Quarterback for the University of Alabama, NFL quarterback
for 14 seasons and part of two super bowl teams, quarterbacks coach
at Vanderbilt and quarterbacks coach for Kurt Warner and the super
bowl bound Arizona Cardinals in 2008.
That is just part of the list
of experience for the new head football coach at Valley Christian
high school, Jeff Rutledge.
“We are very excited to have Jeff on
staff at Valley Christian and leading our football program,” said
athletic director Greg Haagsma in their official release. “Coach Rut has proven experience at every level, both as a player and a coach. After meeting our players for the first time today, both Coach Rut and our students are very excited to start working together and looking forward to what next season may hold.”
The school announced on Monday that Rutledge is taking over the program. He had spent the last three years in Nashville, Tennessee coaching Pope John Paul II high school. However, his wife who is a nurse practitioner in Phoenix decided to stay in town. Being away was very difficult for them so Rutledge decided it was time to come
“I just realized really quickly that that wasn’t where I was supposed to be,” Rutledge explained. “I enjoyed my time there (in Nashville) but it just wasn’t where I was supposed to be. I was
supposed to be here with my wife. Marriage is tough enough as it is
and when you’re separated it’s that much tougher.”
Once back in Phoenix, Rutledge learned of job opening at Valley Christian. It was an ideal fit for him and the same day he was officially
announced the new coach, he took to the field with his new players
who are right in the middle of spring practices.
“The main thing I am trying to do is get to know the kids,” said Rutledge. “It’s my job to get to know them, learn what buttons I need to push to get them going. But it has been a fun first three days for me. It got announced on Monday and we were out there doing work Monday afternoon. Just being a part of a young person’s life and we are
going to work hard.”
Rutledge brings experience that is second to none not just from his coaching experience, but also because of his time playing. He had the opportunity to play for and learn from
some of the best football coaches ever.
“I have been very fortunate in my lifetime to play for some great coaches,” Rutledge mentioned.
“You can start with my high school coach who probably had more of
an impact on me than anyone. Played for coach (Bear) Bryant, played
for Bill Parcells, played for Joe Gibbs. I am very, very fortunate.”
“What I’ve loved about the high school is that I think the impact you can have on young people as a coach is huge,” added Rutledge. “That’s why I coach…and hopefully I can have a positive impact on the kids I’m coaching.”
The hire of Jeff Rutledge has seemed to of injected new life into this proud football program and the school is just counting down the days until the fall.