Jeff Rutledge Named as Football Head Coach

CHANDLER, Ariz. -- Jeff Rutledge, a former player and coach in the NFL and NCAA Champion quarterback at the University of Alabama, has been hired as the head football coach at Valley Christian High School.

Rutledge has had success coaching at every level, but is best known for helping lead the Arizona Cardinals to the franchise's first NFC Championship and Super Bowl appearance in 2009.  The Arizona Cardinals' quarterbacks coach, Rutledge coached Kurt Warner to multiple franchise records and a Pro Bowl appearance. 

"We are very excited to have Jeff on staff at Valley Christian and leading our football program," athletic director Greg Haagsma said.  "Coach Rut has proven experience at every level, both as a player and a coach. After meeting our players for the first time today, both Coach Rut and our students are very excited to start working together and looking forward to what next season may hold."

In addition to his two years with the Arizona Cardinals, he has coached in the United Football League for two seasons. Rutledge has found success at the high school level as well.  As head football coach at Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville, TN, he led the team to consecutive state championships in 2002 and 2003 while also serving as the school's athletic director before taking the NFL coaching position with the Cardinals.  His 2003 team finished ranked #15 in the nation by the USA Today. Rutledge also served as the head football coach at Pope John Paul II High School in Hendersonville, TN.

Rutledge got his coaching start at Vanderbilt University as the Quarterbacks and Receivers Coach for the Commodores.  During his seven seasons at Vanderbilt, his quarterbacks broke school records while passing.  Rutledge also recruited future NFL quarterback Jay Cutler to the school.

As a player, Rutledge saw an extremely successful prep and college career turn into a 13 year NFL career.  In high school, Rutledge was a Parade All-American Quarterback and member on back-to-back state championship teams at Banks High School in Birmingham, Alabama. 

Rutledge then went on to star on the gridiron at the University of Alabama for legendary head coach Paul "Bear" Bryant.  A three-year starter, he led his team to a NCAA National Championship in 1978 and the #2 National ranking in 1977. He also led the Crimson Tide to two Sugar Bowl appearances and two SEC Championships.  Rutledge earned MVP honors at the 1978 Sugar Bowl and also earned All-SEC honors in 1978 and 1979.  

He finished his college career with a 33-5 record as a starter, which currently ranks him as the University of Alabama's seventh all-time winningest quarterback.  He received his degree from Alabama in Business Administration and in 2011, was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.

Following his outstanding college career, Rutledge was drafted in the ninth-round of the 1979 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams.  He played three seasons with the Rams, seven with the New York Giants and three with the Washington Redskins before retiring following the 1993 season.

In the NFL, Rutledge played on two Super Bowl Championship teams (New York Giants, XXI and Washington Redskins, XXVI).  He was also a member on the 1979 Los Angeles Rams' NFC Championship team that played in Super Bowl XIV.               

In addition to his coaching duties, Rutledge was also hired as a full-time staff member at Valley Christian.

Valley Christian is home to one of the most successful athletic programs in the state.  Having won 61 state championships and being the inaugural recipient of the Director's Cup for overall excellence. Trojan football has won two state championships, most recently in 2009, and finished state runner-up three times.  Numerous Valley Christian alumni have gone on to play football at the college level, including many at the Division I level.