Athletics News

Don Ruh, Legendary Mt.SAC Coach, 1932-2023, Rest in Peace

Don Ruh, Legendary Mt.SAC Coach, 1932-2023, Rest in Peace

Don Ruh died on January 6, 2023. He was just past his 90th birthday. We published a Coffee With Larry program about Don, and we are finishing up a piece with great quotes from some of his friends over the years. Don Ruh was a coach and educator, but, an educator first. His legacy is building the Mt.SAC Relays and Cross Country into sports institutions, but also Don developed a legacy program from funds of LA 1984 to educate young people in the sport of track & field. It is estimated that over 500,000 young kids went through that program.

This writer was in awe of Mr. Ruh. I can only remember him smiling. Joe Mangan, coach at Foothill College with this writer and coach at San Mateo CC, noted that he had recently seen Don, in November 2022, at the Community College Cross Country Championships. 

Please keep Don Ruh, his lovely family, and his friends, in your thoughts and prayers. 

(Walnut, CA) It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of legendary coach, Don Ruh.   Surrounded by his family, Coach Ruh passed away peacefully early this morning (01/06) at his home in Yucaipa (CA), after battling congestive heart failure for the past 18 months.

Coach Ruh began his nearly six-decade-long relationship with Mt. San Antonio College (Mt. SAC) in 1963.  He was hired as a professor and second-ever track & field/cross country head coach by Mt. SAC Relays/Mt. SAC Cross Country Invitational Founder Hilmer Lodge.

Mt.SAC Track & Field Coaching staff, photo by Mt.SAC TF

Coach Ruh impacted millions of people through his tireless work as a professor, coach, and leader.  Under his guidance, the Mt. SAC Relays, Mt. SAC Cross Country Invitational, and LA84 Foundation Track & Field Grants grew to become the world’s largest events of their kind.  These events promoted the Mt. SAC name/brand throughout the world.  His work “set the bar” of excellence that future generations continue to aspire to.

Although officially retired in 1994, Coach Ruh continued his work and support for the college.  He continued as the Director of the LA84 Foundation Grant Program (LA84 Foundation/Mt. SAC Relays Youth Days Track & Field Meet and Clinic Programs), Director of the Mt. SAC Cross Country Invitational Elementary/Middle School Divisions and Director of the Mt. SAC Relays Munchkin Run.

Dan Shrum, Don Ruh, and Mr. Eagle, photo by Mt.SAC

Coach Ruh was an iconic figure, within the Mt. SAC Community and throughout the world.  An incredible…

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