Bob Rutz is no stranger to the RDC coaching ranks, although he finds himself in a new role as he takes over as the hockey Queens bench boss for the 2013-14 season.
Rutz spent the 2005-07 seasons with the RDC Kings volleyball team, under head coach Keith Hansen during the Kings run to eight straight national titles, between 2000-07.
“I know it’s a different sport, but a learned a lot about coaching in general by working with Keith,” said Rutz. “And I’m excited about working with him again.”
Hansen, the RDC director of athletics, believes Rutz is a nice addition to the college coaching ranks.
“He’s coached at a lot of levels and played with championship teams. He’s a very good coach as I saw first-hand with the volleyball team. I know he’s a good fit for our program.”
Rutz is the only off-campus coach among the elite programs.
“We weren’t 100 per cent sure how our budget would be this year so we felt it was best to go off-campus and having Bob available is a nice fit,” said Hansen.
Rutz, who was born in Drumheller played junior A hockey with the Calgary Canucks, winning the 1989-90 Alberta Junior Hockey League title. He later played with the Mount Royal College Cougars, who won the ACAC crown in 1992-93, and then was with the Canadian champion University of Lethbridge Pronghorns under head coach Mike Babcock in the 1993-94 season.
Rutz came to the Canucks as a forward, but later converted to the blueline.
He has over 15 years of coaching experience, beginning at the junior B level in Drumheller. He later served as an assistant coach with the Bonnyville Pontiacs of the AJHL and was an assistant coach with former Queens head coach Trevor Keeper with the midget AAA Chiefs.
He also coached at the minor midget AAA level and with the Red Deer Rebels Black bantam AAA team. Last season he worked with the Allan Cup champion Bentley Generals under head coach Brandin Cote.
“I have a lot of experience and my year with Bentley certainly added to that,” said Rutz. “I feel confident in my abilities and feel it’s important to establish a strong relationship with the players to get the most out of them.”
Rutz coached women’s minor lacrosse, but knows the Queens is a new experience.
“Still I know the women compete at a high athletic level and I’m looking forward to working with them.”
Rutz gives Keeper, who took over as head coach of the hockey Kings, a lot of credit for building a strong Queens program.
“He took a team from three wins to second place in the league in two seasons,” Rutz said. “He put together a strong program and we have a very good nucleus of players returning and a good recruiting class.
“I know Trevor’s coaching philosophies and I feel I have a similar philosophy, which I believe is one of the reasons I got the job.”
Rutz, who just found out about the job last week, plans on meeting with Queens captain Rachael Hoppins and the assistant coaches as soon as possible.
“That’s one of my first priorities,” he said. “I certainly want to touch base with them and as many players as I can.”
He’ll also connect with the recruits and put together a coaching staff.
“Most of the work was done for me by Trevor, but now it’s time to connect with people and finding assistant coaches, which will be a challenge as I want a strong group.
“I’ve been told about some former players and overall I want to find people with experience at a high level,” added Rutz.
“I’d like to get all my ducks in a row before the summer,so I can some time with my family before the season begins.”
• The volleyball Kings filled out their roster with the addition of eight first-year players to go with seven returnees from last year’s national silver medalist squad.
Kings head coach Aaron Schulha has five starters back, including power hitters Tim Finnigan and Chris Jones, middle blocker Chris Osborn, setter Sam Brisbane and right side Braden O’Toole.
Middle Jonah Gilham and left side Anthony Finnigan are also returning.
Of the eight new faces, four — libero Parker Maris of Edson, six-foot-four power hitter Mike Goertz of Edmonton, setter Keaton Reid of Sherwood Park and outside hitter Clark Spencer of Edmonton — all played with the provincial U18 champion NAVC Gold Bears.
Goertz also played with the provincial 4A high school champion Harry Ainlay Titans while Reid played with Bev Facey and Spencer with Jasper Place.
Also committed is six-foot-six middle blocker Eric Hart of Calgary, who was a red shirt with the University of Calgary Dinos last year, and left side Kashtin De Souza from Vancouver. Outside hitter JJ Saly of Calgary William Aberhart and middle Justin Lukacs of Calgary Bishop Carroll round out the recruits.