Sam Ruggeri was an early leader in Massachusetts wrestling and head coach at Tufts University. Ruggeri started the Tufts wrestling program in 1914 as an undergraduate and returned after World War I to coach the varsity team in 1921. This began a four decade career at Tufts as a highly successful coach. He compiled a 215-98-14 record while coaching 48 New England champions.
Sam was born in Messina, Sicily and immigrated to the United States around the age of 9. It was in high school in South Boston when he became interested in wrestling. While at Tufts studying Chemistry, he helped organize a wrestling club and set up matches with local colleges and clubs, recruiting other athletes to join him. Sam then became captain of the Tufts varsity wrestling team and helped coach the squad for three years. He was undefeated at his weight class and won three medals. Sam was also a lineman on the Tufts varsity football team for three seasons.
Sam also played a large role in promoting amateur wrestling in New England. He was recognized in 1964 by his peers in the New England College Wrestling Coaches Association as the “Dean of New England College Wrestling Coaches” because of his role in promoting college and high school wrestling in Massachusetts for nearly a half a century.
In addition to his other responsibilities, Sam continued to wrestle as both an amateur and professional. He wrestled, officiated college and professional matches and promoted professional events in and around Boston for many years.
Sam took the sport of wrestling and built it into the popular college athletic endeavor which saw 37 colleges competing in New England by the time he retired in 1964. Through his perseverance he produced many outstanding wrestlers and teams over his long and illustrious career. His contributions helped to make wrestling as successful as it is today.
This Bio was abstracted from an article written by Tom Bartosek. Thank you Tom.
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