The face of Rollins College Basketball for nearly four-decades and with a career full of unparalleled successes, Tom Klusman enters his 39th season at the helm of the Tars this season. During his tenure, Rollins men's basketball teams have become synonymous with winning, class, and high graduation rates.
The Cincinnati native ranks fifth among active NCAA Division II coaches in victories and 10th all-time.
Klusman has built one of the most impressive coaching resumes in the history of collegiate men's basketball. His career record of 693-407 heading into the 2018-19; ranking him among the best college coaches in the basketball history. Klusman is one of just 17 Division II coaches all-time to eclipse 600 victories and is 43rd all-time in victories.
Rollins is currently on a run of unprecedented success that continues to fill the trophy case. Since the turn of the millennium, Klusman has led Rollins to seven Sunshine State Conference regular season championships, four SSC Tournament titles and eight NCAA Division II postseason bids, advancing to the Elite Eight twice (2004, 2017).
The Tars shocked the South Region in 2016-17, when Klusman's team turned an 8-8 record at the mid-point of the season into an Elite Eight invitation. The Tars won an instant classic in the SSC Tournament Final to give them a berth in the NCAA Regional. There the Tars ran through the field behind the play of Tournament MVP Jeff Merton, earning the spot in the Elite Eight.
Klusman has accumulated a mountain of accolades during his time at Rollins including: the 1991 and 2003 NABC South Region Coach of the Year awards and the 1984, 1991, 2003, 2004, 2006, and 2011 SSC Coach of the Year awards. He was inducted into the Rollins Athletic Hall of Fame in 1992 and into the Sunshine State Conference Hall of Fame in 2000. In 2006, Klusman was named Rollins Assistant Athletic Director for External Relations and assists the department with the Anchor Club and development efforts.
Klusman has coached six All-Americans, seven All-South selections, four conference Players of the Year, four SSC Freshmen of the Year, one SSC Defensive Player of the Year and 48 All-Sunshine State Conference players.
Klusman began his illustrious career at Rollins as a standout guard from 1972 to 1976. He averaged 10.5 points per game and handed out 352 assists in his career. He was a key player on the first two Tar squads that made the NCAA tournament in 1974 and 1976. He is a member of the Rollins 1,000 point club with 1,006 career points. After his playing career, Klusman began coaching in 1978, assisting Bobby Marr at Winter Park High School, followed by three seasons at Rollins as an assistant under Mark Freidinger. He was named head coach in 1980 at the age of 26, the youngest in school history.
In his first five years, he led Rollins to a combined record of 75-59 while instilling the program with his brand of basketball. In 1986-87, Klusman and the Tars posted a record of 21-8, the first 20-win season in school history. Also in that year, he became Rollins' winningest coach, surpassing Boyd Coffie's 94 wins.
In 1990, Klusman again led the team to new heights, posting a record of 20-8 and winning the program's first Sunshine State Conference title. The following year, the Tars again won the SSC, picked up the programs first conference tournament crown and advanced to the NCAA Division II Tournament for the first time in more than a decade.
The Tars again reached 20 wins in 1995-96 and earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament.
In 2003-04, Klusman's squad set the Tars standard for success. That unforgettable team set school records in wins with a 27-6 record, and winning percentage, at .818. That team won the Sunshine State Conference for the second straight season, earned the sixth NCAA Division II playoff berth in Rollins history and advanced to the Elite Eight for the first time in school history. These accomplishments earned Klusman SSC Coach of the Year honors for the second straight season and for the fourth time in his career.
Klusman again enjoyed one of his most successful seasons with the Tars in 2009-10. He led the Tars to a school record-tying 27 victories, both SSC regular season and tournament titles and a trip to the championship game of the NCAA Division II South Region Tournament.
During 2010-11, the Tars were once again the class of the SSC, winning the season and tournament championship and earning the No. 3 seed in the NCAA Division II South Region Tournament. Their record of 25-7 marked the third consecutive 20-win season. Klusman was named the SSC Coach of the Year during the season, for the sixth-time in his career. He also mentored possibly the best player to ever wear the Blue and Gold in guard Nick Wolf. Under Klusman's tutelage, the Cincinnati native was named All-America three times, twice the SSC Player of the Year and left Rollins as the only player to record 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds.
Under Klusman, Rollins has been known for great shooting and tough defense. Klusman's teams are constantly among the conference and national leaders in one of three shooting categories. Rollins led the nation in three-point percentage during the 1990-91 season, when they made 278-of-585 of their shots from behind the arc for a blistering 47.5 percent. During the 1995-96 campaign, Rollins became the first team in the 20-year history of the Sunshine State Conference to lead the league in all three shooting categories. In the 2002-03 season, the Blue and Gold ranked fifth in the nation in scoring defense, allowing only 59.8 points per contest. One of Klusman's all-time greatest marksmen, Daniel Parke, holds a record that stands on every level of the NCAA basketball. In Parke's four years at Rollins from '93-'97, he hit at least one three-point field goal in 93 consecutive games.
Klusman attended Finneytown High School in Cincinnati. Klusman received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Administration in 1976 and his MBA in 1978, both from Rollins.
He is married to the former Jennifer Murray of Winter Park. They have a daughter, Maggie, and twin sons, Brian and Perry.