how passionate he is and I don’t know any other way.  Finally, I’d like to thank the fans for all of their great support throughout the years.  They’re truly what make Rapid City an ideal place to play and live.”

Mark DeSantis recently concluded his third season as Assistant Coach for the Rush, helping guide the team to 121 wins during that span.  He has also been responsible for sending numerous Rush players to higher leagues both in the US and overseas.

“Today is a bittersweet day,” said Rush Head Coach Joe Ferras.  “As a friend and colleague, I am very proud of Mark of what he accomplished as a player and even more so of how he developed and brought his love of the game to the coaching ranks.  It’s great to see Mark take the next step and become a Head Coach.  I know that with his work ethic and commitment, he will be very successful and Fayetteville is very fortunate to have him.”

DeSantis’ career spanned 16 years, including 6 seasons in the CHL and in total, played in 1,001 regular-season games and accumulated 600 regular-season points.

The Brampton, Ontario native played 4 years for the Cornwall/Newmarket Royals franchise before making his pro debut with the San Diego Gulls of the IHL in 1993-94.  Prior to that season, DeSantis signed with the National Hockey League’s (NHL) expansion Anaheim Mighty Ducks as a free agent.  In his 16 years, DeSantis made stops in the AHL, IHL, WPHL/CHL, ECHL and EIHL.  Along the way, he also gathered a number of awards including defenseman of the year in 2000-01 while with the New Mexico Scorpions and selected to the CHL All-Star team 5 times.

DeSantis served as a player-assistant for 5 years, four with the Amarillo Gorillas and during the expansion season with the Rush.  Rapid City was also where he was named the first Captain in franchise history and for the 6th time overall in his career.  All of DeSantis’ 5 seasons as player-assistant were with Rush Head Coach Joe Ferras.

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