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Decades removed from title, basketball remains in ex-UA assistant coach Jim Rosborough's blood

Pima College assistant women’s basketball coach Jim Rosborough warms up the Aztecs before their game against Frank Phillips College on Dec. 30. Lute Olson’s longtime assistant now assists Pima coach Todd Holthaus.

Editor’s note: Today marks the 25th anniversary of Arizona’s 1997 national championship win over Kentucky in men’s basketball.

It’s been more than five decades since Jim Rosborough coached his first game — way back in 1970 for mighty Corkery Junior High — and he just can’t stop.

He’s infected with basketball.

“It gets in your blood and you can’t stop it,” said Rosborough, Lute Olson’s top lieutenant for decades. “I’d bet you, wherever (former Purdue head coach) Gene Keady is, he’s watching the game and diagnosing it. At my age, which is quite a bit older than you or even your grandparents, I know I have a limited number of years left. But I love the process. I love the girls, coaching them and their response and wanting to get better.”

Rosborough has served as Todd Holthaus’ assistant for the Pima College women’s team since 2015, helping the Aztecs reach an unprecedented level of success.

There have been other stops — including a stint as Arizona’s assistant women’s tennis coach from 2010-2014 — but the longtime Arizona assistant still has a need to impart his wisdom.

“Out here with these girls, we’re a Division II community college, and we don’t have full scholarships, and to see these kids come in and develop and work, every single day?” he said. “We do shooting drills, and finally it clicks, and I find that as rewarding as anything. I won’t kid you, I like winning — I want a chance to go to a national tournament and it irritates me to lose — but to see that lightbulb on something we’ve been working on time and time again, that’s the best.

“You give the kids the chance to feel good about themselves, and if they feel good, they play well.”

Jim Rosborough, seen coaching the Wildcats in 2004, says basketball will forever be a part of him. “It gets in your blood and you can’t stop it,” he says.

Rosborough and his wife, Kim — who runs an interior design firm in Tucson — remain active Tucson denizens, long after his tenure with the Wildcats. They often go to local plays, and to the museums; Kim is involved in her sorority at UA.

But basketball still runs through Rosborough’s blood, and he’ll be coaching the game just as long as he can.

“I made my first basket in my driveway at 3 years old,” he said. “It’s been there for a long time. You can’t get over it, period.”


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