Longtime Mount Si coach and teacher to retire

Another longtime Mount Si High School coach and teacher has decided to call it quits. After 32 years of teaching, the last 29 of which have been at Mount Si, longtime teacher and coach John Roeber decided to retire at the end of this school year.

Roeber either was head coach or assistant coach of several sports from the mid-1970s until this season. Most of his coaching time was spent with baseball, where he was the assistant coach from 1975 until 1982, and softball, serving as head coach from 1981-88, then again from 1989 to 1992. He also did two tours of duty as an assistant softball coach, first from 1995-99, then again from 2002 until this year, working with current Wildcat head coach Larry White. He has been on the coaching staff for the last three Mount Si softball state tournament title teams, including the one in 2004, which finished second.

Roeber will miss one important thing. "You miss the kids. I told Larry [White] that the time I was on the field, when you're ending your career and you know it's coming to an end, that the time you spend on the field is sometimes the best hours of your day," he said.

Roeber has taught for so long at Mount Si that some of his students today are the sons and daughters of students he taught when he first arrived at the school in the mid-1970s. Even though public K-12 education has evolved over the last 30-plus years, Roeber still maintained some core principles in his classroom.

"First thing you need to know is that I'm probably a very different teacher now at the age of 55 than I was ... at 27. So people change; you become more experienced. I'm still a disciplinarian. I believe you've got to have classroom management in order to be a successful teacher. It's a lot of fun when a student comes in and says, 'You know, my dad had you as a teacher, my mom had you as a teacher,' and not all of them are good memories, but that's OK," Roeber said.

He also has witnessed the softball program's growth, from being a strong slowpitch program back in the day to what it is now; a very good, and growing, fastpitch one. "I can remember the first softball field at Mount Si High School because I had to pretty much build it myself. It was made of 4-by-4 posts with pig wire and it was located kind of between the tennis courts and the new main entry to the school where the parking lot is today."

Roeber said that Mount Si now possesses "the best park I've ever seen for a softball and probably a baseball team. It's fun to see the evolution of the game and to see the community actually buy in and have top-notch facilities."

Roeber has one thing planned out in his immediate future. "To be honest with you, I'm looking forward to going fishing in September, and I'm looking forward to going fishing in May," he said.

A graduate of Curtis High School near Tacoma in 1969, Roeber was thrilled to see his high-school alma mater's softball team in the 4A state tournament this year. "It was kind of full circle for me to see the blue and white jerseys of the high school I graduated from at my last state tournament," he said.

Roeber was the second Mount Si coach to announce his departure this month. As reported in last week's Valley Record, longtime science teacher and boys' basketball coach Garrick Phillips resigned to take the same two positions at Spokane's University High School.

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