Legendary Wickliffe coach Tom Rosneck to be inducted into Lake County Captains "Crow's Nest"
BY JUSTIN LADA SENIOR WRITER
Like the saying goes; it’s not the Hall of Very Great. If it was, it wouldn’t be saved for those with distinguishing accomplishments. The Hall of Fame is saved for individuals who have made who have made an impact in a special area.
It’s very hard to imagine anyone else in Wickliffe having the impact that Tom Rosneck has had on the school district. It is however, not hard to recognize that impact, which made him an obvious choice for induction into this year’s class of the Crow’s Nest, the Hall of Fame for local coaches and sports administrators at Classic Park.
Rosneck has been around the Wickliffe community his whole life, being a graduate of Wickliffe, attending Baldwin Wallace and after receiving his Masters of Education at Kent State, he came back to teach at Wickliffe.
Over his time and commitment to the school and the city, he has served in a multitude of roles and helped impact the lives of many student-athletes.
At Wickliffe High School, Rosneck has served as the Head coach in football for 11 years and served 11 more years as the head basketball coach, and was also the athletic director for eight years.
In all those roles he dealt with many students-athletes and created a lot of great memories for the school, its students and himself. Out of all the roles he has filled for the Blue Devils, Rosneck lists the opportunity to coach his two sons while they were in school, as the best experience he got out of all his jobs.
Rosneck also helped create a program with his basketball players, a kid’s rec basketball league that was run by him, but his players coached the teams of kids. The league is held in Wickliffe High School’s gym and the fundamentals and games are coached by the players on the high school team. Even though Rosneck is retired from his athletic director and coaching duties, this rec league, run by Coach Dave Kryz and his players, still goes on today.
“The most enjoyable part of the youth programs we ran was seeing our players interact with the elementary students. They had to reteach the same skills that they had learned and I believe they became better players because they had to coach it. They also began to realize what a great influence they had on the youth within the city”, Rosneck says of the long running program.
Wickliffe’s current head football coach, Marce Porcello, graduated from Wickliffe and had Rosneck as a teacher, coach and has worked with him as a colleague, and has been influenced greatly by him.
“Mr. Rosneck was an influence on me since my freshman year at Wickliffe High School. As a student, he taught us, with his unique humor, and with an encouraging attitude. What was most admirable about Mr. Rosneck for me was his dedication to what he was involved in. He put countless hours and hard work into all that he did. Mr. Rosneck was a professional and a positive influence on many people throughout his years at Wickliffe High School.
The fact that his former students and colleagues think so highly of him is not surprising. In fact, Rosneck was nominated for the Hall of Fame by Wickliffe High School alumni, longtime resident, publisher and sports editor of the Lake County-Sentinel, Tim Shirer.
"Mr. Rosneck was a tremendous coach and teacher. But most importantly he's a tremendous person. When I pass his plaque each time on my way into the press box to cover a game I'll smile knowing that I know him." Tim Shirer commented.
“To be nominated by a former student is special. Tim, being so aware of the entire sports scene in Lake County, and being very aware of my career as a teacher and coach makes it even more special”, Rosneck said of his nomination.
Porcello also credits his budding coaching and philosophies to Rosneck.
“I have taken many of the philosophies and coaching techniques from Mr. Rosneck. I believe that coaches coach how they were coached and I was coached by men that influenced me in a positive way. I have learned from my coaches, and especially Mr. Rosneck, that sports can teach you many lessons about life. He taught us how to succeed, how to lose, and how to get up when you fall down. He enjoyed the success with us, but always gave credit to his players. He was humble, genuine, and dedicated to those he coached. He always showed respect and sportsmanship.”
Rosneck has had a big impact on student-athletes and that is one thing he missed when he traded in his coaching whistle for an administrative position, and decided to become the full Athletic Director’s role in 2000. He was doubling as the basketball coach and the AD from 1997-2000.
‘Being athletic director took me away from the direct, day after day contact that coaches have with student/athletes. My influence as AD was more to the coaches. Helping them, and giving guidance to them when needed.”
Rosneck did note that there were aspects of being a coach that he missed.
“I enjoyed helping other coaches and missed the day-to-day contact with student/athletes, practices.”
During his coaching career in both sports, Rosneck was around for some of the most successful eras of Wickliffe sports. While the success was evident and fun for a lot of people, Rosneck, being a true educator, always had bigger goals in mind.
“We wanted our athletes to become better students, each year we wanted to improve as individuals. We always wanted to compete for titles in the CVC and we wanted the student/athletes to be better people from having been in our programs. We wanted our athletes to be disciplined, and play the sport they were involved in with class and sportsmanship.”
Rosneck has been away from coaching and the athletic office since 2005 but continues to be very involved with the school district. In 2008 Rosneck decided to run for school board. The community was changing a bit after a few levies had failed and there were some new challenges the city was facing, academically.
“The challenges at Wickliffe are not very different than any community our size. With cuts in state funding to education more and more of the burden for funding public education is local. We have been very blessed in Wickliffe that the community has chosen to support our effort to provide the best possible education to our students. The city has changed some over the years. We have less students than previous eras. The community has also become older. It still is a wonderful place to raise a family and the students are our greatest resource. They have always been and continue to be very disciplined and hard working.”
With those challenges in mind, it was no shock that Rosneck, who cares deeply for the community and its school system, was extremely successful in his campaign for a spot on the school board. With the direction things were going, the board needed someone like Rosneck, who went to school in Wickliffe all 12 years and worked there from 1970-2005.
“I never thought about running for school board until the summer of 2009. I decided to run for school board because I believed our district was at a crossroads and I thought that I might have some skills necessary to help through this tough time.”
It’s no coincidence, with Rosneck on the board, that Wickliffe’s last levy, a 7.9 mil in 2011 that was passed by a margin of 55-45. It was the first time in Wickliffe history that a levy passed on its first attempt. It was the only levy in Lake County to pass in November of 2011.
“The voter’s told us they have confidence in what we are doing. I’m happy for the students, they are the real winners”, Rosneck said of the passed levy back on November 8th 2011.
It’s also no surprise that Wickliffe sports are also experiencing renewed success. The football team went 5-5 after multiple disappointing seasons. Porcello, as noted, a student and colleague of Rosneck, is turning things around for football team and the culture of the program. The baseball team is also (8-8) on the season, thanks to Phil Motta, also a Rosneck disciple. A Wickliffe graduate, and current teacher, is back at the helm of Wickliffe baseball after seven years away from the program.
Rosneck also says keeps in touch with several former student-athletes that he was “lucky enough to have taught/coached” and often sees and hears from former teachers and coaches he worked with.