The South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame is dedicated to the preservation, documentation and display of South Dakota's sports history.

Ken Ruml - Inducted 2021

Wrestling has been Ken Ruml’s life for over 50 years. He graduated from Letcher High School in 1967 and Dakota Wesleyan University in 1971. He competed in football, wrestling, and track & field all four years and was a three-sport letter winner all four years.

Ruml coached wrestling at Howard High School from 1976-2011. His teams won the State “B” wrestling championship in 1996, 1997, 2000, and the dual team championship in 2001. His 35-year dual record was 436 wins and 37 losses. He coached the Tigers to a 51 dual win streak in the 1990’s. During his career, Ruml coached 18 state champions, 26 runners-up, 17 3rd place finishers, 17 4th place finishers, 15 5th place finishers, 18 6th place finishers, 17 7th place finishers and 12 8th place finishers and 129 state qualifiers in his 35 years of coaching. His teams had 12 undefeated seasons and the Tigers won 17 district and 13 regional titles.

Ruml had the opportunity to coach Team USA in a junior international wrestling tournament in Belgium in 996. The USA team won 10 gold, 10 silver, and 8 bronze medals. He coached Team South Dakota at the Disney Duals in 2000 where the team placed 3rd out of 68 teams.

Ruml was a four-time region wrestling coach of the year, seven-time district wrestling coach of the year, and was the South Dakota High School Coaches Association Wrestling Coach of the Year five times. He was National Wrestling Coach of the Year in 2000 and was inducted into the SDHSCA Hall of Fame in 2002.

Ruml wrestled in the National AAU wrestling masters’ tournaments on three occasions and placed first, third, and fifth.

Since retiring from high school coaching, Ruml attended the USA National Coaches Education Program where he completed all four levels for wrestling coaching at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO. He was one of only 40 Gold Level coaches in the United States as of 2017.

One of the craziest things Ruml di was to wrestle a 750-pound brown bear at the South Dakota State Fair in 1980 for a winning prize of $2,500. The declawed and muzzled bear pinned him in the second round.

The highlight of Ruml’s career was attending the 2012 Olympics in London with Team USA. That year Jordan Burroughs and Jake Varner were gold medalists. Ruml’s motto is “If you ever wrestled in your life, you can do anything in your life you want to.”

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