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Oberlin mourns death of coach

By CONOR NICHOLL

cnicholl@dailynews.net

OBERLIN -- Sherri Ruf first found out she developed cancer during the track season last spring.

Ruf, the longtime Oberlin-Decatur Community volleyball coach and track assistant, had stomach cancer. It spread to other places. Ruf stopped coaching track and immediately started chemotherapy.

"We just didn't know if the chemo was working or not," said Joe Dreher, Oberlin athletic director and a longtime friend of the Ruf family. "She is in and out. Had to go to Wichita to the hospital. We just had to wait and see."

On Friday, Ruf died at age 48. The funeral was today in Oberlin. Ruf leaves behind her husband, Bob; two grown children, Ryan and Sarah; and four grandchildren.

Ruf came to school the same year as the Dreher family. Ruf taught for 21 years, the last 16 as a fourth-grade teacher.

"We were pretty good friends with the family, and I coached both of her kids in high school," Dreher said.

She coached volleyball for 15 years, the last six as a head coach, and spent 10 years with the track program.

Ruf led Oberlin to a second-place finish in Class 2A in 2010, the best showing in school history. Oberlin took fourth in 2009 and also qualified for state in 2008.

Ruf resigned from volleyball after last season to spend more time with her grandchildren.

"I think it went quicker than what people thought," Dreher said. "It was kind of a sudden deal. She was a dedicated coach, and she would do anything for the kids. My daughter loved her as a coach, and I think all the girls did. She took the teams to their highest potential."

Ruf coached multiple all-state players, including Jordan Dreher, the Class 2A 2010 Player of the Year and Dreher's daughter.

"It really hit them hard," Dreher said. "She has been around awhile, and she has done a lot for our volleyball team here."