Sweet 16 Champs: All in the (Ruthsatz) Family

Coach Scott Ruthsatz never had a plan to be the Head Coach at Covington Catholic High School, but when the opportunity came for him to be closer to family in Ohio, he seized it.

Developing his passion for basketball under Coach Bob Hurley, Sr. at former New Jersey powerhouse St. Anthony High School in Jersey City. After winning a National High School Championship in 2011 as an assistant, Scott Ruthsatz was looking for a way home. He perused openings in the Kentucky/Ohio area and saw the opening. He began making phone calls — first to Chris Mack, to ask his advice. His question? Could Covington Catholic become a St. Anthony? Coach Mack deferred to Joe Fredrick — whose sons were both CovCath grads. His answer? Absolutely yes. Scott Ruthsatz threw his name into the hat and quickly became the top choice of Covington Catholic High School.

From going 17-14 his first season as a Colonel in 2012, to having an amazing 27-7 record in 2013, to winning the school’s first ever Sweet 16 in 2014, Coach Ruthsatz has officially made Covington Catholic a staple of the KHSAA Boy’s Sweet 16 Tournament. He takes minimal credit for their success:

“You know, I give all the credit to the kids. There’s a culture already in place there, and you’re trying to change it, put your thumbprint on it, but the kids are the ones that changed things around in a single year. That was them — total credit to the kids for buying into a system.”

Coach Ruthsatz is a family man. A father of 7 and a husband to a lovely wife — who he brags is always “mom first” — says it is an unbelievable experience to coach both Nick and now Aiden to State Championships. 

“Outside of just being a Dad, but being on the sidelines, going through the state tournament as it’s structured in Kentucky, crowning one champion, and having an extension of me on the court, it’s an unbelievable joy,” said Ruthsatz.

I asked him about the trials of coaching your own children, “I had a few, but you know, Nick played his freshman year under Coach Hurley, so he got to experience that whatever it takes mentality, understanding roles, and knowing how hard you have to work to

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“Winning was one of my most fulfilling and rewarding moments, especially because it’s family.” – Nick Ruthsatz Photo Courtesy of Nick Ruthsatz

succeed. I have to say that Nick set the tone for the rest. Aiden was in the stands as an 8th grader when Nick was a Senior — so he got to see first-hand the role he had to play”

Few Dads get to experience what Coach Ruthsatz has experienced with any of their children. Scott has experienced it twice — Nick was a senior in 2014 and now Aiden, a senior this season, who contributed heavily to CovCath’s Sweet 16 Victory. I asked Ruthsatz if he had hopes for a repeat with the next in line, Nolan, a 5th grader, who left the Sweet 16 victory for a tournament at the KBA in Lexington.

“You know, I hope to continue this success for many years, and I’d love to have it with Nolan, but that’s up to him. If basketball is what he wants to play, then great. I like for my kids to do what makes them happy.”

With four sons, two as state champions, and a younger one leaving a major moment to compete in a game of his own — it’s pretty clear that the name Ruthsatz might be one we basketball fans hear for years to come.

Aiden Ruthsatz is currently a Senior at CovCath and has committed and signed to Christian Brothers in Memphis, Tennessee. Coach Ruthsatz says he thinks that’s a great fit for Aiden, there are a lot of Cincinnati/Northern KY kids on the roster, and the coach runs a similar system.

Nick Ruthsatz graduates from Findlay College this May and is already having some business and basketball success of his own — he has started a fundamental basketball program called Heart Over Height Hoops, where he provides individual skill development to youth basketballers, and with about 150-200 clients, Coach Ruthsatz says he’s teaching fundamentals to the kids, something he feels is missing from the game today.

I know one thing: Both Aiden and Nick have been a joy to watch. The art of being a true Point Guard seems all but lost — until you see these two play. I look forward to what Coach Ruthsatz does with the program from here forward. Next up: Nolan.

Kayla VanHoose
Bluegrass Basketball
@BluegrassBball on Twitter

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