Rohloff resigns as Monte boys basketball coach
It started out as a near-tragedy and ended up as a magical year for Montevideo boys basketball coach Steve Rohloff. Rohloff was lucky to be alive after suffering a heart attack this past August despite being only 42 years old. After being given p...
It started out as a near-tragedy and ended up as a magical year for Montevideo boys basketball coach Steve Rohloff.
Rohloff was lucky to be alive after suffering a heart attack this past August despite being only 42 years old. After being given permission by his doctor to resume his duties as coach, Rohloff guided the Thunder Hawks to the West Central South Conference title and the Section 3AA crown. Despite losing in the Class AA state quarterfinals, Montevideo finished the season 27-5. It was Montevideo's first state trip in boys basketball since 1976.
It was a fitting going-away present.
Rohloff has decided to resign after seven seasons as head coach at Montevideo and 16 as basketball coach overall, including stints in South Dakota, where he won two conference titles.
"Next year, my son, Jeff, will begin playing seventh-grade basketball for Monte and I will attend all of his games," explained Rohloff, a single parent raising his two children alone the past two years. He also has a daughter, Megan, in eighth grade.
"I will probably go ice fishing," he added about the reasons for his resignation. "I don't think I've ice-fished more than five times in the last seven years. I will still attend most of the Monte basketball games, but now as a fan."
Rohloff, a Benson native, is going to enjoy life and his kids more now after his scare. He woke up at 1 a.m. on Aug. 6 and had a "bad burning" in his throat and "horrible pain" in his chest. His daughter called for help and Rohloff was taken to the Montevideo Hospital, where a doctor and nurses prepped him. He was then to be flown to the hospital in St. Cloud, but a thick fog forced him to travel there by ambulance.
He was in the hospital in St. Cloud for four days and had a stint inserted. His left descending ventricle was 100 percent blocked, he said.
"They basically told me I was lucky to be alive," Rohloff recalls. "It scared the heck out of me. My dad had two different stints put in so I knew a little bit about what was going on. The only thing I didn't know was that they told my family that there was a chance I might not make it to St. Cloud."
Rohloff has lost 50 pounds since his heart attack. He walks four or five miles a day and eats more fruits and vegetables and less salt and fats.
After two months of cardiac rehabilitation at the Montevideo Hospital, Rohloff was given clearance to coach.
"I really wanted to come back because we had been building something special with these boys for the last couple of years and it would be fun to see them through to the end. Some of coming back was also my two kids begging and pleading with me to continue."
So Rohloff and his familiar cowboys boots were back on the court this winter.
"The cowboy boots go way back to when I moved to South Dakota to teach," said the sixth-grade social studies teacher at Montevideo. "I went and bought a pair of boots and found out how comfortable they were and bought a second pair.
"For the most part, they have become who I am. I know the custodians would like it if I didn't wear them. They scratch the heck of the floor. You can definitely tell where I sit."
Rohloff beefed up the Thunder Hawks' schedule this season to prepare his team for a deep run in the playoffs. Montevideo played Willmar, New London-Spicer, Marshall, Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop, Hopkins, Blaine and Park, Cottage Grove in non-conference games this season.
"I truly believe that adding high-quality teams to your schedule, whether you win or not, only helps you in the end," Rohloff explained. "We didn't win them all, but I do know it made us better and faster and we were able to win the tough games in the playoffs."
Rohloff said the memories of coaching at Montevideo will always be with him.
"Winning state would have been the ultimate," he admitted. "But a third conference title in five years, section champs, the first state tournament trip in 32 years, and then to be voted by my peers as Class AA Coach of the Year made it a special year. I will always be proud of every kid that played for me in Monte."
And with that having been said, Rohloff can now ride off into the sunset with his cowboys boots. And maybe a fishing pole, too.