Jeffrey George Ruland (born December 16, 1958) is a retired American basketball player and current coach. He is the former head coach of the Iona Gaels men's basketball team and the UDC Firebirds men's college basketball team.

Jeff Ruland
Personal information
Born (1958-12-16) December 16, 1958 (age 60)
Bay Shore, New York
Listed height6 ft 11 in (2.11 m)
Listed weight240 lb (109 kg)
Career information
High schoolSachem
(Lake Ronkonkoma, New York)
CollegeIona (1977–1980)
NBA draft1980 / Round: 2 / Pick: 25th overall
Selected by the Golden State Warriors
Playing career1980–1993
Number43, 50
Career history
As player:
1980–1981FC Barcelona
19811986Washington Bullets
1986–1987, 1992Philadelphia 76ers
1992–1993Detroit Pistons
As coach:
1993–1994Philadelphia 76ers (assistant)
1995–1998Iona (assistant)
2007–2008Albuquerque Thunderbirds
2008–2009Philadelphia 76ers (assistant)
2009–2013University of the District of Columbia
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA statistics
Points5,763 (17.4 ppg)
Rebounds3,378 (10.2 rpg)
Assists1,002 (3.0 apg)
Stats at

Early life and collegiate careerEdit

A 6-foot-11-inch (2.11 m), 280 lb center, Ruland went from Sachem High School in Suffolk County, New York, to Iona College on a basketball scholarship and played for coach Jim Valvano before Valvano left for North Carolina State University. Ruland was the big gun on the Gaels' 1979–1980 team that beat eventual national champion Louisville, 77–60, at Madison Square Garden during the regular season and compiled a 29–5 record en route to a number 19 national ranking, the best in the school's history. However, Jeff was found in violation of NCAA rules by hiring an agent, Paul Corvino,[1] at International Management Inc. and was ruled ineligible to play his senior year at Iona.[2]

Professional careerEdit

Ruland was selected by the Golden State Warriors in the 1980 NBA draft with the 25th overall pick. During the 1980–81 NBA season he instead opted to play professionally in Barcelona, Spain for a year before returning to the U.S. Prior to his rookie campaign, his draft rights were traded by the Warriors to the Washington Bullets, with whom he played for five seasons before being traded to the Philadelphia 76ers. He retired after five games with them in 1987 after a nagging knee injury.

Washington Bullets playing career 1981–1986Edit

Joining the Bullets for the 1981–82 NBA season, Ruland played behind 32-year-old Spencer Haywood but had greater per-game averages than him during the same number of minutes.[3] Seeing time at both forward and center, Ruland showed muscle at both ends of the floor and an accurate jumpshot good from as far as 20 feet. A 56% shooter from the floor, Ruland wregistered as having the 10th-best field goal percentage in the league.[4] The Bullets made the second round of the playoffs before losing to the Boston Celtics. Ruland's playoff averages were 17 points and 9.4 rebounds per game off the bench.[5]

Ruland took over the starting power forward spot for the 1982–83 NBA season, and continued to back up at center for Washington. His 55% shooting and 11 rebounds per game ranked him, respectively, 10th and 8th place league-wide.[6] Leading coach Gene Shue's balanced team in scoring as well, Ruland earned a spot in the NBA All-Star Game that year. With the same record as the year before, the Bullets did not make the playoffs this time.[7]

In the 1983–84 season, Ruland surged to 22 points and four assists per game. He was third in the NBA in rebounds and fifth in shooting from the floor. The team returned to the playoffs and again lost to Boston. Ruland averaged 24 points, 13 rebounds, 8 assists, 52% from the floor and 81% from the foul line against the eventual NBA champions.[8]

For the 1984–85 NBA season, Ruland was moved to center for the Bullets. His stats dipped slightly. He remained among the rebounding and shooting leaders, but suffered a broken bone in his foot and played just 37 games. Ruland played through the pain in the playoffs, but the Bullets lost to the Philadelphia 76ers to end a disappointing season.[9]

The brittle feet, though, like Bill Walton before him, were now a condition. He played 30 games during the 1985–86 NBA season, usually in considerable pain. In the playoffs, the Bullets opted to start towering Manute Bol at center. Ruland added 14 points and five assists per game off the bench. But the Bullets fell to Philadelphia again.

Later careerEdit

Traded to Philadelphia for Moses Malone the following season, Ruland played in five games before getting injured and subsequently retiring.

Five years later Ruland made a comeback with the Sixers, playing in 13 games during the 1991–92 NBA season before sustaining an Achilles injury involving a luggage cart which was allegedly slammed into his leg by a Boston Celtics employee outside Boston Garden.[10] He managed to play an additional 11 games with the Detroit Pistons the following season before retiring for good in January 1993.

Coaching careerEdit

After his playing days, Ruland became an assistant coach under the Sixers' Fred Carter during the 1993–94 NBA season. He then returned to coach at his alma mater.[11] He was fired from Iona on March 21, 2007, after a 2–28 record for the 2006–2007 season. Yet during his tenure as head coach, he guided the Gaels to three 20-win seasons, three MAAC Championships and three NCAA Tournament appearances. Recruiting and injuries were blamed for the team's abysmal record during his final season. A factor for the 2–28 season was that the administration fired Ruland's assistant coaches. Ruland could not recruit for that season. Ruland's termination as head coach came from Iona College president James Liguori while he was on a cruise.[12]

On July 16, 2007, Ruland was hired to replace Michael Cooper as the head coach of the NBA D-League's Albuquerque Thunderbirds.[13] After coaching the Thunderbirds for the 2007–08 season, Ruland was hired as an assistant coach for the Philadelphia 76ers on August 23, 2008.[14] New 76ers head Coach Eddie Jordan decided not to retain Ruland for the 2009–10 season.

On August 18, 2009, Ruland announced that he would be the new men's basketball head coach at the University of the District of Columbia. After a late September hiring and a first season with only one win, his third year saw a 22-win season.[15] He was fired in 2013.[16]

In 2015, Ruland was hired as an advance scout for the Washington Wizards.[17] Despite his record, he has never coached another NCAA team.

Head coaching recordEdit

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Iona College (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) (1998–2007)
1998–99 Iona 16-14 12-6
1999–00 Iona 20-11 13-5
2000–01 Iona 22-11 12-6
2001–02 Iona 13-17 8-8
2002–03 Iona 17-12 11-7
2003–04 Iona 11-18 8-10
2004–05 Iona 15-16 9-9
2005–06 Iona 23-8 13-5
2006–07 Iona 2-28 1-17
Iona College: 144-135(.516)
University of the District of Columbia (East Coast Conference) (2009–2013)
2009–10 University of the District of Columbia 1-20
2010–11 University of the District of Columbia 11-15
2011–12 University of the District of Columbia 22-6
2012–13 University of the District of Columbia 6-20
University of the District of Columbia: 40-61 (.396)
Total: 184-196 (.484)

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion


  1. ^ Waicukauski, Ronald J. (March 16, 1982). "Law & Amateur Sports". Indiana University Press. Retrieved March 16, 2019 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ "Jeff Ruland was bitter just over a year ago..." UPI. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  3. ^ "1981-82 Washington Bullets Roster and Stats". Retrieved April 20, 2019.
  4. ^ "1981-82 NBA Leaders". Retrieved April 20, 2019.
  5. ^ "Jeff Ruland 1981-82 Game Log". Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  6. ^ "1982-83 NBA Leaders". Retrieved April 20, 2019.
  7. ^ "Jeff Ruland 1982-83 Game Log". StatMuse. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  8. ^ "1983-84 Washington Bullets Player Stats - Regular Season". Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  9. ^ ""The Sixers Six": The Most Unfortunate Injuries in Sixers History". August 15, 2017. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  10. ^ Banks, Kerry (2005). The Unofficial Guide to Basketball's Nastiest and Most Unusual Records. Greystone Books. Excerpt quoted at, articled entitled Vinsanity, Helicopter, Tree blaze NBA record book.
  11. ^
  12. ^ Robbins, Lenn (March 22, 2007). "1 MORE LOSS FOR RULAND: HIS JOB". Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  13. ^ "Ex-Iona coach Ruland lands with D-League team". July 17, 2007. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  14. ^ Jasner, Phil. "Jeff Ruland hired as Sixers' assistant". Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  15. ^ Ruland takes college coaching job at UDC August 18, 2009
  16. ^ Jeff Ruland Will Not Return as Firebirds Head Men's Basketball Coach Archived April 24, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ "Jeff Ruland hired by Wizards as scout". Retrieved March 16, 2019.

External linksEdit