Linfield Wildcats

Don Rutschman

Athlete 1972 - 1976

Don Rutschman Joining his father, Ad, and his mother, Joan, Don Rutschman, of the Class of 1976, becomes the third member of his family to be enshrined in the Linfield Athletics Hall of Fame.

Don was a standout member of Linfield’s football and baseball teams in the mid-1970s. He was a first team all-conference selection in baseball in 1973, 1974 and 1975 and in football in 1975. He played on four Northwest Conference championship teams - two apiece in football and baseball.

He played for the NAIA all-star team that traveled to east Asia for games in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. Unfortunately, he remembers the trip best for coming down with tonsilitis and spending a week in a U.S. Army hospital in South Korea.

One of the most prolific southpaw pitchers in school history, Don was offered a professional baseball contract to play in the Montreal Expos organization but couldn’t stand the thought of missing out on his final year of Linfield football eligibility and turned the offer down.

“I just loved the practices, the guys and the team too much,” Rutschman said.

As a football player, Rutschman came to Linfield as a quarterback but switched to wide receiver, where he became a sure-handed target who rarely, if ever, dropped a pass.

His mark in the baseball record book has stood the test of time. He remains the school’s career record holder in shutouts with seven, is third in complete games, fourth in career strikeouts and fifth in career wins. In four seasons, he compiled a career record of 25-4.

In his final game for Linfield, he struck out a team-record 15 batters at Lewis-Clark State on May 23, 1975.

He was also well-known for his sly pick-off move to first base. He once picked off the same Lewis & Clark College player three times in one game.

After graduation, Rutschman served as an assistant coach in the Linfield football and baseball programs for several years before going to work at Tillamook High School for three years. He later took his coaching and teaching to Glencoe for nine years and has been at McMinnville High since 1991.

This fall is his 33rd year of coaching football (he is an assistant at McMinnville High) and his 30th in teaching. He has also taught driver’s education courses for 29 years - without hitting any other cars. And he has 25 years of spring-through-summer baseball seasons under his belt in coaching.

Rutschman lives in McMinnville with his wife, Judy. They have two sons, Drew, 22 and A.J., 20.