Thursday, July 09, 2020
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

Roloff retiring as teacher, not sure if he'll coach

Dennis Roloff has decided to retire as a teacher at Kennedy High School and said Monday he "more than likely" will retire as the girls basketball and boys track coach as well.

Roloff, 57, applied Monday for the early-retirement package being offered by Cedar Rapids Community Schools and said he's leaning "60-40" toward retiring as a coach.

"I'll sit down with my activities director (Aaron Stecker) and talk to him about it," Roloff said Monday after basketball practice. "I've already kind of told him no."

Roloff said he's not comfortable with the idea of being a coach without also being a teacher at Kennedy, but made it clear he has not resigned from coaching at this point.

"I feel like you miss out on a lot when you're not at the school and seeing the girls every day," he said. "I felt all along that if I retired from teaching, I will probably be retiring from coaching also. But I'm having a good time with the coaching part yet."

Roloff has wrestled with his decision to retire from teaching -- and maybe coaching -- for several weeks. Monday was the deadline for applying for early retirement at the school district office, and he beat the deadline by about two hours Monday afternoon.

"I ran it down during sixth period and hand-delivered it," he said.


State titles have eluded C.R. public schools

Cedar Rapids public schools are in the midst of an almost inexplicable drought when it comes to winning state championships in football and boys basketball. And the thing is, their public school brethren in other Metro areas aren’t in much better shape.

High schools in the Cedar Rapids Community School District – Jefferson, Kennedy and Washington – have gone 38 years without a state football title and 26 years since winning a state basketball championship.  Jefferson is the only one among the three to win in football, that coming in the inaugural playoff derby in 1972. The last basketball titles for public school boys programs were in 1984 for Kennedy, 1969 for Washington and 1967 for Jefferson.


Wash girls top Xavier; Linn-Mar next

Washington Coach Frank Howell wanted to enjoy Monday night's 47-37 victory over Xavier before thinking about what's coming up next.

The Warriors host Kiah Stokes and No. 3 Linn-Mar on Thursday, but Howell wasn't ready to peek ahead.

"I'll try not to think about it until tomorrow morning, because I want to try and get some sleep," he said. "And if I think about that too hard, I probably won't be well-rested by Thursday."

The Warriors took care of business Monday to set up Thursday's big showdown for the Mississippi Valley Conference lead. Washington and Linn-Mar are both 7-1 in the Mississippi Division of the MVC, so the winner gets sole possesion of the lead.

"We can do it," said Jazz Royster, who led the Warriors with 13 points Monday. "We just have to find a way to keep Kiah from getting the ball."

Kiah is the incomparable Kiah Stokes, the prep All-American who will play for the Connecticut Huskies next season.


J-Hawk boys up to No. 2 in 4A poll

Jefferson moved up to the No. 2 spot in the Associated Press Class 4A boys basketball poll released Monday (Jan. 10).

Linn-Mar (9-0) remains the No. 1 team in the state. Jefferson (7-1), which escaped Iowa City West in overtime Friday night, moved up to No. 2 when Sioux City East was upset by Hull Western Christian, 54-50, Saturday night in Sioux City.

Kennedy (8-1) dropped two spots to No. 6 after being upset by Class 3A No. 10 Dubuque Wahlert Tuesday at Dubuque. The Cougars rebounded with a pair of wins at Sioux City over the weekend.

Washington (6-3) is the fourth Metro team in the rankings. The Warriors are tied with Davenport Central for No. 10.

The new rankings set up a pair of interesting games Friday night when Linn-Mar plays at Washington and Jefferson at Kennedy. Both games are scheduled to tip at 7:30.


Offers came early for Paige

MINNEAPOLIS -- Marcus Paige was just 14 years old, not yet in high school, when college basketball coaches began offering him full scholarships to attend their schools.

The first offer came from Ben Jacobson, the head coach at the University of Northern Iowa. The very next day, then-Iowa State coach Greg McDermott invited Paige to become a Cyclone.

This was during the summer of 2007, shortly after Paige had graduated from the eighth grade. College was still five years away, yet Jacobson and McDermott were willing to bet that the skinny, precocious point would grow into someone special.

They were right, but Roy Williams and the University of North Carolina won the grand prize. Paige committed to the Tar Heels on Thursday and made the announcement Saturday night before playing for Linn-Mar at the Timberwolves Shootout.


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