PARACHUTE — Rory Roder is in as Grand Valley High School’s baseball coach for the 2014 season after the Cardinals were coached three seasons by Jacob Gray.
Roder is a 1989 graduate of Bemidji High School and played collegiately at Indian Hills Community College in Centerville, Iowa, and Upper Iowa University in Fayette. His coach at Indian Hills, Rick Mathews, is the former pitching coordinator and bullpen coach for the Colorado Rockies.
In 2008, he moved with his wife, Kristy Wallner, to Colorado to expand their careers. Wallner works for the Bureau of Land Management and coaches the girls basketball team at Rifle High School. Roder is a plumber with Young Services, but plans to help Gene Olson, a fellow baseball coach, work on his ranch when baseball season comes.
Since Roder’s childhood, he has loved baseball. During his baseball career, he played pitcher and third base. About eight years ago, he began his coaching career in Minnesota, coaching for the Babe Ruth League.
He has been a volunteer coach for Grand Valley for a couple years. When the opportunity for the head coaching job opened, he took it wanting to make a difference in the baseball community.
“My overall goal is to help build Grand Valley’s baseball program,” he said. “I want to build the youth programs and expand summer clinics for the older kids.”
To do this, he will work with the current recreational programs and baseball coaches.
Doyle Radal, a current youth coach, led his team to a title victory this summer. “With what Doyle has done as a coach for the younger kids, I really think that when these kids get to the high school level they will have the fundamentals and skills necessary to compete.”
Last season, Grand Valley finished with a 5-12 overall record. Roder hopes to eventually improve the Cardinals’ win-loss ratio, but for now he wants to focus on getting more kids involved in the baseball program.
However, Roder isn’t only passionate about playing the game; he also enjoys sharing his knowledge with youth.
“I love teaching the game and watching players grow,“ he said. “[My coaching philosophy] involves showing the players that hard work and discipline pay off.”
Further, success builds pride, but so does hard work and commitment to team and individual goals, he said. Roder also wants this year’s baseball team to work together and have a strong team bond, a brotherhood bond.
“Team unity is important,” Roder said. “And once the players focus on their team effort and not just their individual efforts, then the outcome of the game will show for itself.”
Now, Roder is looking forward to this season and his future seasons as baseball coach at Grand Valley.