Bernie Ruettiger

Providence Catholic/Minooka

Bernie Rueittiger was born in Joliet in 1961.   He was the 13th out out 14 children born to Dan and Betty Ruettiger.  Bernie began his wrestling career in 1973 for the Joliet Boys Club under the direction of hall of fame coach Larry Stonitch.  He continued his wrestling career at Providence Catholic, where he wrestled for his brother, Tim, another Hall of Fame coach.

While wrestling at Providence Catholic, Bernie became the first state champion for Providence in any sport in 1977 and he also placed fourth for the Celtics.  He was also a member or the 1977 3rd Place Team and the State Championship team in 1978.  He had a career record of 123-19-1.  Bernie was Captain of the wrestling team his junior and senior year.  He also played football and was named honorable mention All-Conference.  In addition, Bernie played baseball while at Providence.

Following his career at Providence, Bernie attended Eastern Illinois University. While there, he was a three year letter winner.  Two of those years he was under the direction of Hall of Fame coach Ron Clinton and one year under another Hall of Fame member, Ralph McCausland.  He had a career record at EIU of 75-32-1 and was captain his senior year.

After graduating from EIU, Bernie began his coaching career as head coach at Clifton Central High School.  From 1986-1988, he had four state qualifiers and one state finalist and had a dual meet record of 38-22.  He was instrumental in presenting a proposal to the Clifton school board to start an IESA wrestling program at Nash Junior High School.  He then moved on to Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School.  During his ten years at Bradley, from 1989-1999, his teams won six conference championships.  Bernie has fourteen state qualifiers, five state place winners and coached Bradley-Bourbonnais’s first state champion. While at Bradley, Bernie had a dual meet record or 150-69 and he was named SICA South Coach of the Year in 1998.

In 2000 Bernie assumed the head coaching position at Minooka Community High School.  During his tenure at Minooka he has produced thirty-seven state qualifiers, eight state place-winners, and two state champions.  His teams have won six conference titles, four regional titles and three sectional championships.  Minooka has qualified for the elite eight three times.  He serves as the President of the Minooka Little Indian IKWF Wrestling Club and has also served as a board member with the Minooka Little League Baseball.

Bernie was inducted into the Rudy’s Gym Hall of Fame as well as the Providence Catholic Hall of Fame.  He has also received a Masters Degree in Physical Education from Chicago State University and a Masters of Administration from Governor’s State University.

Currently, Bernie is a dean of students at Minooka Community High School and remains the head wrestling coach.  He resides in Jolie with his wife of 21 years, Patti, and their eight children.