Rocco adds golf to his coaching duties

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By CHRIS PUMMER

After many years at Riverside-Brookfield High School, Larry Rocco has held many titles and worn many hats. Now he'll have one that's closest to his sporting passion.

Rocco will be the boys' golf coach this season, taking over for long-time coach Bob Johnston

"I love to golf," Rocco said. "My sons both golf, and both are pretty good at it. When (Johnson) decided to retire and the opportunity arose, I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to do something I really enjoy. After all these years of coaching, I was always a little sad when the football season started, because that pretty much ended golf for me at the end of every summer."

Rocco had been a football coach in some capacity for the past 29 seasons, including 23 now at RB. He's been an assistant varsity coach, assistant sophomore coach and head freshman coach.

In addition to his football coaching duties, he's also coached freshman basketball, coached the Bulldogs' varsity softball team for 14 years and is still the girls' varsity basketball coach.

"I loved coaching football and I'm sure I'll miss it," Rocco said. "But this lets me do something else I love?"golfing and coaching."

Rocco started hitting the greens when he was 11 years old. Rocco remembers back then growing up in Berwyn, he would bike over to Columbus Park and play nine holes for a quarter.

Now he's looking forward to some of the new challenges that coaching golf will offer, and to instilling the same appreciation for the game and RB's golf tradition that Johnston did in all his years at the helm.

"Golf is different from other sports in that when the kids are out golfing, you can't coach them," Rocco said. "You can get them ready to go out there, but once they are there they're on their own. I think that's a great character-builder.

"I think you also deal with the emotional aspects of the game in a different way," he added. "Football and basketball are such emotional games with a lot of highs and lows inside a game. Golf is more about trying to keep an even keel. That will be an adjustment. You have to talk the kids into not being too upset or too excited, because the next hole is coming up and you have to be ready for it."

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