Ruffin resigns from Northern Nash boys' basketball post

By Jessie H. Nunery

Sports Editor

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Northern Nash’s Rick Ruffin is open to the possibilities that lie ahead.

After more than 20 years as a head boys’ varsity basketball coach, Ruffin resigned recently from his position with the Knights.

Northern Nash completed a fifth-place finish in the Big East Conference this season, adding to a string of lean seasons for the Knights.

“I’ve been contemplating it the last year or two, and I decided it was time,” Ruffin said. “I’m going to try and move in a new direction.”

Ruffin is a veteran of area athletics and education.

He is a physical education teacher who began his varsity head coaching career in 1992 at Southern Nash, where he remained until taking the same position at Northern Nash in 2002.

During his time at Northern Nash, Ruffin was able to coach his son, Ben, and watch his daughter, Kristin, graduate from the school and play athletics.

Ruffin currently is coaching boys’ golf, and while he has given up his basketball duties, he is uncertain if he will retire from the school system or try something new.

He is sure that he would like to continue to play golf on the weekends, take care of yardwork and spend more time with his wife, Mary, who tweeted her excitement about the announcement Wednesday evening.

“It’ll be different,” Ruffin said. “I’m used to keeping long hours. My wife will be glad to get her husband back.”

Northern Nash athletics director Patricia Haggerty said the school does not have a deadline set for hiring a new coach.

The position was posted on the Nash/Rocky Mount Schools job board this week, and a committee is being assembled to assist in the coaching search.

“Coach Ruffin is a very well-liked individual,” Haggerty said. “He brought a lot of good qualities to the program. He loved the kids and poured his heart into the job.”

Basketball was just one part of his job, and Ruffin said the relationships with former players and students will be some of his better memories.

“I really enjoy working with kids,” Ruffin said. “I don’t think I would be in this business if I didn’t enjoy that. Hopefully, I’ve been a good role model for them.”

Jessie H. Nunery can be reached at 407-9959 or