His mind was made up before the start of the 2016-17 season.
Jim Roffler’s hectic basketball schedule included countless days of coaching, scouting and recruiting players, along with numerous miles of travel and hours of game preparation. It was taking a toll on him and his family.
After 26 seasons of being courtside at Myklebust Gym, Roffler officially announced his retirement Wednesday as men’s basketball coach at Lower Columbia College.
“My wife, Liz, and I made the decision before the beginning of the season, and she is very supportive,” Roffler said. “She went to all of our games, whether at home or on the road.”
Roffler, 55, noted coaching college basketball was becoming an all-consuming job that was “24-7, 365.”
“I wanted to get out while I was still fairly young so I could enjoy doing stuff with Liz,” he said. “I owe that to her, and to myself. I’ve been involved in basketball my entire life, and there are other things to life that I’d like to explore.”
Roffler noted hiking, camping and outdoor activities are areas he’s interested in exploring with his wife.
“I’m at the age where I can get back in good physical condition and do things normal people do,” he said. “I love animals and nature, and haven’t been able to experience it. I want to it while I’m still healthy.”
Roffler will spend the next few weeks in what he refers to as “detox.”
“I’ve been sick for about a month or so, and I believe I have to get away from it and detox,” he said. “I’ve felt run down, but I continued to keep grinding. There’ve been a lot of different viruses come through the gym this season, and it seems that whatever came through I get since I’m so run down and tired.”
Roffler gave a solid recommendation of assistant coach Allan Brown, who will serve as interim head coach while the college decides on how to attack replacing the longtime coach.
“For the first time in many years I was able to delegate some of the responsibilities to Allan,” he said. “I really like his future, and I wouldn’t have made it through the season without him. I really have to thank him for the recruits he brought in and the season we had.”
Roffler has a list of players who have shown interest in playing for the Red Devils this fall.
“The phone has been blowing up the last couple months with recruiting, and I can’t do it when I’m not going to be here,” he said. “I can’t get them here to sign and then leave. It would turn into a fiasco for them, and the school.”
He admits he hasn’t had time to fully decompress and look back on his career.
“I’m trying not to think about it so much,” Roffler said. “I’ve received so many phone calls and texts from players and fans. I had some tears of joy in some of the feedback, and how my life has meant so much to so many. I need a few days to feel better before I start reminiscing.”
Roffler is unsure of his future plans, but he knows it won’t include coaching.
“I have some things perking which aren’t so demanding,” he said. “My brother has a telephone company in Olympia, and he’s hinted that he’s interested in having me work for him.”
The Rofflers will probably continue to live in their home in the hills above LCC.
“Liz loves her job as a teacher, so there’s a chance we’ll stay here,” he said. “I’ll probably get a flexible job with a little travel since I’m open to anything which is a challenge. It’s also time to become a grandpa, watch games coached by ex-players, and visit Hawaii to watch my youngest son, Jared, play basketball.”
Whichever direction LCC goes in its search for a new coach, Roffler is content he left a solid foundation for the program to build on.
“I’m confident LCC will do it the right way and continue on,” he said. “I wouldn’t trade my coaching experience there for anything, and I poured my heart and soul into that program.”
“I wouldn’t trade my coaching experience there for anything, and I poured my heart and soul into that program.” LCC coach Jim Roffler