Rotsko leaving Longmeadow after 19 years By Chris Maza firstname.lastname@example.org
LONGMEADOW – It’s the end of an era in Longmeadow High School athletics. After 19 years, head football coach and athletic director Alex Rotsko will leave behind his Lancers’ black and white to don the purple and white of the Marshwood, Maine, Hawks at the end of the 2011-12 school year. Rotsko told his players on April 2 that he would not be returning.
“Monday I had to tell the team
and that was certainly one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do,” he said. With the frustrating and at times seemingly unstoppable Wing-T offense, Rotsko led the Lancers to a 184-39 record and 15 straight Division I Super Bowl appearances, including 11 wins, in what was the most dominant streak in recent memory for Western Massachusetts football. His teams won 47 straight
regular-season games from 2005 to 2008 and 17 of his 19 seasons were winning ones.
He ended his time with the Lancers with a 35-7 drubbing of Central High School in a televised 2011 Western Mass. Super Bowl at Gillette Stadium on Dec. 3, 2011. Rotsko was first hired as the
Perron Continued from page 30
opportunity and trained with the Beijing Sports University’s men’s soccer team and played in an exhibition game against the U-17 Chinese national team. Two weeks later, Perron was introduced to the technical director of the Hong Kong First Division League, who explained the rules in Hong Kong were different because it used to be under British rule. “I nearly fell out of my chair
at the Korean restaurant we were at because I was very excited,” he said.
Perron extended his trip by a
couple of weeks and took part in four days of tryout sessions with Citizen FC and then TSW Pegasus and said both he and the goalkeeper coaches from the teams were pleased with the results. “I played very strong, mistake-
free goalkeeping. It was like, I’m finally getting my opportunity and I am not going to blow it,” Perron said. “It was indeed high level of play, but the goalkeeping, in my opinion, was not great which leaves a door open for me.” Perron said he was sure to take time to see the sights and experience the culture of Hong Kong, which he quickly fell in love with. He admitted there was some culture shock and some differences that were evident right off the bat, like the fact that the 6-foot-3 American “stuck out like a sore thumb.”
“Many times I was asked to pose for pictures with Chinese
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head coach in 1993 after a successful run as the head coach of the American International College (AIC) football team. At AIC, he coached three nationally-ranked squads and was named New England College Coach of the Year in 1985.
He said that the Longmeadow High School’s dedication to excellence in education, athletics and character is what first drew him to the program.
“Those three things pretty
adequately sum up this place and sum up what I believe in, too,” he said. “I guess you could say it was a perfect storm. Rotsko will fill the shoes of
former East Longmeadow football head coach John Caverly. Caverly, who is also the principal at Marshwood Middle School, resigned as head football coach after a 2011 season in which the Hawks finished 2-6. Rotsko explained that he
didn’t plan on leaving Longmeadow until his retirement, but the Marshwood job offered him an opportunity to coach and teach close to his summer home in York, Maine, where he and his wife planned to spend their retirement.
“I got a call in January about the position. I wasn’t looking to leave Longmeadow,” he said. “I’m not sure if there would be any other
people at many of the tourist attractions, which was pretty sweet,” he said. Perron took full advantage of his unique opportunity in Hong Kong and China and visited the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the Lama Temple, the Shaolin Temple, the home of Jet Li and the Shaolin Monks, and took in a Chinese professional game in Beijing. “This place [Hong Kong] is
absolutely gorgeous. It has seven times the skyscrapers of New York City, the climate of Florida, and is made up of multiple islands and mountains with beautiful landscapes,” he said. Perron said that while his life and career have taken some unusual turns, he wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. “Some people might question
my motives for coming over here or try and convince me I should be trying to start a conventional career
high school job other than Marshwood that I would leave here to go to.” Rotsko also expressed regret
that he would not get to see the new high school project reach its completion. “I really hoped to see that
because I was involved in getting it done,” he said. Rotsko admitted that one more
challenge may have convinced him to stay in Longmeadow – the chance to win a Massachusetts State Championship. Currently the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association’s tournament format consists of “Super Bowl” games for Eastern, Central and Western Massachusetts, crowning 18 Super Bowl Champions each year.
Rotsko has been openly critical of the system, calling it a “glorified league championship” in a 2011 MaxPreps.com
newsletter. “What we’ve done and what
we’ve accomplished has been fun, but to stay and win another league title and a Super Bowl is not high on the priority list at this point in my life,” he said. “I’m not sure I would feel the same way if there was a state championship. I’m not saying I would have definitely stayed, but it would have made my decision harder, especially with the group that is coming back. That’s a special team.”
back home and ‘settle’ for possibly doing something I am not happy doing,” he said. “I love coaching, so that is not an issue, but I set a goal for myself to try and play professionally overseas and grabbed the opportunity by the horns when it finally came to being. It is true that I may not end up on a team out here, but at least I can say I put my best foot forward and gave it a shot and have cherished the experience I gained and the people I have met over here.”
Having dreams is important,
he added, but pursuing them makes all the difference in the world. “To any kids back home, set a dream and a goal and go after it. Never stop until you are satisfied with the results,” he said.
Longmeadow High School football coach Alex Rotsko is leaving the program for a position at Marshwood High School in Maine.
Photo courtesy of longmeadowhighfootball.com
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