By Luke Holthouse
New Head Coach Scot Ruggles, last year’s offensive coordinator who implemented the hurry-up style into the Wolverines’ playbook, has taken over the football program. Ruggles’ promotion fills the void left by former Head Coach Vic Eumont following his retirement in December.
“I’m extremely excited and honored,” Ruggles said. “I can’t wait to get going.”
Ruggles only coached the team for a single season before his promotion. He coached at Harvard University and Marshall University as an assistant before coming to Harvard-Westlake at the start of the 2011 season.
Under the hurry-up style, offenses quickly organize themselves after each play without a huddle to try to catch opposing defenses off guard and to give them less time to rest between plays.
Under Ruggles, the offense averaged 32 points per game, an 11 point improvement from the 21 points per game that the 2010 Wolverine offense averaged. Head of Athletics Audrius Barzdukas was impressed that Ruggles could successfully implement a complex offense in just one season.
“I think the best part was that he got our students to buy into a system,” Barzdukas said. “You could see the power of belief. Our kids believed in the system, and the system was successful. The statistics and the results bear that out.”
Even though the team improved, finishing 5-5 overall after going 2-7-1 in 2010, the team continued to struggle in the Mission League.
The team missed the playoffs for the second straight year after going 1-4 in league. The Wolverines’ victory over Cathedral on Oct. 28 was their first win in the Mission League since the team joined it before the 2010 season.
To help make the team more competitive in league, Ruggles said he will try to bring the same fast pace and intensity to the defense and special teams as he did to the offense.
Like the offense, Ruggles will try to implement a defense that favors the Wolverines’ speed and balances out their lack of size.
“Obviously, with the tempo of the offense, we want to be able to have the same tempo on defense and special teams,” Ruggles said. “We’ll be a hurry-up offense, we’ll be a multi-front defense, and we’ll be exciting on special teams.”
Ruggles has also made an effort to recruit athletes from other sports at Harvard-Westlake to join his team in the fall.