Carmen and Rusty Rugg were introduced as the Prairie View Lady Spartans' new softball coaches Tuesday morning.
Prairie View covered a lot of bases Tuesday morning by hiring the husband/wife team of Rusty and Carmen Rugg.
Carmen Rugg was introduced as the Lady Spartans' new head softball coach, while Rusty will assist with softball and baseball. Rusty will assume his duties as assistant baseball coach effectively immediately. (MAIS schools play softball in the fall).
In Rusty Rugg, the Spartans landed a Louisiana high school legend.
A 1989 graduate of Downsville High School, he set the national high school record by throwing 19 no-hitters — a record which still stands. Drafted in the second round by the Milwaukee Brewers, Rugg spent five years in the minors before his career was derailed by arm injuries.
Carmen and Rusty Rugg coached at Union Christian Academy for five years where Rusty also coached girls and boys basketball and baseball at various times. The Ruggs have also coached the Lady Thunder 12-and-under travel ball team for several years. Since leaving UCA two years ago, the couple has focused on coaching the travel team.
Rusty Rugg was originally approached about joining the Spartans' baseball team as an assistant to Mason Caldwell. Former Prairie View standout Josh Morrison, now the head coach at Ouachita, recommended Rusty for the vacancy.
“Josh gave my my name to somebody, but he didn't have my number,” Rusty Rugg said. “Later on, Jason Crockett found me on Facebook and asked if I would be interested in helping with the baseball team. Then the softball opening came up a couple of days later and we came to an agreement.
“We never quit coaching because we were involved with travel ball. We said all along that we would get back into high school coaching if the right situation came up. I think it's going to work out for everybody.”
The Ruggs, who reside in Downsville, were hired by the school strictly as coaches.
When Carmen Rugg, a registered nurse, began teaching pitching lessons on the side, the couple had no idea how deeply they were about to get involved in the sport.
“I gave pitching lessons; that's how it originally started,” said Carmen, a who played for Fort Necessity High School. “That's how we ended up at UCA, then eventually travel ball.”
“I went to UCA to help Carmen with softball,” Rusty added. “It's a little faster paced than baseball and I found out that I enjoyed it. And, I'm still enjoying it.”