Heroes Of March: Randy Rutherford

Sunday, March 29th 2009, 2:54 pm
By: News On 6

By Kyle Dierking, NewsOn6.com

TULSA, OK -- He was O-State's sharp-shooter. Randy Rutherford's long-range launches put the Pokes in a place they hadn't been in 44 years: The Final Four.

"Those were the good days," Rutherford said. "Had a lot of good teammates that I'm friends with now and talk to all the time. During this time of year, during March Madness, it's real exciting. I reminisce about going back and playing during those days."

Rutherford and the Cowboys had a remarkable run to the 1995 Final Four. The fourth-seeded Pokes plowed through Drexel, Alabama, Wake Forest and finally UMass so they could play for the big prize in the Pacific Northwest.

"We had a tough road - we weren't picked to get through it," Rutherford said. "I could go down the list of guys who really valued playing together and understanding what their role was and their goal was."

All you have to do is look at the record-books to understand what Rutherford's role was. He still holds eight school records in the three-point field goal category. His senior season, he set the record for three-pointers made in a game, made in a season and made in a career.

"Being at OSU was more than basketball," Rutherford said.  "I learned about who I was as a person and there was going to be peaks and valleys."

Set in the shadow of the Space Needle, OSU's Final Four game was a back-and-forth battle with UCLA. Fittingly, Rutherford's last basket as a Cowboy was a three-ball that put the Cowboys with-in a point of the Bruins. With 2:44 remaining, it would also turn out to be the last basket OSU scored that season. UCLA won by 13 points and went on to win the National Title. It's a game Rutherford has refused to watch.

"Well, it's one of those things - I don't know if I played that well," said Rutherford, who scored 15 points and shot 4-of-11 from three-point land. "I prefer to keep it as it was. I'm sure I'll watch it someday."

But that's his personality - always with a finger on the fast-forward button. Rutherford was an assistant strength and conditioning coach for four years under the Sutton's. This past season, he was the head coach at Tulsa Central and recently accepted the head coaching job at Murray State.

"I always think that I'll be a better coach than I was a player," Rutherford said. "I look forward to the future and I'm one of those guys who likes to move forward. I think we're going to do great things at Murray State."

Like he did many March's ago, Rutherford will surely leave a long-lasting mark wherever his coaching career takes him.

Get updates to Kyle's latest sports stories through Twitter. Click here to follow him.