Rob LaRue stands out as one of Minnetonka's most accomplished multi-sport athletes, excelling in football, hockey and baseball during his time at Minnetonka.
When Rob tried out for Boys Hockey at Minnetonka High School as a freshman, he landed a spot on the varsity team. However, that was just the beginning of his exceptional athletic career. As a sophomore, he added varsity football and, as a junior, varsity baseball. Rob set records in hockey and became an all-time leader in wins, saves and games played. In football, he set school and state records for receptions and yards. By the time he graduated, Rob had won awards in all three sports, most notably earning All-State honors in multiple sports and being named 1997 Minnetonka Male Athlete of the Year Award.
Rob continued his journey of extraordinary athletic achievement at the University of Minnesota. At a school as big and competitive as the U of M, most athletes would be proud to earn a spot on just one of the collegiate sports teams. For Rob, one sport was never enough. Though he originally attended the U of M on a scholarship for football and baseball, Rob "wound up" on the hockey team halfway through his sophomore year, after two of the teams' goalies left unexpectedly. Rob was the first male since 1968 to play on three separate sports teams for the U of M.
Though Rob did not continue with sports after college, he acknowledges that his history with sports has a major impact on his life today. As the president and owner of Baldwin Supply, his family's industrial distribution business, Rob tackles challenges in the business world the same way he did in sports.
"A lot of the leadership I learned in sports I apply every day in business," he explains. "All the hard work, discipline, and passion that you learn in athletics--all those things carry over into whatever you're doing."
Rob has also given back to the athletic community at MHS by coming back to coach. In 2002-2004 and 2011-2013, he served as an assistant coach on the Boys Hockey team, an experience he calls "very rewarding." Rob also helped out with planning and fundraising for the development of the first Pagel ice arena. "It was fun to give back and see the project through," he says.
Rob has many great memories from his time playing sports at Minnetonka. As a captain on all three teams, he led the teams to multiple state tournaments and conference championships. Rob encouraged values such as hard work, discipline and mastery of the fundamentals that pushed the teams to success. Above all, Rob remembers a unique sense of community on the teams that can only come from working hard and competing together.
"Looking back, you don't necessarily remember the games or details as much as you do the success of the teams, the friendships and some of the fun, side moments you have with classmates," Rob says.
Rob encourages students of today to get involved in a variety of sports or activities, noting that his passion for one sport often fueled his passion in others. He also emphasizes the idea of living in the moment and valuing the opportunities being offered in the present. "People are always telling you about how time flies, and it's really true," says Rob. "It's great to have goals and high aspirations, but don't be in a rush for what's next. Enjoy the moment and embrace where you're at now."