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Coach Craig Ruecker says goodbye to Tigard, the community, fans, parents, staff and players.

TIMES PHOTO: DAN BROOD - Coach Craig RueckerDear Tigard Community and the Tigard Football Family:

Beverly and I would like to say a huge "thank you" to you for so warmly accepting us and supporting us for our 10 years at Tigard High School.

While the many successes on the field have been great, the greatest feeling for us has been one of a community united; in support of our team and all that surrounds it.

Friday nights at Tigard High in the fall are magical! With 4,000 to 7,000 fans supporting our team, our band, our dance team, and our cheer squad, it is a great example of what a wonderful community looks like. Many times over the past several years, opposing coaches would comment to me about what a fine team we had and how impressed they were with our community support. We have been truly blessed.

Not only have the fans of Tigard football come out to support us, our local businesses have been a welcomed partner in supporting all that we do to run the program. There have been 10 to 15 businesses that donate directly to needs we have and then there were 52 local businesses in our media guide all supporting Tigard football. Thank you so much.

While in my mind I would like to continue to coach forever, one must be realistic. I have always expected more of myself than our coaches or players. Four years ago I had lung cancer (even though I never smoked a day in my life) and spent 27 days at St. Vincent having the upper lobe of my right lung removed and recovering. While I am still cancer free, living without two lungs has had its wear and tear. I also have been a Type 1 diabetic for 50 years and my eyesight is starting to go. While I am still OK to do routine things, it is hard to see close up like typing, reading or watching film, all necessary parts of my job.

Some might be saying: Why share all of this? It is simply to be honest and share the reason for my retirement. I have always been able to give my best; our wonderful players, parents and community that I care so much about deserve one's best effort. I am concerned that I may not be able to give what is the necessary effort that you all deserve.

It must be understood that one does not coach football by one's self. I have been blessed to work with a great staff of assistant coaches who care about the whole child as we support our students in the classroom and in their activities outside the classroom.

One thing we in Tigard football have been most proud of is our Tradition of Excellence; the idea of the consistency of having great teams. Our players, coaches and you our community, have come to expect that. I believe Tigard football is set in motion for a number of years to come as we have developed a program. Next year's team returns a great number of skilled athletes from this year who will be joined by a junior varsity team that went 7-2. The Frosh team had a winning record and the eighth-grade team lost only once.

Tigard is a very special community and it has been my privilege to serve as your head football coach. I wish everyone great success in the future.

Thank You, Tigard!

Sincerely,

Craig Ruecker

Editor's note:

Craig Ruecker has been a head football coach in the state of Oregon the past 42 years, including the last 10 seasons at Tigard High School. He has a career coaching record of 308-155 (92-30 at Tigard), which puts him in the No. 4 spot in the state's all-time victories list.

Ruecker had previous coaching stints at Reynolds, Glencoe and Redmond, with his Glencoe teams claiming state championships in 1986 and 1994. He guided Tigard to the 2014 Class 6A state championship game.

This past season, Ruecker's Tigard team went 10-2 and reached the quarterfinal round of the Class 6A state playoffs.


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