Westmont brings Ruiz aboard to guide baseball program

Westmont Athletic Director Dave Odell has announced the hiring of Robert Ruiz to serve as head coach of Westmont baseball. Ruiz, who has served as an assistant coach and associate head coach at Azusa Pacific the past five years, is excited about the opportunity to lead the Warrior program.

“Westmont College is proven as a premier NAIA academic and athletic institution and it is an honor to join such a tradition,” said Ruiz.

Ruiz helped lead Azusa Pacific to some of its most successful years in program history. As hitting coach, Ruiz equipped the Cougars to post their best three-year totals in batting average (.344), hits (2,132), doubles (422), home runs (304), total bases (3,516), runs (1,653), RBIs (1,490) and slugging percentage (.567). Among Ruiz’ other duties at Azusa Pacific were infield coach, third base coach and recruiting coordinator.

During Ruiz’ coaching tenure at Azusa Pacific, the Cougars posted three seasons with 36 or more wins. In the 22 seasons prior to 2007, the Cougars had recorded only one season in which they won more than 35 games. In the last five years, Ruiz recruited and coached seven players that have been selected in the Major League Baseball draft.

“Couch Ruiz is a strong Christian leader with a track record of winning”, said Odell, “and he is someone who understands how to recruit and coach within the rigorous academic curriculum at Westmont. I was pleased with a quality pool of talented coaches interested in leading our program. In the end, I wholeheartedly agreed with our hiring committee’s unequivocal and unanimous advice to hire Coach Ruiz.”

Ruiz’ philosophy of coaching has been largely shaped by his study of organizational leadership in which he holds a master’s degree from Azusa Pacific.

“Competitive athletics offer the experience of adversity, challenge, work ethic, and selflessness. Standing on a foundation of positive values and the right character attributes allows for success in this environment. The bi-product of integrity and value driven athletes is the ability to win, or being prepared to win in all of the challenges or obstacles presented. I am passionate about leading a group of young men and preparing them to win while at the same time encouraging them to become great people who are building their relationship with God and impacting their community in a positive way,” said Ruiz.

In addition to his coaching role on the diamond, Ruiz has served as an adjunct professor at Azusa Pacific, teaching courses in foundations of leadership, servant leadership, heath education and weight training.

A four-year student-athlete at Pitzer College where he earned a degree in organizational studies, Ruiz understands the rigors of life as a collegiate athlete and the opportunities which a coach has to positively influence the lives of those who play for him.

I believe that an institution of higher education that allows for faith integration provides students the opportunity for peak academic achievement as well as spiritual maturity. My passions and personal value structure fall in line directly with the mission of the institution. I am energized at the opportunity to lead a group of student-athletes toward academic, athletic and spiritual growth,” said Ruiz.

With Ruiz at second base for Pomona-Pitzer, the Sagehens won two conference championships. He was twice named to the All-SCIAC and All-West Region teams.

A strong suit for the new Warrior coach is his experience in evaluating baseball talent. Ruiz has served as a talent evaluator and instructor at the Stanford Baseball Camp, Team One Showcase and the Under Armor National Tryout, Tournament and Camp. He has also served as a baseball camp instructor at Harvard and Azusa Pacific and is scheduled to work at a USC camp this summer.

Ruiz will officially begin serving in his duties as head coach on June 22 after returning from his honeymoon. Ruiz and fiancée JulieAnn Crocker are to be wed a week from tomorrow.

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