Zach Ruebesam Named Director of Player Development
BOULDER – Zach Ruebesam has been named Director of Player Development for the University of Colorado men's basketball team, head coach Tad Boyle announced on Monday.
Ruebesam, a Colorado native and CU Boulder graduate, replaces Nate Tomlinson who left this summer for an assistant coach position at George Mason.
"It's really a dream come true," Ruebesam said. "I'm a Buff, I bleed black & gold, and I love Colorado basketball more than anything, so it's a huge honor for coach Boyle to hire me on his staff full time. I'd like to thank coach Boyle, (AD) Rick George and Chancellor (Phil) DiStefano for the opportunity to come back to the Colorado basketball family."
Ruebesam was a student manager for the Buffaloes from 2012-16, serving as the head student manager for the last three of those seasons. During that span, Colorado advanced to the NCAA Tournament three times (2013, '14 & '16), winning at least 20 games in each of those seasons.
He earned his bachelor's degree in Business Management with a minor in Leadership Studies from CU in 2016 and received his master's degree in Sports Coaching from Denver in 2018.
Ruebesam was an assistant coach for Team Colorado, the Buffaloes alumni squad in the The Basketball Tournament, in 2019 and was slated to be the head coach for 2021 before the team backed out due to COVID-19 issues.
"I'm really a jack of all trades," Ruebesam said. "My number one thing is I'm going to serve the student-athletes and the coaching staff to make sure everything is running as efficiently as it can be. I care so much about this program and want to see coach Boyle and this program continue to have success. I'll go above and beyond to make sure everything is how it needs to be done up to his standards."
Ruebesam spent the last two seasons as an assistant men's basketball coach on Dan Ficke's staff at Belmont Abbey, an NCAA Division II school in Belmont, N.C., helping lead the Crusaders to a 39-15 record and two NCAA Tournament berths.
Last season Belmont Abbey was 18-5 overall and finished second in the in the Carolinas Conference with a record of 13-4. The Crusaders won the Carolinas Conference Tournament and claimed the NCAA Southeast Region's No. 1 seed, advancing to the semifinal round.
Ruebesam served as the team's recruiting coordinator in 2020-21 and primarily worked with the guards. In his first season, he worked with the bigs while serving as the head coach of the program's development team.
In 2019-20, Belmont Abbey was 21-10 overall and runner up in the Carolinas Conference. The Crusaders were set to be the No. 8 seed in the Southeast Region before the tournament was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Zach brings a lot to the table," Boyle said. "He's one of the best managers we've ever had at Colorado since I've been here; and we've had a lot of good ones. He's got a good feel for not only how our program works, but he's going to be a big asset to our players in the sense that he can relate back to some of the players that were here when he was a manager, what they were like as teammates and why they were successful.
"There's not going to be any job that he's not willing or able to do. Zach brings a wealth of knowledge, great work ethic and a passion for Colorado basketball that is quite frankly unmatched."
Prior to Belmont Abbey, Ruebesam spent three years on staff at the University of Denver under former CU assistant coach Rodney Billups. Ruebesam was the Director of Player Development at DU for the 2018-19 season. He assumed the role of director of operations leading into the 2019-20 season, but when Ficke, who at the time was a DU assistant, took the job at Belmont Abbey, Ruebesam went with him as an assistant coach. He was a graduate manager for the Pioneers his first two seasons while completing his master's degree.
Ruebesam served as the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Stay in to Win Coordinator for the DU men's basketball program. Stay In to Win is a drop out prevention program that partners college programs with local high schools to encourage, educate and help students who are at the risk of dropping out to make good decisions, stay in school, and graduate.
"One thing I really respect about Zach is he of started at ground zero and he's learned a lot about the business from the ground up," Boyle said. "Obviously learned a lot being a manager for four years in Colorado and then he's learned a lot of Denver and a lot at Belmont Abbey. The number one thing you look for in a person in this position, you look for a guy with work ethic and loyalty. And I think, much like Nate Tomlinson, Zach bleeds, black and gold. He's a Buff through and through and, and he's going to be a great addition to our staff."