Junior-Senior High School Gym Dedicated to Manny Ruiz

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By Mila Besich-Lira 

The gym was packed for the home opener of the 2012-13 SHS basketball season on Nov. 26, 2012. The excitement was not just for the opening day against the Ray Bearcats but also for the celebration of the re-dedication of the gymnasium to long time coach and educator Manny Ruiz.

When the school district was in the old school, they had named the gym after Manny Ruiz. Ruiz had been a basketball coach for 26 years coaching one year at Eloy Junior High, 10 years at San Manuel High School and 21 years at Superior High School. Over the course of this career, his varsity teams had 333 wins and 240 losses.

While at Superior Ruiz coached the 1974 Class A State Champions. In 1985 Ruiz was the Arizona nominee for the National Coach of the Year Honors he is also a member of the Arizona Coaches Hall of Fame.

Superior Junior Senior High School Principal and Athletic Director William “Billy” Duarte explained that the rededication of the gym was to “honor a man who has been influential in the community and has touched many people throughout his career.”

He thanked Mr. Ruiz for his dedication to the community and presented him with a plaque. The interior gym walls read “Manny Ruiz Gym”.

Members of the 1974 State Championship Basketball team were present for the dedication ceremony and stood with Mr. Ruiz during the dedication ceremony. Member of the team in attendance included Gilbert Aguilar, Louie Duarte, Louie Rabago, Manuel Ramirez, Gene Florez. Other alumni members of Ruiz’s teams were also invited to attend the ceremony.

The Panthers played the Ray Bearcats. The Boys Varsity lost 82-59. Currently the Boys Varsity team is record 0-3. The Girls Varsity team lost 60-32 against the Bearcats.

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