John’s Journal: The Pride Of Russell-Tyler-Ruthton
Former NFL QB Bouman Holds Football Clinic In Hometown
Posted: Tuesday, July 19, 2022 - 12:52 PM
Todd Bouman had a long career as an NFL quarterback, playing for the Vikings, Saints, Packers, Jaguars, Rams and Ravens between 1997 and 2010. He played in 44 NFL games, starting seven. But ask him about his favorite football memory and he immediately goes back to his high school days.
He was a senior at Russell-Tyler-Ruthton in the fall of 1990. The RTR Knights met Minneota with a section title and trip to the state playoffs on the line.
“We had never beat them before,” Bouman said. “The game went into overtime, we threw for a touchdown at the end of the game and our fans rushed the field. I still get goosebumps thinking about it.”
Bouman was back in his hometown on a recent Saturday, holding a clinic for young football players in southwest Minnesota. At 49 years old he remains a strong, fit athlete, running around the field with enthusiasm and teaching the skills that took him to the game’s highest level.
“It was awesome,” he said. “It’s something I’ve wanted to do, get home and host a camp. All the feedback was positive, they loved it.”
The three-hour session focused on the passing game, with two dozen quarterbacks and receivers taking part. Bouman and his son Aidan, who began his college career at Iowa State and is a recent transfer to the University of South Dakota, worked with the quarterbacks. The father-son combination has spent many years together on the football field; Todd is the former head coach at Buffalo High School, where Aidan was the starting quarterback. During his NFL career, Todd worked as an assistant football coach at Pipestone (his brother Troy was head coach) and Buffalo High School, serving in both capacities before departing when NFL teams called.
Everything began for Todd at his hometown, where he was an all-state athlete in football and basketball and went to state in track and field. He was a three-year starting quarterback at St. Cloud State.
The clinic on RTR’s year-old turf field was crisp, with quarterbacks and receivers working separately on techniques at times and coming together to work on timing and passing routes. Water breaks were frequent on a warm July morning.
“I told him how appreciative we are,” said RTR head coach Joshua Fredrickson. “We don’t get into the kind of detail that he’s working with. A guy like that with his experiences, working with our guys for three hours, it’s definitely going to pay off. It was a lot of fun.”
Bouman, who stays busy with football camps and clinics, had not previously held an event in his hometown. The kids paid 60 dollars for the three-hour session.
“A lot of high schools, especially small schools, don’t throw the ball much, they don’t have the skill set of how to run a route, how to get open,” said Bouman, who hopes to expand into similar events at several more southwest Minnesota locations next summer.
Russell-Tyler-Ruthton’s new stadium sits next to a world-class K-12 school, which also opened a year ago on the western edge of Tyler, a town of 1,289.
Russell-Tyler-Ruthton is one of more than 100 Minnesota high schools that have turf fields; with a 9-12 MSHSL enrollment of 177, RTR is the third-smallest. Mountain Iron-Buhl has 136 students and Lakeview has 148.
Bouman’s first game on turf came during his sophomore season in college when St. Cloud State played Mankato State at the Metrodome.
“It’s awesome,” he said of his hometown’s turf field. “There’s still nothing like playing on grass, but the beauty of turf is you can use it all the time.”
Bouman’s legend is strong in his hometown. He was the varsity football team’s long-snapper as an eighth-grader before becoming a star quarterback. Local fans still talk about a legendary dunk he threw down in the state basketball tournament.
Thirty-two years removed from his final season as a high school football player, his hometown memories remain strong.
“I remember the games,” he said. “At lunch time, people were backing their trucks in behind the end zone, picking their spot. There was a wire cable around the field and people were lined up five, six deep. There’s nothing better.”
--MSHSL media specialist John Millea has been the leading voice of Minnesota high school activities for decades. Follow him on Twitter @MSHSLjohn and listen to "Preps Today with John Millea” wherever you get podcasts. Contact John at [email protected]