By Tom Nader
Publisher and Editor
The “Getting to Know” series is designed to help the community learn more about the coaches and administrators that are guiding today’s Portage County student-athletes to be tomorrow’s leaders.
Today, we get to know Rootstown High School girls track and field coach Kyle Rodstrom, who is in his 15th season leading the Rovers’ program.
A: Painesville, Ohio.
Q: High school?
A: Painesville Riverside. Class of 1996. Played football, ran track and played summer baseball with my brother.
A: University of Mount Union. Graduated in 2001. Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science.
Q: Current occupation?
A: Middle school physical education teacher.
Q: What inspired you to become a coach?
A: I want to give kids the best possible experience in sports. I hope they look back one day and see this as one of the most memorable times of high school.
Q: What makes being a coach at Rootstown special to you?
A: The kids.
Q: Who has been your biggest influence?
A: Ron Shafer. He taught me to be humble about success and the the relationship between your coaches and athletes can make all the difference.
Q: Funny story nobody would believe from your playing days?
A: One day at track practice in high school, I was dared to try pole vault, and I cleared nine feet. Needless to say, my coach was not too thrilled.
Q: Favorite TV show?
A: Friends, Seinfeld and The Walking Dead.
Q: Favorite movie?
A: Major League.
Q: Favorite musical artist?
A: Stone Temple Pilots, Dave Matthews Band, Pearl Jam.
Q: Favorite food?
Q: Best vacation?
A: Disney with my family.
Q: Shoutout to former teammates?
A: Aaron Huminsky, Alan Bosiaki, Jason Pilarczyk, Jeff Burhenne, Matt Domin, John Leskovan, John Shanahan, Pat Short and Adam Reed.
Q: Favorite motto or quote?
A: “Fate whispers to the warrior, you cannot withstand the storm. The warrior whispers back, I am the storm.”
Q: Describe your coaching philosophy?
A: Relationships with the kids are the most important thing. If they know you believe in them and care about them, they will work hard and believe in you as well.
Q: Favorite restaurant?
Q: Favorite teacher from high school?
A: Mr. Lauer and Mr. Ulis.
Q: Advice you would give the younger version of yourself?
A: You can’t be perfect.
Q: Favorite coach from your playing days?
A: Coach Ron Shafer.
Q: Coaching resume?
A: Assistant track and field coach at Louisville High School (2002); Rootstown Middle School boys track and field coach (2003-07); Rootstown High School girls track and field coach (2008-present).
Q: Favorite sports team?
A: Ohio State Buckeyes, Mount Union Purple Raiders.
Q: Favorite athlete then?
A: Michael Jordan, Ken Griffey Jr., Dennis Rodman.
Q: Favorite athlete now?
A: My kids.
Q: First job as a teenager?
A: Pizza Hut.
Q: Family member that always gave you the best advice?
A: My mom and dad.
Q: Favorite candy?
Q: First car?
A: 1990 Ford Escort.
Q: Best friends?
A: Denny Pickens, J.P. Moran and the entire Track House from college.