University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
Pitt-Johnstown Seal

Head Coach Bob Rukavina

ATH04_COA_004_rukavina_bob

Email Coach Rukavina: rukavina@pitt.edu

     Before Bob Rukavina took over the men’s basketball program in 1989, the Mountain Cats had only four winning seasons from 1969 to 1987.  In 23 years, Rukavina, the 2006 National Independent Coach of the Year, has turned the Mountain Cats into one of the top Division II programs in the country.  Pitt-Johnstown has made four NCAA Division II Tournament appearances and has posted seven 20-win seasons, including four in a row from 2005-06 through 2008-09.
     In 2007-08, Pitt-Johnstown became members of the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC).  That year, Rukavina guided Pitt-Johnstown to a 23-8 overall record and the WVIAC regular season title with a 17-3 conference record.  Rukavina, the 2007-08 WVIAC Coach of the Year, also led the Mountain Cats to their third NCAA Tournament appearance.  In 2008-09, Pitt-Johnstown won the WVIAC Tournament title and advanced to its second straight NCAA Tournament.
     Along with on-court coaching success, Rukavina is also the East Region representative for the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) national poll, a duty he began during the 2004-05 season.
     Rukavina, who earned his 300th win at Pitt-Johnstown with an 83-67 win at Salem International (W.Va.) University on Feb. 21, 2008, wrapped-up his 23
rd season with a career record of 377-256.  He currently ranks 31st in Division II among active coaches in career wins (377) and 65th among active coaches in winning percentage (.596).
     In 1998-99, Pitt-Johnstown finished the regular season ranked fifth in the country.  The Mountain Cats also tied the school record for wins in the regular season, duplicating the 23-4 mark set in 1997-98.  Pitt-Johnstown posted an 87-23 record (.791 winning percentage) between 1996 and 2000.  1999-00 also marked the program’s sixth straight winning season.
     In 1997-98, Rukavina guided the Mountain Cats to a 24-5 record, a second consecutive NCAA Tournament bid and a school record of 24 wins, before losing in the East Regional Semifinals by one point to eventual Regional Champion Fairmont State (WV) College.
     A year earlier, the Mountain Cats earned their first-ever NCAA Tournament bid and finished with a 21-6 record.
     In 1992, Rukavina led Pitt-Johnstown to its first winning season since 1979, clinching it with a win over Division I Youngstown State University.  It was the first win over a Division I opponent in school history.
     Rukavina, the winningest coach in Pitt-Johnstown history, is no stranger to turnarounds.  When Rukavina took over at Community College of Allegheny County-South Campus, the team was coming off a disastrous 2-22 season.  Two years later, CCAC-South posted a 19-11 record and finished third in the Western Pennsylvania Collegiate Conference.  The team also placed second in the NJACC Region XX Tournament, the highest in school history.
     Coach Rukavina's strength is recruiting.  The Mountain Cats have had four players lead the NCAA in statistical categories on six different occasions.  They have had five players receive accolades ranging from All-American Honorable Mention to All-East Region performers.  Seven former Mountain Cats have continued their basketball careers at the professional level in various countries.
     One statistic you will not see posted anywhere may be the most important to Rukavina--the rate at which his players graduate.  Since he took over in 1989, the program has graduated over 90 percent of its players, a rate that will stand up to any institution in the country, especially at an institution with such high academic standards as Pitt-Johnstown.
     In August 2004, Rukavina was selected to be an instructor with former NBA Coach of the Year Jack McKinney at the MedQuest Coaching Clinic in Beirut, Lebanon.  The clinic, sponsored by the Federation of Lebanese Basketball, taught Middle Eastern basketball coaches about the game.  Prior to that, Rukavina coached an all-star team that traveled to Madrid and Vigo, Spain in the summer of 1998.  The team won four of five games.  The trip opened up contacts for recruiting and opportunities for playing professionally after college.
     Rukavina, his wife Sharon and their son, Nicholas, reside in Lower Burrell, Pa.

Last Reviewed: February 20, 2008