It’s always shocking when a head coach steps down in the middle of a season.
That happened this week at Drake University as the classy and respected Ray Giacoletti resigned in his fourth year at the helm of the MVC school.
The Bulldogs (1-7) have had some tough luck and close losses this season. But with an overall record of 32-69, Giacoletti - who could often be heard saying ‘that’s on me’ - took full responsibility and stepped aside.
Enter Jeff Rutter.
He came to Drake with Giacoletti three and a half years ago, but has extensive coaching history in the region and in the MVC. Rutter coached at Northern Iowa under Greg McDermott (2003-06), and then moved with McDermott to Iowa State and stayed there when Fred Hoiberg became the coach in 2010.
Rutter began his coaching career at North Dakota State, spent a year at Stetson and was the head coach at Div. II Wisconsin-Parkside for seven years before joining McDermott at UNI.
Giacoletti told godrakebulldogs.com that Rutter is a man with great connections in the Midwest.
“Jeff brings an extensive background and experience to Drake, especially since we want to make the Midwest and especially Iowa a priority,” Giacoletti said. “I’ve known Jeff since his time at North Dakota State and we’re really fortunate and lucky to bring somebody of his character and Iowa roots with his experience and Iowa State and Northern Iowa into our program at Drake.”
Long time Bulldog play-by-play man Larry Cotlar says fans shouldn’t expect a vast change in philosophy from Rutter.
“Jeff probably won’t change a lot about the current systems,” said Cotlar. “But he has been around and knows the ropes, knows the people and has done a lot of the recruiting. His experience as a head coach will be a plus.”
Cotlar says Rutter is a players’ coach and relates well to the current squad.
McDermott told The Des Moines Register that Rutter is one of the most organized coaches he has met.
“His organizational skills are off the charts,” said McDermott. “He’s extremely knowledgeable, has a great sense of humor, and I think he’s a guy that the players will respond to.”
Guard C.J. Rivers told godrakebulldogs.com , that Rutter is definitely a players coach and expects better days ahead.
“We have the tools to do it,” said Rivers. “I think you’ll see a different confidence and a different swagger in us. That’s one of the things that can help us going forward.”
Rutter’s first game as a head coach comes Saturday when the Bulldogs host Jackson State.