Roots Run Deep

Ryley Quinn, Co Editor-in-Chief

Robert Ruffner Sr. also known as “Bo”, is often recognized by many as an athlete, a coach, a teacher, a mentor, a father, a husband, a grandfather (known as Bopa by his grandkids), a brother, and a friend. 

As a Latrobe native he carried the Latrobe name all the way to Clemson, South Carolina where he played collegiate, Division 1 football. Bo was a star athlete at Greater Latrobe in football, even being able to see his name on the plaque for the Ray V Wild award that hangs outside the gym. In his time at Clemson between 1964-1968, he was a fullback on the team that won the ACC championship three years in a row. His passion, athleticism and hard work not only made him an ACC champion but also the winner of the Jacobs Blocking trophy as the best blocker in the state of South Carolina. 

After his years at Clemson he came back to his roots and settled down. He married Phyllis Waters and they raised a family of four kids: Sherri, Kelly, Bo Jr, and Becky. Bo was soon back involved at Latrobe where he became a history teacher. In his years teaching at Latrobe, he stayed involved in athletics as he coached football and tennis. 

A man with so many great accomplishments in athletics like Bo might say those are the things he is most proud of. But to Bo, family and God have always come first. As a father and grandfather he loves being involved in his family’s lives. Spending countless hours watching any of his ten grandkids play their sports, playing whatever sport his grandkids wanted, and being there for them when they needed it; he is the definition of a true family man.

As a man who has a passion for sports, his family followed in his footsteps to find their own love for sports. He showed his family how to work hard, to be competitive, to get involved in what you love, and to never give up on your dreams, while never forgetting to show them how proud he was. His admiration could only evolve when his grandson followed in his footsteps to play division 1 football. 

Trent Holler was a 2019 graduate from Greater Latrobe Senior High School. Trent was a star on the football field starting all the way from his freshman to senior year. He excelled as a center defensive end for Latrobe being selected four times for first team all conference. His senior year he even was selected to play in the Pennsylvania Big 33 game, where his team won. 

Trent went on to commit to East Carolina University for football. He redshirted his freshman year and spent two more years before considering a change. Trent ultimately ended up switching colleges and now attends Marshall University in West Virginia. Trent’s role on Marshall is both a right and left guard, where he excels at both. Being diverse in his positions on the field has opened up opportunities for Trent to become a better player. 

Following in his bopa’s footsteps was a surreal experience for Trent, and everyday he uses it to motivate him. His bopa showed him that dreams can come true for anybody. “No matter where you are from, it can be done. You don’t have to go to a premiere high school to follow your dreams and make it far, he showed me that,” said Trent. Sharing these experiences with his bopa has been one of Trent’s favorite parts about playing the game he loves on the college level. 


“Something that he did, I also get to do. Bopa and I talk about games. He’ll come to see me play, and after we talk about everything that happened. He knows what I see and feel. We get to share the same experiences.” 

Football is a tough sport. Trent said, “It’s unlike any sport, it’s unique. The physicality is the best part. You can hit someone as hard as you can.” But with physical toughness, Trent must overcome mental toughness when playing D1 football.

 “You have to do your best every single day in and out without a break. That’s the hardest part, there is always someone watching and you have to bring your A game or someone will take your spot.” 

This mental and physical toughness and grit is what brought Trent and his Marshall team to a huge upset win over Notre Dame in South Bend. 

“Winning that game was a surreal feeling. Nobody gave us a chance. Our own fans only went to experience Notre Dame, not because they thought we’d win. But when it came down to it, we showed them what we had and our fans showed up for us. The stadium was Marshall loud.” 

The biggest thing Trent uses to motivate himself in football is not only sharing this experience with his bopa, but proving himself to the ones who said he couldn’t.

“I’m motivated everyday by the people who told me I couldn’t do this, that I wouldn’t make it this far, and there was a lot of that. I always have a chip on my shoulder wanting to show them how wrong they were about me.” 

For a man like Bo, the world of sports has always been in his life, being one of his greatest joys and priorities for a long time. When it shifted and family was the joy and priority, he got to share this part of his world with his kids and grandkids. It is no surprise that with his toughness and motivation Trent was able to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps and have the determination to make it to division 1 football. Because in this family, the roots truly run deep.