Amy Ruley is head coach of the North Dakota State University women's basketball team, and has been since she was 23. In the 1990s, her teams won five national titles, including four consecutive championships and an undefeated season. Two seasons ago she recorded the 500th win in her career, and holds a career record of 537-134 for a rank in the top three among active Division II coaches in most wins and winning percentage. Ruley's teams have led Division II in attendance for nine seasons. She earned her undergraduate degree at Purdue University and a master's from Western Illinois University. She was inducted into the North Dakota Sports Hall of Fame in 2000.
You'll get out of things what you put into things. If you really want something you need to work toward it. You'll appreciate it more.
It takes a while to get to know people.
We've had teams that were extremely successful because of the chemistry of the team and the ability of the people on the team to put the team goals first.
It's rewarding when somebody gets it, whether it's a more consistent jump shot or in whatever area. You feel good about it when you see someone learn. Teachers get as much out of it as the learner does when there's success.
I always expect to win.
When you sit down to play cards you've got to expect to win. When you go fishing you should expect to catch a fish.
Everyone wants to win. I think to be really successful you have to believe you deserve it more than your opponent. You've worked harder, you understand better what it takes to be successful; you're willing to make the sacrifices.
Any time you compete there's a winner and a loser. If you lose, that's a learning opportunity.
Sometimes there's luck involved.
You can accept losing, but you don't have to like it.
The things you can't control you just have to learn to live with. Those are life's experiences.
There are some things you can't control, and they might be things you think you should control.
I've been one of those people who goes with her gut.
Kids aren't planning ahead as much as I think they should, but it seems to be working out so maybe I'm not correct.
When I look back I wonder "Where did my personal life go?" Now for women coaching it's easier. You can have a family. The job is better defined. You didn't even go home at night because you ran your own study hall.
This career is who you are. It defines you.
Sometimes I do have to bite my tongue.
My hands get cold and clammy. I'd be worried if they didn't. There's definitely a pregame jitter, but that's very common in athletics.
We're definitely results oriented.
This interview took place before Amy Ruley was diagnosed with breast cancer in August. She is receiving treatment and expects to coach another winning team this season.