Dave Rochlitz, center, was honored in the Macomb Lutheran North college soccer game on September 24. He retired in August after 40 years of Lutheran education and is the former college football coach.
MACOMB TOWNSHIP – Dave Rochlitz spent 17 years roaming the sidelines of football games as the head coach of Macomb Lutheran North.
It was only fitting that the school honored Rochlitz on September 24 for his Lutheran education at halftime of the boys’ football game.
For 40 years, Rochlitz has been involved in Lutheran education and ministry.
Rochlitz of Fraser retired at the end of August as the school’s guidance director, a position he held for 28 years.
Rochlitz, 66, hasn’t coached in a decade but said it was good to see former players and students.
At half-time he was joined on the track along with former footballers and assistant coaches.
As a soccer coach, Rochlitz guided the team to nine Metro Conference championships, nine district championships, three regional championships, and a state runner-up in the 1995 MHSAA Class B final.
Ron Patti was a student at North from 1994 to 1998 and was part of the Rochlitz varsity team for three years.
“He was a great guy, he was tough on you, but down to earth,” he said. “He took us to the national final when I was in second year, which was the highlight of my experience with him.”
Dan Wolka wore a football shirt that read “Balls in the Net”, one of Rochlitz’s slogans. Wolka was in North at the same time as Patti.
“He was more old school than what you have now as a coach,” he said. “He was fair enough and set us up to do our thing without getting too rigid.”
Rochlitz said that no matter how talented his team were, they always played hard.
“The good thing about Lutheran North is that we were always competitive no matter what,” he said.
Northern Lutheran teacher Steve Slagel worked with Rochlitz for 22 years.
“I remember him almost everyday, walking down the hall, carrying his coffee mug and whistling,” Slagel said. “It was impressive to see how he handled the influx of children changing their schedules. Every semester the queue was at the door, and he was always gracious and understanding.
Slagel pointed out that Rochlitz was the graduation voice of Lutheran North, who for more than 20 years read the names of senior graduates as they walked across the stage at the ceremony.
Born and raised in southwest Chicago, Rochlitz graduated from Mankato State University in Minnesota. He obtained a master’s degree in counseling from Concordia University in Chicago. He taught at Lutheran South High School in Chicago for six years, then moved to Michigan, working at Lutheran East High School in Harper Woods for six years as a counselor, teacher and coach.
“I struggled in high school as a student, and when I got a job in Minneapolis as a group home counselor, I decided to do it at the high school level,” said Rochlitz in response to what drew him to the counseling profession. .
At Lutheran North he taught the New Testament, Christian doctrine, and some physical education classes.
“The Lutheran community in the North has been very kind to me,” Rochlitz said. “Working in Lutheran schools has been such a blessing, not only to share the faith with students, but also to work with staff and teachers who are Christians and share Christian values. ”
Rochlitz explained that in Detroit metro schools, guidance directors function more as registrars, handling things like the main schedule and college admissions applications.
“It was more about academic counseling, and when students have social or individual difficulties, you talk to students and parents and try to refer them to professional counselors who do it full time,” he said. declared.
Put simply, Rochlitz said working with students and people gave him the most enjoyment as a professional.
Rochlitz and his wife Joy, who graduated from Northern Lutheran University in 1976, have three children and two grandchildren.