Bill Rose served as basketball coach at Rothsay High School from 1966 to 1984, finishing with over 300 wins and numerous conference titles, along with an induction into the Minnesota State High School Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame in 1998. On Thursday, January 7, Bill’s incredible journey on this Earth came to an end as he passed away at the age of 87.
“Bill and Darlene are True Blue Proud Rothsay Tigers,” said former Rothsay football and girls basketball coach Craig Samuelson. “As a teacher and coach and mentor at RHS, Bill was all about the relationships he had with the students and his co-workers. Wins and losses were secondary and I see it reflected in the comments from alumni and friends. He coached some great teams in his early years and had some terrific athletes that enjoyed many successes, but all of us will remember him as a kind, caring, funny, positive role model. Bill welcomed me in to his family when I was hired in 1984 and I enjoyed 12 fun, fulfilling years at RHS with Bill serving as our Athletic Director most of those years. I met my wife there, established long time friendships, got to coach and teach some amazing young people who have gone on to be great parents and have successful careers. None of those things in my life path would have happened if Bill and Joe Merseth (Superintendent) wouldn’t have given me a chance to be a part of the Rothsay community. I am grateful for have knowing Bill and Dar and for getting to be a part of his legacy in Rothsay.”
The impact Bill Rose had on the Rothsay community is immeasurable and will be felt for years to come. In addition to his teaching and coaching, Bill was a driving instructor for many years and undoubtedly each one of his students could share a story or memory with us. I have reached out to some people who were connected with Bill in one way or another and asked if they would share some thoughts about him.
Dave Goltz, who was a member of the first Rothsay basketball team that Rose coached said, “In my athletic career I have had many coaches. Bill Rose was one of the best I was able to be involved with. He loved coaching and will be sadly missed. He is gone but will live on in the hearts of all. Rothsay was blessed to have him as a coach and teacher. Rest in Peace Bill.”
Following his retirement in 1993, Rose served as PA announcer and scorekeeper at Rothsay games, while driving the school bus for activities and volunteering. When the new Rothsay School was built, the gymnasium was dedicated in his name. In addition to the facility being named “Bill Rose Gymnasium”, a scholarship in the name of Bill and his wife, Darlene, was established. It is awarded annually to a graduating Rothsay senior.
"We are greatly saddened by the news of Bill Rose's passing,” added current Rothsay boys’ basketball coach Taylor Fuhs. “Bill has been, and always will be a part of both the Rothsay basketball program and the entire Rothsay community. From day 1, Bill has been at nearly every game, home and away. You always knew when Bill was there, sitting in the middle of the stands cheering on the Tigers. He was the epitome of Tiger athletics. Personally, as a coach here at Rothsay, Bill always went out of his way, reaching out and making sure I felt a part of the Rothsay Coaching Community. I will always remember Bill coming into school talking hoops, telling stories, and just talking coaching with me daily. Bill will be deeply missed and always remembered by our coaches and our entire community."
I had several interactions with Bill throughout the years, but not as many since he retired from coaching. On every occasion I went away smiling and feeling good. Bill had that way of putting you in a good mood no matter what was going on at the time. He and Dar opened their home to me when I did a feature on Bill in the “Then and Now” section of High School Sports View Magazine a few years ago, and he was my personal tour guide through the new school, which was a great experience for me.
One of my favorite movies to watch during the Holidays is “It’s a Wonderful Life”. In reading through some of the posts on the Olson Funeral Home website and the many lives he obviously touched, I would have to say that Bill had a Wonderful Life and all who knew him were Blessed by it.