PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — The name of Daniel Ruffin is etched all over the city of Peoria basketball records books. Whether it’s winning a state championship with Peoria High in 2003, or as a part of Bradley basketball in the mid 2000’s, Ruffin has played a key role in many of legendary chapters.
Now Ruffin will take over as head coach at his alma mater, leading the next generation of Peoria High basketball players.
“I had an opportunity to lead it as a player an d now I have an opportunity to lead it as a head coach,” Ruffin said. “I’m looking forward to next season and I know we have some great players that are in the program right now and are just itching to play.”
Daniel is replacing his father Dan Ruffin as head coach. Dan retired after last season and had some great advice for his son as he steps in to his first head coaching role.
“If you know me and you know him, you know we have two different type of demeanors,” Ruffin said. “His main pitch was, ‘Don’t try to be me, be yourself and everything will work out.'”
Daniel Ruffin will be just the third head coach at Peoria High in the last 40 years. Chuck Buescher won two state championships in his 25 years in charge, while Dan Ruffin won the 2012 state title as a part of his 15 years as head coach. Daniel dreams of making a similar impact as his predecessors.
“It’s huge, it’s big footsteps to fill. Obviously I won as a player, and now going into my first year leading this team as a head coach, I want to get one as a coach,” Ruffin added. “That’s my goal going in, year in and year out. To prepare myself and prepare my team to win state, and just trying to bring the buzz back and some excitement.”