Head Coach, Fresno State Bulldogs
Showing throughout his career as an assistant to be a coach that makes immediate impacts on programs, Tim DeRuyter proved it once again this time in his first stint as head coach when he became the winningest first-year coach in Fresno State history.
DeRuyter, who was hired as the 17th head coach at Fresno State on Dec. 14, 2011, guided the Bulldogs to a 9-4 record, the Mountain West championship and a berth in the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl on Christmas Eve.
On the day he was hired, DeRuyter promised to bring the Red Wave - Fresno State's loyal fan base - a conference championship. He delivered on that promise by leading the Bulldogs to a 7-1 mark in their first season of Mountain West play to capture the school's first conference championship since 1999, ending a 13-year drought.
His nine wins are the most by any first-year head coach at Fresno State and he becomes the second Bulldog to guide a team to a bowl game in his first season.
The improvements under DeRuyter and his staff are significant, but the sharpest improvement came in the one category that matters most - winning games. Fresno State finished the 2011 season 4-9 overall, but improved to 9-4 in the first year under DeRuyter. The five-game improvement from last year to this season marked the sixth-best turnaround in the nation.
With a background rooted on the defensive side of the ball - he was a defensive coordinator for 16 years before coming to Fresno State - DeRuyter changed the philosophy of how the 'Dogs played on both sides of the ball.
Offensively, the Bulldogs went to an up-tempo spread offense in 2012 and finished in the top 20 nationally in scoring, passing and total offense.
Defensively, Fresno State's most momentous change came in the turnover department. Fresno State had ranked 111th or worse in turnovers gained in the six previous seasons before DeRuyter's arrival and tied for dead last in the nation in 2011 with only nine take-aways. In one season in DeRuyter's 3-4 defense, now run by defensive coordinator Nick Toth, Fresno State had 35 take-aways in the regular season to rank fifth nationally.
The Bulldogs became the first team since the turn of the century to have under 10 take-aways one season but over 30 the next. Additionally, the difference in turnovers from last year to this year - an improvement of 26 turnovers gained - is the largest by any FBS team this century.
DeRuyter came to Fresno State with 22 years of coaching experience. He took over the Bulldog program after serving the previous two seasons as the assistant head coach/defensive coordinator at Texas A&M. There, he also served as the interim head coach for the Aggies in the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas against Northwestern on Dec. 31, 2011, leading A&M to a 33-22 victory.
DeRuyter hails from a pair of Hall of Fame coaches, as he was mentored by Fisher DeBerry at Air Force and by Chris Ault at Nevada. DeRuyter was a 2010 nominee for the Broyles Award that honors the nation's top assistant coach, when he was working under former Green Bay Packers coach Mike Sherman.
In DeRuyter's two seasons with Texas A&M, he did what he has consistently accomplished throughout his career - developed defensive units that are among the best in the nation.
DeRuyter made an immediate impact during his first season in Aggieland as the 2010 squad improved fifty spots in the national rankings for total defense, rising to No. 55 in the country as the resurrected Wrecking Crew helped lead A&M to the Cotton Bowl.
Highlighting a long list of players who excelled under DeRuyter's scheme was Von Miller, who in addition to earning All-American honors was awarded the 2010 Butkus Award given annually to the nation's most outstanding linebacker. Miller went on to become the second overall pick of the Denver Broncos in the 2011 NFL draft.
In 2011, Texas A&M led the nation with 51 sacks and the Aggies were second in the Big 12 by only allowing 106.0 rushing yards per game.
Before coaching the Aggie defense, DeRuyter spent three years as the defensive coordinator and safeties coach at his alma mater, Air Force. He also held the title of associate coach in 2008 and 2009.
This will be DeRuyter 13th bowl game of his coaching career, including one in each of the past seven seasons, and as an outside linebacker at Air Force in the early `80s, he led the Falcons to three-straight bowl victories.
A native of Long Beach, Calif., DeRuyter was born on Jan. 3, 1963 and graduated from St. John Bosco High School (Bellflower, Calif.) in 1981. He holds a bachelor's degree in management from Air Force (1985) and a MBA in market strategy from Regis University (1992).
Upon his graduation from the Air Force Academy, he served seven-and-a-half years of active duty in the Air Force.
DeRuyter and his wife, Kara, have a son, Jake, a sophomore at the Air Force Academy, and a daughter, Christina, who is a senior in high school.