Tim DeRuyter didn’t look like he was enjoying Mountain West Media Days – “enjoy” probably isn’t the correct term for the carousel of more than a dozen interviews each coach does – but the new Fresno State coach certainly was in his element.
He answered every question with enthusiasm, coming off as if he had been preparing for this day for years, just as he prepared for every other step of being a new coach.
DeRuyter has been getting ready for this moment for a while. For example, a few years ago he started writing down a list of coaching friends who he thought would fit well on his first staff, if he ever got his chance. And a lot of DeRuyter’s ideas and ideals as a head coach were influenced by his time at Air Force, first as a player and cadet, and later as an assistant coach for the Falcons.
He wants to run a spread, uptempo offense, which won’t remind anyone of Fisher DeBerry’s offense, but DeRuyter said he took plenty of lessons from playing under DeBerry and being on his staff.
“The thing from Fisher DeBerry was his integrity, and energy,” DeRuyter said. “He has as much energy as any coach I’ve been around and he brought that to the practice field every day. As a player you’d laugh at him watching him roll on the grass and do things, but he kept it fresh for the players.”
He also mentioned current Air Force coach Troy Calhoun as an influence. DeRuyter was on his staff for Calhoun’s first three years as head coach of the Falcons.
“You talk about a guy that’s extremely cerebral and above reproach integrity wise,” DeRuyter said. “You see a guy who does things the right way every day, and you hope to approach that.”
And simply being an Air Force alum, DeRuyter learned leadership lessons he can take to his first head coaching job. He seems prepared to recruit a certain type of player that will fit well with his vision of the program.
“You see at the Air Force where maybe that guy is a little bigger and faster, but his integrity is not right there – going out and being able to beat those guys with players whose integrity meter is off the charts but their measurables aren’t, it gives you a little more faith as a football coach,” DeRuyter said. “If you ask guys on our staff, their first question better be ‘What kind of character is this guy?’ If he’s not the right character, he’s not going to be a part of our program.”