Family, wrestling and Bernie Ruettiger

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Family, wrestling and Bernie Ruettiger

Head wrestling coach Bernie Ruettiger

Head wrestling coach Bernie Ruettiger

Head wrestling coach Bernie Ruettiger

Head wrestling coach Bernie Ruettiger

James McGrew, Sports Team

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“I’ve learned at a young age to be kind to everyone and treat others how you’d like to be treated. You can never give out too much kindness,” Bernie Ruettiger, head wrestling coach, said.

Bernard Ruettiger, a father, a teacher, a coach, a trainer, and a man of God.

He was raised by parents Daniel Oscar and Elizabeth Ruettiger in a family he shared with 13 brothers and sisters. Together Daniel Oscar and Elizabeth are grandparents to 46 and great grandparents of 24 more, including the eight children that Bernie and his wife Patti have together.

Bernie gives his parents a lot of credit for instilling the virtues in him for caring for people.

“I’m able to look back at all the things my family had and it all goes back to my mom and dad. Not only did they care for us, but they cared for other kids outside of the family, too,” Bernie said. “We were right there watching how to be good with people and how to care for kids. There are a lot of things that my mom and dad did to help other kids that has gone untold, but we all have seen it.”

Bernie was born and raised in Joliet. He attended Providence Catholic High School for all 4 years. He and all his brothers went to Providence except one — Mark who went to Joliet Catholic Academy.  

Bernie has coached for more than 30 years, the last two decades at Minooka. Here he will finish his career and continue coaching until his youngest son, Michael Ruettiger, graduates. Minooka won the state team championship in wrestling in 2010.

Ruettiger is one of the most highly respected coaches in Minooka, he is loved for his kindness towards everyone and his willingness to help those in need, and his determination to never give up on his wrestlers and students. He also contributes a lot of work and effort into the school program.  Not only was he a coach, but also he was also the dean at MCHS for a decade. Today he teaches physical education and drivers’ education.

“I love Rudy.  He is definitely my favorite coach out of all of my years in wrestling,” said Noah Boles. “He pushes us to the greatest extent because he knows we have the potential to be great inside of school and on the mat. Because of him, I’m a lot better and have been ever since I joined the wrestling team.”

Almost all of the Ruettiger children have been involved in a sport. If it wasn’t wrestling, it was something to do with it or another sport.

“We loved being active growing up,” said Michael Ruettiger, sophomore. “My dad always taught us it was better to live in the moment and live outside in nature and getting exercise. Sitting inside and watching TV or being on my phone has never been my style. It was either I was on the mat, or on the field or on the track.”

Sports have been an integral part of Ruettiger family.

“My kids have loved it all. They have spent a lot of time going with Dad to wrestling meets. It’s been our whole life,” Patti Ruettiger said. “Our oldest, Briton, was a stat girl on the team, and all the way down, they have loved it.”

Bernie credits his brothers and parents for his love of wrestling.

“To say that the sport of wrestling has been big for the family is a bit of an understatement. (Brothers) Mark, John, Mick, Tim, and I  have all spent extensive time in the sport with most achieving success at one level or another,” he said.

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