PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — Daniel Ruffin has waited a while to get here.
His first season as a head basketball coach was delayed by COVID but now that it’s finally started, he thinks it was worth the wait.
“It’s fun to have the opportunity to have a program under your wing,” Ruffin said. “You dictate how things should go and how you want it to be. You’re forming your mold.”
The mold of this team looks a lot like the mold of Ruffin’s teams as a player. He won state titles with smart, athletic, defensive-minded Peoria High School teams.
And he wants to coach them too.
“I see a lot of guys that are short, quick and athletic, like the teams I played on here at Peoria High. I know it worked for my teams and it can still work today,” said the former point guard.
This is Ruffin’s team. His ideas, his schemes, his game plans.
But the new coach says his stealing a lot from Peoria High’s last coach. Who was his father Dan.
“I’ve got big shoes to fill. My father did a great job with the program,” Ruffin said of his father who retired last spring. “He let me know what to work on, what to look for in a film session. Having him in the background is a great resource.”
Ruffin, who went on to star at Bradley after his high school career ended, raises his voice and stomps on the sidelines a little. But not like his dad.
“Coach Dan is more laid back, his father was more rowdy,” Lions junior Nathan Moore said. “They’re both great coaches but you can tell the differences and similarities.
It’s been in his family blood forever. Now Daniel Ruffin gets his shot to put his coaching imprint on Peoria High School basketball.