Wells College has hired Tara Ruckh as head coach of the women’s basketball team. Ruckh brings 11 years of head coaching experience to the job after leading the women’s basketball program at SUNY Potsdam since 2005.
“It is with great pleasure that we introduce Tara Ruckh as the new head coach of the women’s basketball program at Wells College,” Director of Athletics Mike Lindberg said. “Coach Ruckh’s experience as a coach and teacher will enable the team to continue building upon a foundation of success and provide our student-athletes the opportunity to compete at the highest level. Work ethic, knowledge for the game and individual attention to academic and athletic development are just a few of the outstanding qualities Coach Ruckh brings to our program. “
Ruckh replaces former head coach Mike O’Brien, who is head coach of the women’s basketball team and assistant athletic director at the College of Saint Elizabeth. O’Brien led the Express for six years and was charged with re-launching the program at the varsity level that was dormant since the conclusion of the 1979-80 season. O’Brien led Wells to four-straight postseason appearances in his last four years.
During her 11-year tenure at Potsdam, Ruckh coached the program’s all-time leading scorer and led the team to its highest single-season win total with 17 victories in the 2008-09 season. Potsdam also advanced to the SUNY Athletic Conference championship game that year. The Bears competed in the ECAC Tournament in both 2008 and 2009.
Her coaching duties encompassed recruiting, academic monitoring and fundraising.
Ruckh’s contributions to the athletics department and in college basketball included roles as a lecturer in the physical education department, a staff advisor for the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, and the Athletic Leadership Committee. She served the NCAA Women’s Basketball National Committee as East Region Chair from 2011-15. Prior to her role as Region Chair, Ruckh was a member of the regional rankings committee.
Ruckh was an assistant coach at Ithaca College from 2000-05, and the team compiled a 109-30 record and made five consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament. She also assisted in coaching the women’s lacrosse and women’s track & field teams at Ithaca.
Ruckh earned her bachelor’s degree in physical education from SUNY Cortland, where she was a four-year player for the women’s basketball team and two-year captain. She helped the Red Dragons to the school’s first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance as a senior. Following her playing career, Ruckh was an assistant coach at Cortland and earned her master’s degree in physical education.