Mike Ruechel is in his third season overall at Buffalo and was named head coach of the UB softball program on May 2, 2018.
"We're happy with the progress of the softball program under Mike's leadership and we believe that this is the best decision to continue that upward trend," said Director of Athletics Mark Alnutt. "I have a tremendous amount of confidence in Mike and his staff and the direction that the program is going."
UB improved in several offensive categories once again in 2019 as the Bulls offense has notched 34 home runs, up from 29 in 2018, smacked 59 doubles, up from 48 a season ago and has shown discipline at the plate, drawing 158 walks on the year. Under Ruechel's tutelage, the Bulls have also raised the team on base percentage to .351.
Under Ruechel's watchful eye, sophomore outfielder Anna Aguon continued to excel as she was named first team All-MAC after leading the Bulls in batting average (.382), doubles (13) and hits (52), runs scored (25), slugging percentage (.603) and on base percentage (.444). Jenelle Martinez joined Aguon on the All-MAC first team after another solid season in which she finished with a .317 batting average to go along with four home runs, a team-best 20 RBI and 20 runs scored. Ruechel was also instrumental in the development of freshman Alexis Matheney who became the fifth straight Bull to be named to the All-Freshman team after compiling a .248 batting average to go with a team best seven home runs, eight doubles, a team-best 20 RBI and 25 runs scored.
Ruechel spent the 2018 season as the Bulls top assistant coach and hitting coach as UB was able to improve in almost every category offensively as a team. Ruechel helped the UB offense nearly triple their home run output from the 2017 season as the powerful Bulls lineup notched 29 home runs while also raising the team batting average from .236 in 2017 to .263 last season. Under Ruechel’s watchful eye, the Bulls scored nearly 50 more runs this season while also raising the team slugging percentage to .405 and the team on base percentage to .348.
With Ruechel’s help last season, freshman outfielder Anna Aguon was able to produce a huge season at the dish for the Bulls and earned First Team All-MAC honors for her efforts. The Vancouver, WA native posted a .359 batting average to go along with a team-best seven home runs, 36 runs scored and 35 RBI while leading the squad with a .633 slugging percentage and a .451 on base percentage. Ruechel also helped Jenelle Martinez have a career year at the dish as she posted a team-best .364 batting average to go along with six homers, a team-high 37 RBI and 19 runs scored while earning Second Team All-MAC honors.
Prior to Buffalo, Ruechel spent two seasons at Indiana Wesleyan University as assistant coach and hitting coach for the program. He helped the Wildcats earn their first national tournament berth in school history while also posting a program record for wins. Over his two seasons, the Wildcats posted 120 home runs and 184 doubles after only recording five home runs and 99 doubles in the previous two seasons before his arrival.
Ruechel has also spent time as the hitting coach for the Lake Erie Crushers, Southeastern Illinois College and Judson University.
Prior to working in the collegiate ranks, Ruechel spent 22 seasons working in the Oconto School District in his home state of Wisconsin. As the head coach of the varsity softball program, he revamped a failing program that won just four games prior to his arrival and helped them win a Regional Championship within two seasons. He led the squad to two regional championship games and a sectional final while compiling a 63-27 record across four seasons.
Ruechel and his wife, Debbie, have two children, Natalie and Evan.