By DOUG DONNELLY
TECUMSEH – Mike Ruhl didn’t have to look far for his next basketball challenge.
Ruhl, 41, has been hired as the new boys varsity basketball coach at Tecumseh. He stepped down recently as the boys varsity coach at Clinton, a position he held for 17 years.
“I was looking for a new challenge and this one is definitely intriguing to me,” said Ruhl, a four-time Lenawee County boys basketball Coach of the Year winner.
Ruhl put together a 226-149 record at Clinton.
“I have nothing but great things to say about Clinton Community Schools,” he said. “This was a basketball decision. I am still going to continue to teach at Clinton High School. I’ve had some great players come through Clinton and play for me. I can’t say enough good things about them and all the hard work and dedication they put forth over the years.”
A Dexter native, Ruhl played college basketball at Hillsdale College, receiving the Captain’s Award from the team in 1996. In his first year teaching at Clinton he was a middle school girls basketball coach and the freshman boys coach. Two years later he was hired as the boys varsity coach. His Clinton teams won the Lenawee County Athletic Association in 2005 and three Tri-County Conference championships. His team’s also won three District titles.
At Clinton he helped build the program into a steady contender in part by launching the Clinton Youth Basketball League as a feeder-program for his middle school and high school program.
“It took five years for us to make that first run and become sustainable as a program,” Ruhl said of his time at Clinton.
Of his 17 teams at Clinton, 12 were winning seasons. He also coached the Clinton girls varsity team one year.
“Anytime you’ve been one place for a long time and have had success, you start to wonder if you can have that same success elsewhere,” Ruhl said. “I want to see if it can be done in another setting. I see a lot of potential with Tecumseh.
“I knew I wanted to keep coaching and I knew I wanted to build a program. I feel this is the right challenge.”
Ruhl teaches Biology, Forensic Science, Principles of Biomedical Science and Human Body Systems at Clinton. He and his wife Lori have two children, Brynn, 10, and Michael, 8.
In the mid-1970s, the late 1980s and early 1990s, Tecumseh was a basketball powerhouse. The Indians have fallen on more difficult times recently, going through a series of coaches and losing seasons over the past decade. Jamie Mossburg went 5-15 last year as head coach at Tecumseh. Ruhl said he is committed to building the Indian program from the ground up and is confident he will have the opportunity and support to do so at Tecumseh.
He moves from the TCC, where he is one of the 10 winningest coaches in league history, to the rugged Southeastern Conference White Division that includes Adrian and Ruhl’s own high school, Dexter.
“You have to take a lot of baby steps to become competitive in a tough conference like the SEC,” he said. “We are going to lay the ground work and build for the future. Eventually, you want to be at a point where you step onto the basketball floor and expect to win.”
MIKE RUHL AT CLINTON