J. Craig Ruby

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J. Craig Ruby
Craig Ruby.jpg
Ruby from The Savitar, 1922
Sport(s) Basketball
Biographical details
Born (1896-05-30)May 30, 1896
Stockport, Iowa
Died September 9, 1980(1980-09-09) (aged 84)
Johnson County, Kansas
Playing career
1917–1920 Missouri
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1920–1922 Missouri
1922–1936 Illinois
Head coaching record
Overall 181-97
Accomplishments and honors
MVC championships (1921, 1922)
Big Ten championships (1924, 1935)

James Craig Ruby (May 30, 1896 – September 9, 1980) was an American college basketball player and coach. A two-time All-American and All-Missouri Valley Conference forward at the University of Missouri, he took over the head coaching position of his alma-mater in 1920. Ruby coached the Tigers for two seasons, compiling a record of 33 wins and only 2 losses. Both of Ruby's Missouri teams were retroactively named national champions by the Premo-Porretta Power Poll.[1] Ruby was subsequently recruited by University of Illinois athletic director George Huff to take over the Fighting Illini’s men’s basketball coaching duties.

Beginning in 1922 and continuing on for the next 14 years, Ruby compiled a record of 148 wins and 95 losses. While playing in the Big Ten Conference, Ruby’s teams recorded 94 wins and 74 losses and won the conference championship 2 times. Ruby left the program in 1936 with coaching duties given to Douglas R. Mills.[2]

Ruby and legendary Kansas coach Phog Allen actively campaigned together for higher baskets to offset the advantage of tall centers. He also advocated the elimination of the dribble to do away with stalling, and wanted the hoop enlarged to 20 inches in diameter rather than the standard 18.[3] In 1930 Ruby served as the president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC).[4]

Ruby retired from coaching to pursue a career with the Kansas City based, Hallmark greeting card company at the age of 39, he died in 1980 at the age of 84.

James Craig Ruby was born May 30, 1896 in Stockport, Iowa, and died September 9, 1980 in Johnson County, Kansas. He married Dorothy Whitney on August 11, 1924 in Chicago, Illinois. Children of James Craig Ruby and Dorothy Whitney are: Joyce Ruby, born June 17, 1928, in Champaign, Illinois and Jay Whitney Ruby, also born in Champaign, Illinois

Head coaching record[edit]

Season Team Season Record Postseason
1920-21 Missouri 17-1 Conference Champions
Premo-Porretta National Champions
1921-22 Missouri 16-1 Conference Champions
Premo-Porretta National Champions
Total Missouri 33-2 0.943
Season Team Season Record Conf. Record Postseason
1922-23 Illinois 9-6 7-5 T-4th
1923-24 Illinois 11-6 8-4 T-1st
1924-25 Illinois 11-6 8-4 T-3rd
1925-26 Illinois 9-8 6-6 T-5th
1926-27 Illinois 10-7 7-5 T-4th
1927-28 Illinois 5-12 2-10 T-9th
1928-29 Illinois 10-7 6-6 T-5th
1929-30 Illinois 8-8 7-5 T-4th
1930-31 Illinois 12-5 7-5 5th
1931-32 Illinois 11-6 7-5 5th
1932-33 Illinois 11-7 6-6 T-5th
1933-34 Illinois 13-6 7-5 4th
1934-35 Illinois 15-5 9-3 T-1st
1935-36 Illinois 13-6 7-5 T-3rd
Total Illinois 148-95 94-74 0.609


  1. ^ ESPN, ed. (2009). ESPN College Basketball Encyclopedia: The Complete History of the Men's Game. New York, NY: ESPN Books. p. 535. ISBN 978-0-345-51392-2. 
  2. ^ A Century of Orange and Blue: Celebrating 100 Years of Fighting Illini Basketball By Loren Tate, Jared Gelfond ISBN 1-58261-793-7
  3. ^ FIGHTINGILLINI.COM - Men's Basketball Archived June 9, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ NABC Presidents List