Monday, April 2, 2012

Coach LaVerne Rohlfsen 1928 - 2002

Coach Rohlfsen was our introduction to high school athletics.  He was a tough-nosed guy reflecting his Marine training, was proud of his players, and was sensitive to community needs.  The true Marine didn't like long hair, and he once backed me up against the brick wall behind the band room after football practice with that steely stare and allowed as how I should get a shorter haircut - like his.  I would've had to turn half-bald, of course, but that was another story.

His offense of choice was the Single Wing, a formation long since out of style, though in the late 60s a fellow named John Aldrich used it at the Malcolm Price Lab School, also known as SCI High, and was very successful with it because competing teams never played against any other team that used the offense.  It was an offense built on "trickeration" with multiple hand-offs or fakes in the backfield so a defense often had no clue where the ball was going.  If you've never seen that before it's confusing.

When Rohlfsen moved on Buddy Mounts brought in his own concepts based on the T formation and the single wing was gone.  But it was fun to find and read about the Single Wing at a website called Football Babble.  You probably need to be an athletic director at an NCAA Division II college - like Larry Holstad -  to have any familiarity with it otherwise.  Anyway, here's the obituary on Rohlfsen.

Laverne Orville Rohlfsen, 74, Grafton, died Friday, Dec. 13, 2002 at Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa in Mason City.

Laverne was born on Oct. 25, 1928, to Orville and Clara (Beermann) Rohlfsen in Cherokee, IA. He attended country school for his first three years of schooling, then Lutheran Parochial School, Germantown, IA through the eighth grade. He attended high school in Paulina, graduating in 1947. He enrolled in Iowa State Teachers College, Cedar Falls, in 1947. He was drafted into the U.S. Marine Corps in 1951, and played football at Camp Pendleton, CA, making the base team. He was honorably discharged from the Marines in 1953. Laverne returned to college, at what is now the University of Northern Iowa, and graduated in 1954. While there he received three football letters.

His first teaching job was in Rockwell City, where he coached and taught from 1954 - 1956.

He married Mary E. Purdie on May 29, 1955, in Rockwell City. They moved to Northwood where he was a teacher and coach from 1956 to 1960. He sold insurance for two years. They moved to Grafton in 1962 where he was a junior high school teacher and coach from 1962 to 1989. He retired in 1989. Laverne sold multi-peril crop insurance for 20 years.

1 comment:

  1. Rohlfsen often wore his ISTC (now UNI) letterjacket, the one with the block "I" letter. It was another classy letterjacket, a deep purple, almost black, with the letter in gold, as I recall.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.