Trevor Rolfs’ passion for the Golden Belt and the surrounding area is so transparent it could probably be seen from here to the Rocky Mountains.
Rolfs, the newly hired athletic director at Barton Community College, was raised on a farm near Lorraine and Geneseo, some 15 miles from the Barton County line.
For Rolfs, formerly Pratt Community College’s men’s head basketball coach since 2004, accepting the Barton AD post is a dream job.
“This is the best of both worlds for me,” Rolfs said, “because I get to be in a professional position that I really enjoy at a place that’s special to me because I grew up watching the Cougars and played here.
“To be able to lead this department and be a part of the Jayhawk Conference in this capacity and, at the same time, be close to my farming interests, my family and my country life, it’s the best of both worlds. At the end of the day, it was an easy decision for me to take the position and move.”
Not many athletic directors take a week off every summer to head back to the family farm and help with the wheat harvest.
Rolfs is the exception.
“My contract at Barton started on June 1,” Rolfs said. “I really wanted to get in here before all of the coaches scattered for the summer. I was here a couple weeks in May and kind of got some things established in going in the direction I expected it to go. I was able to meet with all of the coaches personally and then we had a collective coaches meeting altogether.
“I worked a couple weeks in May and a couple weeks in June to fill that June contract, which worked out great because that allowed me to harvest with the family. I usually take some vacation time in the summer to cut wheat.”
As far as farming is concerned, Rolfs says he’s hooked.
“I grew up on a farm right on the Ellsworth County and Rice County line,” Rolfs said. “We have farms in both Ellsworth and Rice counties. It’s in my blood and I can’t get it out of my blood.
“My dad (Dennis) and brother (Brett) run the farm operation. I’m still involved a little. I actually have some ground that I farm myself in Rice County. I’d love to pick up some farmland in Barton County, don’t get me wrong.”
Rolfs has swiftly worked his way up the ladder one rung at a time.
After establishing himself as an area basketball star at Quivira Heights High School, Rolfs went on to play for two years at Barton (1991-92 and 1992-93), the second year becoming an All-Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference Western Division selection.
Rolfs finished his basketball eligibility at Bethany College in Lindsborg in 1994-95 and, still having athletic eligibility, became an all-conference wide receiver in the fall of ’95.
After graduating from Bethany in ’96, Rolfs returned to his high school alma mater to coach boys’ basketball and had a 63-30 record over four seasons, topped off by a berth in the Class 1A state tournament in 1999.
From there, Rolfs accepted the Pratt post and guided the Beavers, who placed third in the Jayhawk West, to their first NJCAA Region VI championship in 16 years in his first season in 2004.
Prior to his appointment at Barton, Rolfs had also been serving as the assistant athletic director to Pratt AD Kurt McAfee.
Rolfs is married to the former Kimberly Strong of Abilene, who teaches physical education and coaches volleyball at Pratt High School. The Rolfs have a daughter, Taylor, and a son, Trey.
While Barton is in the final stages of completion of the track and soccer complex, renovations also include the men’s basketball locker room and fitness facilities inside Kirkman Athletic Center, along with a facelift in Barton’s baseball dugout.
“There are a tremendous amount of exciting things going on with the athletic department out here on the hill this summer,” Rolfs said. “I have visions to upgrade all of our facilities and while we’re doing some of that at the present time, I really need to get out in the community and raise some funds to finance some big projects.
“But you can’t get the cart ahead of the horse. There’s things internally here that I want to get situated before I can get out in the community more.”
In just the past few months, Barton has already hired a new volleyball coach (Patrick Hall), a new women’s soccer coach (Shawn Uhlenhake) and a women’s assistant basketball coach (Carter Kruger).
Hall, like Rolfs, comes to Barton from Pratt, where he spent the last five seasons, becoming a three-time Jayhawk West volleyball coach of the year.
Moreover, Todd Moore, Barton’s director of admissions and promotions the last seven years, has been promoted to assistant athletic director and sports information director.