He may be retiring, but coaching is second nature to Terry Rosin of Stevensville and I suspect he will never stop coaching. This was evident at the end of the interview when we walked through the gym. Without missing a step, he gave instructions to a basketball player shooting baskets. I don’t think he even realized he did it.
The knowledge this veteran coach has is vast. He began his coaching in Grass Range, Montana in 1974 where he was the assistant girls’ basketball coach and the assistant track coach. He is retiring from teaching, and coaching, this year after 29 years at Stevensville. The years at Stevensville include 29 years as assistant boys’ basketball coach, 18 years as girl’s basketball coach, four years assistant girls basketball coach, 16 years assistant athletic director, and 12 years coaching junior high girls basketball and 11 years as junior high boys basketball coach.
The experience Rosin has garnered through the years has not gone unnoticed by his peers. Last fall he was nominated and honored by the Montana Coaches Association as the assistant coach of the year. Unlike the head coaches of each sport who are honored, there is only one assistant coach selected for all of the sports.
“It’s pretty humbling,” said Rosin. “To know there is only one selected.”
But the accolades for Rosin have not stopped in Montana. He was notified in early January that he had been nominated by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association as a 2014 National Assistant Coach of the Year finalist. Only eight coaches in the country were selected for this honor. The winner will be named at the annual convention in June in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
“There are a lot of famous coaches that have been selected over the years,” said Rosin. “It really is a tremendous honor.”
Rosin grew up in Great Falls and played basketball at Great Falls High. His family moved to Helena for his final year of high school where his team finished second at the state tournament. He said the loss was tough then as a player and it was just as tough when the Yellowjackets lost at the state tournament.
“That’s one reason why winning the state championship last year was so great,” he said.
Rosin was the sidekick of Stevensville basketball coach Keith Chambers for 21 years. The duo worked together so well that Rosin doesn’t remember them having any disagreements. He said they each saw the game of basketball differently and each one brought something different to the court. The two switched places for a couple of years when Rosin was the head girls’ basketball coach and Chambers was his assistant.
While Chambers was the more flamboyant of the two, it was often Rosin’s quiet calm that gave the team their focus during close games while Chambers gave the team his fire. The duo talked over plays and Rosin would often be seen talking one-on-one to a player, pointing out areas for changes on a play or a shot. While most coaches view the assistant position as a steppingstone to a head coaching job, Rosin did not have that view.
“There was a respect between us,” said Rosin. “And I never wanted to have his job.”
After coaching in one school for so long, Rosin has had the opportunity to coach the kids of the kids he first coached. “During one practice, I yelled at a player but I yelled his dad’s name. Coach Chambers looked at me and asked, ‘who are you yelling at?’”
In 1984, Rosin began the Bitterroot Basketball Camp. During the 25 years he was director of the camp, Rosin brought in players and coaches from around the region. Before the NCAA changed their regulations, Lady Griz and Grizzly basketball players, and even some Bobcats, came to the camp to help. Among those who helped were Wayne Tinkle, the current head coach of the UM Grizzlies and his wife, Lisa McLeod who was a Lady Griz player, Shannon Cate, and even coach Robin Selvig, the Lady Griz coach, were some of the presenters. Camp participants came from all over the valley and even outside of the valley to learn the game of basketball and develop a passion for it.
Rosin said he was privileged to have a few players go on to the next level and have good success there. Kristin Omlid, Kristy Langton Schlimgen, and Heather Seyfert were a few of the players he named. “To see them go on and have a love of the game, that was rewarding.”
Rosin said that starting off in a small school like Grass Range shaped his involvement in school as a teacher. He got to know not just the athletes but also all of the students, their parents and even extended families. The school was the center of the community and the same people would be in the audience whether it was a basketball game or a play.
But Rosin was not one to ‘get through the day to get to practice’. Teaching is as much a passion as basketball is to him. A 1974 graduate of Western Montana College (now UM Western), he first taught science in grades 7-12 in Grass Range. When he moved to Stevensville, he began teaching in the junior high and has held that position for the past 35 years. He became the science fair director his first year and through the years has had students move on to the state science fair and even had some qualify for the International Science and Engineering Fair. He worked with Rocky Mountain Laboratory to bring the BRASS (Biomedical Research After School Scholars) program to Stevensville. Honors science programs, curriculum development and mentoring are all a part of Rosin’s legacy.
Last winter, at the beginning of basketball season, Rosin was having some back and hip pain. At first he thought is was just wear and tear catching up with him but it turned out to be much more serious. He was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He underwent surgery in January to remove a mass from around his spine. Once he recovered from the surgery, Rosin began chemotherapy and will continue it through August.
“This is very survivable,” said Rosin.
He said the school has been very supportive. He had a student teacher, Austin Thompson, in his classroom this semester and that was a huge help for him during the tough times. Tee shirts with a green ribbon and the words ‘Go, Fight, Win’ have been sold throughout the school. He said the students have talked with him about the disease and treatment. But, in typical Rosin fashion, he downplays his battle and talks about a couple of other students in Stevensville who are battling this disease.
At his side, whether it was in school, on the basketball court, or during this past winter’s battle, his wife Linda has been right there. The two met at Dillon and married while they were students there. Linda was also a teacher at Stevensville.
“The first day of school after she retired in 2012 was the first time in 40 years I didn’t start school with her,” said Rosin. “She was the reason I became a teacher and I’ve never been sorry.”
Once he has retired, Rosin plans on taking a few trips with Linda, visiting with his kids, Cody and Kristy, doing some fishing, and maybe even getting back involved with the fire department where he was a member for 25 years. He hopes to make it to a couple of National Finals Rodeos and says he’ll be in the stands come basketball tournament time because he loves that time of year. But don’t be surprised if you see him coaching again. Once a coach, always a coach.
“The one lesson I’ve learned is to keep a positive attitude and be thankful for every day you have,” he said