It's easy to see why Bob Rogness garnered so much success as both a coach and teacher at Minnetonka High School during his 33-year career.
"I loved every minute of what I did," says Rogness, who retired from MHS in 1997 after teaching all levels of social studies and coaching boys' and girls' cross country as well as both boys' and girls' track and field.
The fact is, Rogness put plenty of passion into his profession. "In the classroom, I did my best to ensure that I made it a quality, learning experience for my students," says Rogness, who worked with classes ranging from accelerated to at-risk.
On the athletics field, his success is easy to measure. His girls' track teams won five big-school state championships from 1983 to 1992 while his cross country teams captured three state titles.
And while MHS has a long history of attracting high-level girl athletes to both of those teams, their success did not come by way of happenstance. Instead, Rogness used a solid, well-thought out method to build the programs into the powerhouses that they have long been.
Upon landing the job as the head girls' track and field coach in 1977, the former St. Olaf College graduate and distance runner put in place training regimens for all of his sprint and distance runners athletes to follow. He did the same for the girls on his cross country team when he became the head coach in 1979.
"The thing is, we did put in a plan for them to follow that allowed them to continue to improve," Rogness says. "But from the moment I started coaching, the girls we had on our track teams, and then the cross country teams, were very receptive to what we were coaching them. It was because of their willingness to work so hard that we became successful. And when you have that early success, other athletes want to join in and be a part of good teams as well."
There's no doubt that Rogness' eight state titles as a coach are impressive; and yet, another record shows how strong the Skippers girls' track teams were year in and year out under Rogness. From 1977 to 1986, his teams compiled a dynasty-like record in head-to-head, conference dual meets of 71 wins, two losses and a tie. That's a winning percentage of .960.
The MHS girls' track and field team's most recent state championship – the program's sixth overall – came in spring 2013 under head coach Jane Reimer-Morgan, a former assistant to Rogness.
"Bob was a great mentor for me," Reimer-Morgan says. "He started a great training regimen for the girls and wanted them to work hard, very hard, to improve. Our program is very well thought of today, and that is a testament to what Bob put in place."