Legendary Coach Don Ruh Passes Away at Age 90
Coach Ruh was an iconic figure, within the Mt. SAC Community and throughout the world. An incredible selfless leader, he had the innate ability to bring together people from all walks of life.
From Mt. SAC Athletics
WALNUT, Calif. – 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 Friday morning (01/06) at his home in Yucaipa, CA, after battling congestive heart failure 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.
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 and 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.
Coach Ruh was an iconic figure, within the Mt. SAC Community and throughout the world. An incredible selfless leader, he had the innate ability to bring together people from all walks of life. His friendships circumvented the world and made him an extremely well respected and beloved figure within the cross country and track & field community. One of his greatest peacemaking accomplishments was convincing political rivals, The Peoples Republic of China and Taiwan to agree to allowing each nation to compete together at the 1980 Mt. SAC Relays.
It was Coach Ruh’s dream to build a Heritage Hall to tell the Mt. SAC Story. He not only developed the concept, he spearheaded the fundraising for the new museum and campus conference / meeting center. The project came to fruition in 2022, thanks in part to his families generous contribution, to which the conference facility is now named the Ruh Family Educational Center.
Locally, Coach Ruh served his community through his decades long volunteer work with the Kiwanis Club. He was a member of the Walnut Valley Club, before moving on to the Yucaipa Valley Club after his retirement.
In 2013, he was inducted into the Mt. SAC Athletics Hall of Fame. Coach Ruh is also a member of the California Community College Cross Country and Track Coaches (5CTCA), Mt. SAC Relays, Mt. SAC Cross Country Invitational and University of Redlands (Football Team) Hall of Fames.
Born in 1932, he recently celebrated his 90th birthday. Coach Ruh grew up in Huntington Park (CA), graduated from Huntington Park Senior High School and the University of Redlands. He taught at Boy’s Republic (Chino, CA), El Monte High School (El Monte, CA) and Dominguez High School (Compton, CA) before arriving at Mt. SAC.
Coach Ruh is survived by his wife of 61 years, Sandi, children Chrys, Marc (Lani), Erika San Miguel (Rich), Heidi Meyer (Rob) and grandchildren Campbell, Riley, Justin, Greyson, Katie and Taylor.
A celebration of his life will be held on Sunday, February 5th at 11:00am, in the Ruh Family Education Center at Heritage Hall, on the Mt. SAC Campus. Additional details of the service will be posted on the Mt. SAC Athletics website at www.mtsacathletics.com/donruh.
In lieu of flowers and in line with Coach Ruh’s lifelong commitment to the students at Mt. SAC, the Ruh family asks that donations be made in support of Heritage Hall to the Coach Don Ruh Memorial Heritage Hall Fund.
Donations may be made online at https://mtsacfoundation.org/donation-pages/kinesiology-athletics-division or by check. Donations by check, may be made payable to the Mt. SAC Foundation and sent to Mt. SAC Foundation, 1100 N Grand Ave, Walnut, CA 91789. Please note “Coach Don Ruh Memorial Fund” in the memo section of the check.
For additional information, contact the Mt. SAC Sports Information Office at (909) 274-4630.