Jewett passes torch to Rutledge for Pitt State track and field

PITTSBURG, Kan. – Russ Jewett is calling at career as a head coach at Pittsburg State.

Jewett made the announcement on Friday, after leading the Gorilla men to an MIAA outdoor conference championship and a 4th-place finish at nationals.

“I wanted to leave coaching when I was still effective,” Jewett says of his retirement, “I think I’ve been pretty effective still recently. I just feel like it’s time to turn things over to others that are going to continue this tradition, and maybe even take it to new heights.”

Kyle Rutledge has been named Jewett’s successor.

Rutledge has been an assistant coach for the Gorillas for the last nine years, including being Associate Head Coach for the last four.

He has learned a thing or two in those nine seasons under Jewett, who has earned MIAA Coach of the Year honors 46 times between men’s and women’s track and field and cross country.

“That’s a long list,” Rutledge says of things he’s learned from Jewett, “Definitely how he leads a program, how he treats people and definitely just how he has passion. It’s undeniable how much he cares about the student-athletes and their well-being, and just the passion he has for this university and the community.”

“His competitive intensity is at the top of the list, but it’s not the most important thing,” Jewett says of Rutledge, “He has the welfare of the student-athlete in mind when he approaches his coaching philosophy. He’s very much a team-builder, and that’s very important to us and our program.”

Rutledge knows he has big shoes to fill – after Jewett led the Gorillas to 50 conference championships and 2 national titles.

“Our number one expectations is to honor our tradition year in and year out,” Rutledge says, “We have great people around it. We just want to make sure we’re doing things the right way. Winning is always at the top of the list, but we want to make sure we’re teaching these athletes how to become better people, and to honor our tradition and Pittsburg State the right way.”

“In the moment, you want to win championships and develop character, and then you want to leave something for the folks that come after you,” Jewett says, “He has bought into that completely and made that stronger here, and that’s near and dear to my heart.”

But Rutledge says this is a dream job for him – and he’s here to continue that tradition for a long time.

“When I arrived here nine years ago, it was a phenomenal opportunity. I just fell in love with the school and the community. So yeah, it became a dream,” Rutledge finishes on the feeling of becoming head coach, “It was relief that me and my family feel at home here. We love it here. We love the community and being close to home. It was more of a sigh of relief that we’re going to be here for the long haul.”

In addition to promoting Rutledge to head coach on Monday, Pitt State also promoted assistant coach Brian Mantooth to associate head coach and part-time assistant Ben Barrows to full-time assistant coach.

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