Jim Rolando, who built Huntley’s boys track and field program into a powerhouse, has stepped down after 13 seasons as the Red Raiders head coach.
Rolando led Huntley to McHenry County, Fox Valley Conference and Class 3A sectional championships in each of the last four years and had 13 different athletes achieve All-State status in sprint relays.
“Everything is in good hands,” Rolando said. “There’s a great group of kids, a great group of sprinters and jumpers, it’s a great opportunity for someone else to come in and keep things going, but put their own stamp on stuff too. It was just a good time (to step down).”
Rolando was a meticulous coach who rarely missed any details. His runners appreciated his knowledge and ability to maximize their potential. The 4x100-meter relay team of Antonio Passarelli, Zach Tepper, Ron Noll and Eric Mooney took seventh, giving the Raiders a medal in that Class 3A race at the IHSA Boys Track and Field State Meet for the fourth consecutive year.
No other local team ever medalled in that race in the larger class. The runners were quick to give Rolando the credit.
“I appreciated those comments from Zach and Antonio,” Rolando said. “In the last 10 years, we’ve pretty much won the 4x100 at most of the big events. That’s always sort of been my thing. Being able to continue that with a whole bunch of different kids was awesome.”
Rolando’s father, Jim, has been battling cancer and suffered through a rough stretch earlier this year that required him to travel to Carlinville to see his parents. His father is doing much better now. That, combined with the number of meets Huntley hosts (FVC Indoor, McHenry County and sectionals) also were factors.
“The month of May probably had a little to do with my final decision,” he said. “That last month could not have gone any better. For us to be able to do all of those things, it seemed like a good point.”