By Ray Hamill — Blake Rossman was destined to be a coach, and now he’ll get his opportunity.
The former Hoopa High and College of the Redwoods player was added recently to the Corsairs’ men’s basketball coaching staff, where he will serve as an assistant next season while he weighs up his next career move.
And that comes as no surprise to Rossman’s former Hoopa High head coach Robbie Thompson, who could see his coaching qualities at a young age.
“Sometimes you can see it with kids, and you could always see it with Blake,” Thompson said. “He had a different way of seeing the game.”
Thompson described Rossman as a “player/coach” in his two seasons in charge of the program, and he played a pivotal role in shaping the young player’s outlook.
“That really helped me understand the game,” Rossman said of his time playing for Thompson.
The former Warrior, who played at CR for the past two seasons, will join head coach Ryan Bisio’s staff at an exciting time for Corsairs basketball.
In just his first season in charge, Bisio led the CR men to a conference title and a playoff win this past winter, after they went winless the previous year.
Rossman was on both of those teams and got to witness first-hand the change in the program’s fortunes.
“Last year it didn’t feel like a college setting,” he said. “This year it just really felt organized. We were like a big family. Everyone loved each other.”
And the coaches, according to Rossman, played a big part in that turnaround.
“They were incredible,” the 2017 Hoopa graduate said. “Bisio and (assistants Justin Claus and Taylor Morrow), from the get-go they were focused on turning the program around and they sure did that. They put us in a position to do that.”
Rossman, a three-sport athlete for the Warriors, will follow in the footsteps of his father, Dusty Rossman, who coached sports at Hoopa for 22 years.
“It’s in my blood,” he said. “And when Bisio invited me to join the staff, I jumped at it.”
Bisio sat down with the player late in the season to see if he would be interested in a coaching role with the team after seeing something in him this season.
“I felt that throughout the year he exhibited a natural leadership ability, and he really believes in the way we want to play,” Bisio said. “I think it’ll be a great fit.
“The players respect him. He was an absolute joy to coach, and he has a really high basketball IQ.”
Rossman says he will take next year away from his studies in order to figure out his next move, and has not ruled out the possibility of playing again at a four-year school.
“I’m going to focus on the coaching and maybe even try to improve my game, and I’ll see how I feel after this year,” he said, adding that he is “still trying to figure out what I really want to do.”
It’s not his first venture into coaching, having served as an assistant on Thompson’s staff at Eureka High two years ago.
“He’s going to be a great addition at CR,” Thompson said.
Rossman is confident the recent success for the Corsairs will continue, especially with so many of the players returning next year.
“I think this is the start of the turnaround for CR basketball,” he said. “We want to keep moving forward. We have to just stay focused and drive on from this season and not take a step back.
“We have to want more.”