Beloved assistant Rosborough inching closer to another championship ring
Now that Jonathan Goldsmith, the “Most Interesting Man In the World,” has retired from his long-running Dos Equis beer commercials, I’ve got a nomination for his replacement.
I’ve rarely known anyone who enjoys and gets more out of life than the man who helped Lute Olson coach Final Four teams at Iowa and Arizona.
Rosborough was the soul of 19 Arizona basketball teams from 1989-2008. Olson’s program imploded, not coincidentally, when he pushed Rosborough out and replaced him with the corrosive Kevin O’Neill.
But that was nine years ago. Since then, Rosborough has made the best of a bad situation and then some.
He spent a year as a fundraiser in the UA athletic department. He helped coach Pima College’s men’s basketball team to seventh place in the NJCAA championships. He put in three years as a UA women’s assistant tennis coach. He spent a year as a scout for the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks. And now he is an assistant for PCC’s women’s basketball team, seeded No. 3 in this week’s NJCAA tournament.
When he’s not coaching, he’s playing golf at his summer retreat in Ludington, Michigan, or imbibing in his long passion, tennis. He’s a connoisseur of 1960s and 1970s music, with a personal collection that belongs in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. At 71, he does not have a stop button. He could pass for someone 51.
If you meet someone who doesn’t like Jim Rosborough, you’ve got breaking news.
Early Sunday, he will drive with the PCC women’s hoops team to Phoenix and fly to Kansas City, as the Aztecs will attempt to win the national championship in Overland Park, Kansas.
“What do I get out of this?” he asks. “My wife, Kim, says, ‘Honey, you’re a coach.’ I like coaching, plain and simple. As long as I can stand up, I think I’ll stay and help (head coach Todd Holthaus).”
The feeling is mutual.
“There’s no ego with Roz,” says Holthaus. “The girls really enjoy his insight and expertise. He’s 100 percent all in.”
Says PCC’s all-everything point guard Sydni Stallworth: “I love breaking down film with him. He shows us things we didn’t know. He’s a very nice man.”
When Rosborough began his video sessions early this season, only two or three players would attend. Now all 15 girls huddle around the video screen for the 30-minute sessions.
Rosborough doesn’t ask for favors. When the Aztecs take long bus trips to Yuma, Thatcher and Douglas, he is all aboard, returning home as late as 2 a.m. The only way you’d know he was a basketball standout at Iowa — and later, helped Olson coach 1980, 1994, 1997 and 2001 Final Four teams — is that he wears one of his many championship rings.
Holthaus, who grew up watching the Hawkeyes in Iowa, knew of Rosborough 40 years ago. Now they are partners.
“There’s no question I get as much fun out of this as anything I’ve done,” Rosborough says. “As I get older, I feel better about what I’m saying, and the way I coach.
“And maybe I’ll get another ring, too.”