Wrestling coach selected for induction into Hall of Fame


Hannah McGee / Legacy Media

Wrestling Coach Kenny Rucker feels his hard work has paid off after being inducted into the National Junior College Wrestling Hall of Fame.

It was the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) National Tournament for wrestling and Kenny Rucker was in the finals, on his way to victory. At the end of the second period, he suffered a separated shoulder and cracked rotator cuff . The only thing motivating him to keep going was looking up at the stands and seeing his mother cheering for him. He told his coach, “I can do this, please don’t make me quit.” He suffered for another two minutes, urging his coach not to call the match, ultimately winning his second National Title.

Wrestling coach Kenny Rucker recently found out from a former teammate that he was selected to be inducted into the National Junior College Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Rucker played baseball and basketball when he was younger and started football and wrestling his freshman year of high school. In college, he was successful in taking the North Idaho Cardinals to their first two national titles.

“It was an amazing feeling,” Rucker said. “Knowing that my winning or losing would decide whether or not we won our first team national title, as well as me becoming an Individual National Champion was a pretty intense feeling.”

He attributes his success to his mother, coaches, teammates as well as individual work.

“I became a NJCAA National Champion by training and working extremely hard with my teammates, listening to my coaches and always remaining coachable,” he said. “It took a lot of discipline and dedication to work so hard every day and not let anything steer me away from my goal of becoming a National Champion.”

As well as being a National Junior College Wrestling Hall of Famer, Rucker also aims to have a positive influence on his athletes. Sophomore Stephanie Benitez said that he treats the team like they are his children.

“He’s a really good coach,” she said. “In matches, he’s the voice I hear. When he sees potential in someone, he pushes himself to make them better.”

Junior Jonathan Solly feels that his coach deserves everything he has achieved and enjoys being coached by him.

“He’s a cool guy to be around,” he said. “He’s always laughing and smiling and works hard in everything that he does.”

Coach Rucker can now add this induction to his long list of achievements, including already being a part of the North Idaho College Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony will take place in Spokane, Washington on Feb. 28 of this year.