About The Coach

Illinois Rockers Basketball

Through the Illinois Rockers Basketball Program Mark Russo has been fully committed to training, mentoring and developing Youth, High School, College and Professional athletes since 1997. Personally conducting over 4,600 practices and training sessions, during this same period Mark Russo has also coached in over 1800 games with his Youth and High School Illinois Rocker Travel Teams. Further, Mark Russo dedicated four (4) years to coaching at the College level assisting 1999 Northwestern University Men's Basketball Team Captain, recent University of Minnesota Men's Basketball Assistant Coach and current American Athletic Conference Commissioner of Men’s Basketball Nate Pomeday in starting-up the Calumet College Crimson Wave Men's NAIA Basketball Program.

In addition to his work with the Illinois Rockers Mark Russo has enjoyed the role of Outside Trainer and Consultant for numerous boys and girls basketball teams in the area including the Illinois Crusaders, Illinois Elite, Team United and Team Excel along with many different coaching assignments with various Conant, Hersey, Prospect, Fremd, Barrington, Rolling Meadows and Lake Park Girls Feeder Programs. Mark Russo has also acted as the Lead Trainer at several Illinois Blue Chips and Hoops Prospect Basketball Camps and has had the privilege of working alongside some of the State's top High School and College Coaches at many College Exposure Showcases.


I have known Mark Russo for over 30 years. In my athletic experience at both the amateur and professional level, I don't believe I have encountered a Coach/Teacher with the level of passion and knowledge for a sport that Mark Russo possesses in basketball.

Dave Otto

Major League Baseball Pitcher (1987 - 1994) Year 2000 University of Missouri Sports Hall of Fame Inductee Basketball & Baseball All State Performer at Elk Grove High School WGN and Comcast Baseball Analyst

Without question Mark Russo is the most committed Coach I have ever come across in the Youth and High School Athletic Community. His desire to see each of his Players reach their maximum potential is on display 4 - 5 times per week at Team Practices and Training Sessions. I applaud Coach Russo for the steadfast way he communicates to Players and Parents alike what they need to hear instead of what they want to hear; A rare quality this day and age.

John Erickson

Rocker Parent

Mark Russo has an uncanny ability to break-down and simplify very complex physical movements and make them understandable to Athletes of all skill levels. And although he has a remarkable understanding of the mechanics of Athletic Movement Rocker Players are anything but mechanical. In fact Rocker Players move with a rhythm, fluidity and strength that stands out in every gym they play in. While this takes time to accomplish, Coach Russo has the patience, persistence and communication skills needed to help any committed Player become a top-tier competitor.

Paul Johnson

Rocker Parent

When I observe Coach Russo and the Illinois Rocker's approach to Player and Team development I am inclined to recall the words of 1980 Miracle on Ice Olympic Hockey Team Coach Herb Brooks when he said, "Competition without preparation leads to zero development". If you want your son or daughter to learn the importance of preparation, and how to go about it in the game of basketball, I strongly suggest you pursue the Illinois Rockers.

James Thomas

Rocker Parent

While growing up our son played several different sports but loved basketball the most. Unfortunately it was the sport in which he had the least amount of success. After being cut by different School or Feeder Teams and experiencing very little court-time on those that he did play he was quite down believing he had no basketball future. Fortunately, about the time he was considering giving the game up a friend of ours urged us to contact Mark Russo. Upon doing so we we're invited out to a Rockers Workout. Needless to say it was an eye-opener for me and my son and a whole new Basketball World opened up to us. After the session Coach Russo took time to discuss what it would take to build on my son's strengths and improve in the areas where he needed the most attention. He did not sugar-coat what was needed to be done and the amount of work that would be required to become a High School Varsity Starter (My Son's ultimate goal) for perhaps the strongest Program year-in and year-out in the area. Well, fast forward three (3) years and our son Quinn is a starting All-Conference and All Area Guard for a Fremnd High School Team that lost only two (2) games his Senior Season and was ranked #1 in the Daily Herald Season ending Poll. And while our son chose not to pursue the many College Basketball opportunities that came his way he had a High School Basketball experience that he and our entire family will never forget. Thank You Coach Russo and Thank You Illinois Rockers!

Wayne Williams

Rocker Parent

Coach Russo's unique approach towards building Players and Teams from the ground-up is really something to experience. His uncommon approach has helped reiterate to my son that the accomplishment of a goal requires hard work, commitment and consistent correct focus.

Jim Peterson

Rocker Parent

Mark Russo is an execellent coach and teacher. Without a doubt he gave our son Luke the fundamentals and knowledge of the game that helped him secure a Divission 1 Basketball Scholarship.

Chuck Fabrizius

Rocker Parent

Coach Russo will help you correct every detail of your game in order to make you a fundamentally complete player.

Brian Desimone

Two-time MSL East Player of the Year
Daily Herald All Area Team Captain

By working with Coach Russo I have developed the necessary skills to perform at the highest level. He has the abilty to improve every part of your game.

Jeff Heiden

Daily Herald All Conference and All Area
Record Setting 3 Point Shooter

Coach Russo's unique teaching style combines mechanics with game strategy in a way that drives success with players. Mark's practices are cutting edge and his ability to focus on every player's strength while eliminating weaknesses is truly amazing.

Anthony Czyz

Rocker Parent

Coach Russo can be contacted via email address mrusso55@hotmail.com or directly at