Ruff, 53, who compiled a record of 571-432-84, with 78 ties, in 15 seasons as coach of the Buffalo Sabres, replaces Glen Gulutzan, fired last month after steering Dallas to a 22-22-4 record and a last-place finish in the Pacific Division.
"One of the trademarks of successful organizations is their ability to have continuity and stability for an extended period of time," Stars general manager Jim Nill said in a statement announcing the hiring.
"It is clear from Lindy's record, and from our own conversations, that we have found the right person to provide that stability and lead this club to the next level."
Ruff guided the Sabres to the Stanley Cup playoffs eight times in 14 full seasons, including a trip to the 1999 Stanley Cup Final - a series his Sabres lost to the Stars.
He also guided Buffalo on back-to-back trips to the Eastern Conference Final in 2006 and 2007, and won the Jack Adams Award as the NHL's coach of the year in 2006.
Ruff was fired by the Sabres in February in the midst of a 4-10-1 slump after winning the opening two games of the season. Buffalo went on to post a 21-21-6 record.
- Sports & Recreation
- Ice Hockey
- Buffalo Sabres