11 NCAA Div. III national team championships
In a program with a tradition of powerful running backs, none racked up more yardage than Kacmarynski, who spun and slashed his way to 5,855 yards on 928 carries, averaging 6.3 yards per carry and 133.0 yards per game for his career. He becomes the first athlete to join a sibling in the Central Athletics Hall of Honor as his brother Rich Kacmarynski ‘92 was inducted in 2011.
Mark Kacmarynski was at his best for the Dutch in 1994, rushing for 1,971 yards on 266 carries for a remarkable 7.4 yards per carry and 179.2 yards per game. He rushed for more than 200 yards in three straight games.
Prior to his senior season in 1995, Kacmarynski was featured in a two-page profile in Sports Illustrated as a top national player of the year contender. But on the first play of the season’s third game, Kacmarynski suffered a fractured tibia and fibula, sidelining him for the year. He received a medical hardship waiver and returned to Central in 1996, gaining 1,603 yards on 288 carries over 10 games, despite some lingering effects of the injury.
Kacmarynski pushed the Dutch to conference titles and NCAA Division III playoff berths in 1994 and 1995. He was the 1994 league MVP and was a first-team honoree in 1993, 1994 and 1996. The 1993 Lankelma Award winner as Central’s top underclassman, Kacmarynski was presented the Schilder Award as the team MVP in 1994 and 1996 and served as a team co-captain in 1995.
In 1994 and 1996, Kacmarynski was a finalist for the Gagliardi Award as the Division III player of the year and was a consensus all-America pick in both years. He was named the 1995 preseason Division III player of the year by three national football publications.
The Mallard native was inducted into the Iowa High School Athletics Association Hall of Fame in 2009, having rushed for 4,881 yards and 81 touchdowns in three seasons, including 2,454 yards and 41 TDs in 1991, when he propelled West Bend-Mallard to the Class 1A title game.
Following graduation, Kacmarynski competed in three NFL training camps after signing free agent contracts. He was with the Chicago Bears’ camp in 1997, with the Philaelphia Eagles in 1999 and the Indianapolis Colts in 2000. He later signed with the New York Giants but then was not given a spot at the camp. The Eagles assigned Kacmarynski to NFL Europe and he played for the Frankfurt Galaxy, which went on to win the 1999 World Bowl, although he missed the championship game with a broken jaw. He then played with Amsterdam in 2000.
Kacmarynski is now a business partner with Kadeth Network solutions, based in Knoxville, performing computer consulting and engineering for various central Iowa firms. He lives in West Des Moines. Kacmarynski also volunteers as a mentor with Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Central Iowa as well as with the Dallas Clark Football Camp in Humboldt. He helped found the Ron Schipper Memorial Golf Outing that Central hosts each fall and serves on the event’s organizing committee.