South Suburban College
South Suburban College

 

Baseball Coaching Staff

#28 Steve Ruzich — Head Coach

Photo of Steve RuzichCoach Steve Ruzich was an All-American catcher at the College of St. Francis. He graduated in 1985 and was drafted that summer by the Chicago White Sox. Steve had a short stint as a pro catcher before coming to South Suburban College as head baseball coach in 1987.

Coach Ruzich heads into his 28th year as head baseball coach and has compiled a record of 978 wins and 565 losses. Included in his tenure have been four sectional titles, seven regional titles and two appearances at the JUCO World Series including a sixth place finish and eight regional runner-up finishes. In 2005, under the guidance of Coach Ruzich, the Bulldogs set a school record for most wins and winning percentage in a season going 51-11 (.823).

On May 23, 2014, Coach Ruzich will officially be inducted into the NJCAA Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in an opening ceremony for the 2014 World Series in Grand Junction, Colorado–annual home of the NJCAA Division I World Series–where Ruzich’s Bulldogs have made two past appearances. This recognition is a rare accomplishment–the NJCAA Hall of Fame began in 1982 and the Selection Committee has only chosen 89 members since that time.

2012 was another outstanding season for Coach Ruzich’s Bulldogs. The Bulldogs claimed their 9th Regional Title and posted a 35 and 24 record.

His coaching awards have included N4C Coach of the Year, Region 4 Coach of the Year (nine times), College Coach of the Year from the Pitch and Hit Club of Chicago (twice), Great Lakes District Coach of the Year and Diamond District Coach of the Year.

Steve’s student athletes’ graduation rate is 75%. Steve has coached eleven All-Americans including 2013 1st team Steve Letz and 2006 1st team Lee Fischer who was also voted best defensive player in the nation. "Coach Ru" also has had 21 players drafted by major league teams including five players that have reached the big leagues. Four are currently playing including Rob Mackowiak (Free Agent), Tim Brydak (Houston Astros), Ron Mahay (Minnesota Twins) and Tony Cigrani (Cincinnati Reds). 210 players have continued on to four-year college programs. As a player himself, Steve was named second team All-American Catcher, All-District Catcher and All-Area Catcher.

Being a youth instructor, Head Catching Instructor at Midwest Sports Complex and Academy Director at Grandslam have kept him busy. Coach Ruzich is particularly known as the Director and Coordinator of parent-child baseball camps locally, which over 1200 participants have attended. Steve also works part time for the Chicago White Sox, instructing in their fundamentals area at home games at U. S. Cellular Field.

Steve completed his master’s degree in physical education at Chicago State University.

Coach Steve Ruzich resides in Joliet, Illinois with his wife, Patti and children Timothy, Nathan and Amanda.

Chris Cunningham— Hitting & Outfield Coach

Photo of Chris CunninghamCoach Chris Cunningham enters is fourth season as an assistant coach for SSC. Chris will be the hitting coach and will work with the outfielders. A former Bulldog himself, Cunningham played for Coach Ruzich back in 2003 and 2004. Many of Chris' Bulldog baseball records including Best Batting Average For a Season (.436), Best Batting Average in a Career (.435) and Most Runs Scored in a Career (135) still stand today.

A first team All-American in 2003 and a second team All-American in 2004, Chris batted .436 as a freshman and was named the 2003 Midwest Top Hitter by Rawlings. In 2004, Chris was drafted by the Tampa Bays Rays and played five years in the minor leagues.

Shane Zegarac — Pitching Coach

Photo of Shane ZegaracShane is starting his second season as pitching coach. A former Bulldog hurler in 2007, Zegarac went on to pitch for Coach Rich Odette at St. Joseph College and was signed by the Texas Rangers in 2009. Shane played three years in the Rangers system, reaching AA.

Shane back to St. Joe's where he worked as pitching coach and helped with the daily operations for two seasons for the Pumas.

This past season, Zegarac pitched for the Windy City Thunderbolts, a professional independent minor league team located in Crestwood, IL.

 

 

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