Two things brought Trevor Rolfs to the first seat on the bench of the Barton Community College women’s basketball program – budget concerns and an itch to coach again.
So with those two things in mind, Rolfs, the athletic director at the school, decided when it was time to fill the vacancy in the program, he was the right man for the job.
“This whole thing stems from budgetary concerns,” Rolfs said. “But obviously I still have an edge to coach. I believe I will do well with the program or I wouldn’t step into an additional role. I’ve missed the coaching aspect some but this is mainly a budgetary decision.
“Every USD and college in the state is having to do more with less. I just didn’t want to see anything else in the department suffer from cuts. Secondary to that I felt like I could do the job to get the program back to on top.”
Rolfs replaces Carter Kruger, who was asked to resign after three years at the helm of the program. Rolf said his decision to ask Kruger for his resignation despite improvements each of his three years was not based so much on where the program was but where it was not.
“You look at the program and it had made small steps of improvement over the last couple of years,” Rolfs said. “But the reality of it is against Butler, Hutch, and Seward we were 0-6 and our average margin of defeat was 27 points. Those numbers provide some pretty good clarity.
“Did we improve in the standings? Yes. Did we improve on being in the conversation for the conference championship? Absolutely not. We steadily improved but we were still having average seasons and at Barton we don’t strive for average.”
Rolfs said he wants to take those improvements and ramp it up.
“The goal is to take the small improvements and try to put steroids into that,” Rolfs said. “We need to be in the conversation and in the fight for the conference championship. Sure we want to win the region and get to nationals but if you are not part of the conversation to win the conference title that is not good enough for Barton standards.”
Rolfs understands the challenges he steps into as a coach and an athletic director. It is a position each of the last two AD’s at Barton had assumed at some point without great success.
Current men’s coach Craig Fletchall had some of his toughest seasons on the basketball court when he did double duty. Since giving up the AD role his basketball teams have once again been a conference title contender nearly every year. Kurt Kohler gave up volleyball coaching to be AD then for one year did double duty before moving to Fort Hays State to focus solely on coaching.
But Rolfs references a former women’s coach who was also AD for many years with great success at Barton.
“I would say yes I can handle it or I wouldn’t have put myself in the position to handle it,” Rolfs said. “There are going to be challenges, sure, but at the same time it has been done successfully here before. Jerry McCarty did it very well for 20 years.
“You are only as good as those around you. I have good support around me. That is another reason it is doable. I wouldn’t have considered it if I didn’t have a veteran assistant coach already in place. Alan Clark has seen the ropes and knows the ropes. He has a good grasp for what it takes.”
Rolfs hasn’t coached since 2012 when he became the athletic director at Barton. The seven seasons prior to that he was at the helm of the men’s basketball program at Pratt. In those seven years his teams put up a combined record of 114-85, winning the Region VI title his first year in 2005. He was named the Region VI Coach of the Year his initial season as Pratt advanced to the NJCAA tournament.
He also spent a total of seven seasons coaching in the high school ranks with combined record of 99-60 during stays at Quivira Heights, Lyons, and Mankato, earning Coach of the Years honors in 2004 in the Pike Trail League.
The job at Barton will his first as the head of a women’s program. He spent the first semester in Pratt as an assistant for the women before taking over as the head men’s coach in January. He stayed on as an assistant for the second semester but his main focus became the men’s team.
“I’ve coached girls track in high school, was an assistant with the Pratt women, my wife coaches girls, and I coached my daughters AAU and MAYB teams for six years,” Rolfs said. “So it is not like I haven’t been around girls’ coaching.
“The focus right now is get the right people in place. I feel we have that with Coach Clark. The reality is we have to get the right player personnel in here to turn this around quickly. We have some good pieces coming back now we just have to get the rest of the pieces in place.
“It’s certainly going to be a challenge but I feel like I have that edge and energy to get it done or I wouldn’t have taken it on.”