BEREA, Ohio – After 37 years at Baldwin Wallace University, Director of Athletic Communications and Public Relations Kevin Ruple has announced that he will be retiring, effective June 30. Jeff Miller '96, who has served as Sports and Media Information Director for the past four years, will take over as Director of Athletic Communications on July 1.
"I want to thank the many administrators, coaches, colleagues, media members and students that I have had the opportunity to work with during my 37 years at BW," said Ruple. "I do want to take the time to single out one very important person to me, and that is George Richard. I met George as a student at The College of Wooster. He taught me the phrase 'work with me and not for me.' He was a mentor for four-plus years at Wooster and for 34 more years at BW. Best boss. Best person. Ever!"
"This has really been a labor of love for me, it really has," stated Ruple. "The days, and oh boy, some of the nights were very long, but so rewarding. All I can really say is that if I have made a difference for the good in a few lives during my time at BW, then it was all well worth the effort. So, thank you. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of the history, journey and mostly you. It was fun!"
Ruple was named the sports information director at BW on March 1, 1983. He was promoted to Director of Athletic Communications and Public Relations in October of 2016 and has served in the capacity ever since.
"Kevin Ruple has had a long and successful career at Baldwin Wallace and we are grateful for his service," said Senior Vice President Dick Fletcher. "He highlighted the successes of our teams, student-athletes and coaches and helped further advance the mission of the University. Of special note has been his role as a mentor to countless students who have gone on to successful careers in Sports Information around the country. We all wish Kevin continued success and express thanks for sharing his many talents with the BW community."
During his time at the University, Ruple has promoted thousands of student-athletes and has been a key advocate of the student-athlete philosophy. He is a primary reason why BW has had 122 College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-Americans, which ranks 11th amongst all Division III schools and is first in the state of Ohio of all Division III institutions.
Also, Ruple has mentored countless assistants, interns and student-assistants over his career - many of which currently or have worked in athletic communications, media relations or sports information in all levels of collegiate athletics and professional sports.
"Kevin is the reason I am in this profession and where I am at today," said Miller. "I have known Kevin for over 28 years, including working together for the past 10, and the thing that makes him the happiest is seeing one of his 'kids' go on from BW and become successful in life and work. To this day, he still mentors all of us when we need him. On behalf of myself and all other former assistants, interns and students, thank you Kevin."
"The students and interns and as I call them surrogate interns have meant a great deal to me," added Ruple. "Men like Jeff and many others before and after him who helped us to promote BW, the OAC, Division III athletics, CoSIDA, the Sports Media Association of Cleveland and Ohio (SMACO) and the Cleveland Touchdown Club Charities, the East-West All-Star Game or whatever the event might be. We all worked and learned together. We worked as a team and as a family. I will miss that the most."
For his efforts, Ruple has been recognized by his colleagues and is just one of a handful of small college sports information directors in College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) history to receive the organization's three national awards. He was presented the Warren Berg Award in 2004, inducted into the CoSIDA Hall of Fame in 2008 and was awarded the Lester Jordan Award in 2011.
For anyone that knows Ruple, all of his professional achievements are secondary. His biggest accomplishment is his son, Danny, who is an outstanding student and was also a four-year letterwinner on the BW men's soccer team. Danny was four-time All-OAC selection, four-time United Soccer Coaches Association All-Region selection, two-time OAC Forward of the Year award recipient, the OAC Freshman of the Year award winner, the 2019 CoSIDA Men's Soccer Academic All-American of the Year, a four-time Academic All-Ohio Collegiate Soccer Association (OCSA) selection, three-time Academic All-OAC selection, three-time first-team CoSIDA Academic All-American, three-time CoSIDA Academic All-District 7 first-team selection, two-time United Soccer Coaches Scholar All-America selection, Dean's List student, Jacket Scholar and a member of the Chi Alpha Sigma Honor Society.
"It was a joy having the opportunity to work at BW and watch Danny play soccer for a class act like Reid Ayers," said Ruple. "He got a quality education, played soccer at a high level in an outstanding conference and made some lifelong friends."
Outside of his duties at BW, Ruple has been an active member of CoSIDA. He was a member of the CoSIDA Board of Directors as a College Division representative from 1994-98. Ruple was also a member of the Academic All-America committee from 1997-2017 and served as the national chair for the football and at-large programs.
In addition, he served as the national coordinator for the Football Gazette Division III All-American committee for 13 years. Ruple was the President of the Ohio Athletic Conference Public Relations Task Force and on both the Sports Media Association of Cleveland and Ohio (SMACO) and the Cleveland Touchdown Club Charities, Inc. Board of Directors.
A native of Ashtabula, Ruple earned a Bachelor of Arts in speech communications and public relations from The College of Wooster. He was a member of the baseball team for four years.