The chess game of coaching

City College assistant coach Bob Roehl goes over play during a time out in the fourth quarter in the game against Delta College in the North Gym on Jan. 15th.  Photos by Dianne RoseCity College assistant coach Bob Roehl goes over play during a time out in the fourth quarter in the game against Delta College in the North Gym on Jan. 15th. Photos by Dianne Rose
City College assistant coach Bob Roehl goes over play during a time out in the fourth quarter in the game against Delta College in the North Gym on Jan. 15th. Photos by Dianne Rose

City College assistant coach Bob Roehl goes over play during a time out in the fourth quarter in the game against Delta College in the North Gym on Jan. 15th. Photos by Dianne Rose

During a recent City College women’s basketball team practice, assistant basket- ball coach Bob Roehl intervened between plays, questioning players on the details of the play they just ran and the person to whom they just passed the ball.

Roehl became part of the team at the beginning of the 2015 basketball season. Head coach Julia Allender made the announcement on City College’s official website in October.

“He’s very good at what he does,” says Allender. “He has a ton of knowledge on the game, importance of success, and x’s and o’s wise. It’s incredible to have people around you who are just as good, if not bet- ter, at all times. In my opinion, it’s great.”

According to Roehl, he had wanted to play sports since he was a little kid. Throughout high school, he found himself juggling basketball and baseball.

The strenuous schedule of being a two-sport athlete made it difficult for him to focus on either sport.

“It wasn’t easy,” says Roehl. “I played [basketball] in the fall, and even though we were practicing basketball,
I would play baseball on the weekends. Then before the end of basketball season, [I] would work on baseball. So when basketball ended, baseball season started.”

Attending Brigham Young University, West Valley College and then San Francisco State, Roehl majored in physical education. Once he began college, he decided to quit baseball to focus on basketball.

I quit playing baseball and played college basketball instead. I was much better at baseball than I was basketball.”

Roehl said he never found out if he could make it to the big leagues.

“It would be different if you tried to play pro baseball, and you were in the minor leagues, and you weren’t good enough — I never found out if I was good enough.”

When college was over, Roehl says, he found himself wanting to coach.

“Here’s a chance to have a life where I can enjoy competition, enjoy sports and enjoy others,” he had said.

Roehl loves the competitive nature of coaching.“You can match your wits against other coaches. From that stand- point it’s like a chess game.”

Throughout his career, Roehl has coached high school and college basketball teams. In 1972, Roehl began coaching

at Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory High School. Since then, he has coached teams in California, Idaho and Denmark.

Before making his way to City College, Roehl was given the opportunity to coach in Denmark.

“I had been out of coaching for a little while and wanted to coach again,” says Roehl. “I knew somebody who had contacts with people in Europe and Asia.”

In Denmark he coached basketball at the top level two different times for more than three years. During one stint in Denmark, Roehl was trying to reach Allender, in her first year of coaching at City College, to arrange to watch a game.

“He’s been a longtime family friend, he’s known my parents for 30-plus years, he coached me for a bit when I was in high school, and then he’s been a mentor of mine since I started coaching,” says Allender.

After seeing the women’s basketball team play, Roehl says Allender asked if he wanted to be an assistant coach for the team. With his background, Roehl believes he has a lot to bring the team.

“Julia and I share a philosophy of coaching,” says Roehl. “I would also

expect my experience and success I’ve had in the past would help these players achieve their goals.”

“I feel like he has a lot more knowledge about the game,” says basketball player Aleea Reese.

According to Roehl, the team didn’t have a good last season. Roehl wanted to come to City College to help Allender establish the women’s basketball team as a power program.

“He’s really committed to us,” says player Jasmine Bernardo. “He breaks down drills for us.”

But Roehl gives some players more than basketball knowledge.

“He actually gives us lifelong lessons,” says basketball player Corina Tacardon. “It’s not just for basketball.”

Roehl says he is pleased with the progress of the women’s basketball team.

“We’ve improved to last year’s one loss to this year being ranked high in the state in Northern California,” says Roehl. “We’ve done a great job.”