Training business pulls Ruffin from River Hill boys track job

Coach grabs `opportunity,' but will still be volunteer


January 22, 2004|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

Alonzo Ruffin, who has spent the past two years building River Hill's track and field program, announced yesterday that he will step down as the boys outdoor coach this spring.

Ruffin, who told Hawks athletic director Don Van Deusen of his decision yesterday, will serve as a volunteer assistant coach. Ruffin said he made the decision in order to devote more time to his athletic training company.

"There are some kids that are probably going to be sad about it," said Ruffin, who, as an athletic trainer, has had about 1,500 clients, including Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis and Orioles pitcher Rick Bauer. "But I look at this as an opportunity. As coaches, we're supposed to do all we can, but sometimes you have to move on."

Ruffin, who founded the company, Accelerate Your Game, in New Orleans and opened an office out of his home in Columbia in March 2000, said spring is usually the busiest time of the year for his firm. In fact, his work with Bauer may lead him to travel with the Orioles' right-handed pitcher to the team's spring-training facility in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Sherah Ewusiak, a middle-distance running coach for Accelerate Your Game and the girls track coach at River Hill, will continue in that capacity for the school. A replacement for Ruffin has not been named, although Brett Cutler, an assistant with the boys team, is a likely candidate.

Ruffin said he won't be a stranger around the Hawks.

"I'm going to be part of the team," said Ruffin, who will remain as a co-coach with Ewusiak for River Hill's indoor track and field program. "This is just a temporary vacation."

Landis keeps it up

Records continue to fall when Chapelgate's Heather Landis steps onto the basketball court.

The senior point guard, who owns the school record for career points (1,442) and assists (536), set another mark when she scored 39 points in the Yellow Jackets' 67-64 loss to St. John's at Prospect Hall on Monday.

Landis - who connected on 11 of 26 shots, including 5-for-12 from three-point range, and sank 12 of 15 free throws - eclipsed the previous single-game record of 36 points set by Laura Starsoneck against Towson Catholic in 1999.

Chapelgate coach Jim Barber marveled at his All-County guard's performance, which also included seven rebounds, six assists and five steals.

"She was in a zone," Barber said. "Some of her threes were beyond NBA range. She was closer to the half-court line than the three-point line on some of them."

Landis was slightly less enthusiastic about her game, saying, "It was all right."

"I missed a ton of threes, and my free throws were kind of weak, but somehow they managed to go in," said Landis, who got a brief pep talk from her father during halftime.

"He said basically that I was playing terrible and that I needed to pick it up and that I could score 40 on this team. He was right."

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