More than 20 years ago, Carlton Rosemond’s basketball coaching career began in interesting fashion — as a spectator rooting for his sister’s team.
“A parent of one of the team’s coaches saw me coaching from the sideline essentially,” said Rosemond, who was introduced as Oak Park and River Forest High School’s new girls’ basketball coach June 11.
“She said I should help coach, but I was just there to support my sister. I didn’t want to necessarily get involved with coaching, but she said the coach needed help. So after the game, she forced me to introduce myself to him, and he said anytime you want to come and help out, you can. And I got into coaching that way.”
Rosemond spent 15 years as a coach in Evanston’s Fellowship of African-American Men league (FAM), which was created to help youth stay off the streets. Then he spent eight seasons at Evanston Township High School, coaching at all levels, including leading the junior varsity team for five years.
He said he hopes to use his years of experience to create success for the Huskies. Rosemond said one of the things that appealed to him about OPRF was that the community reminded him of Evanston.
“[Evanston coach] Brittany Johnson knew I had a desire to become a head coach. She told me the OPRF job was open,” Rosemond said. “I asked her if it was something I should try, and she said I should apply for it. OPRF and Evanston are like sister schools in that they mirror each other in so many ways, including the diversity in the school and community.”
Rosemond has been working with his new players for the past two weeks and is impressed with what he’s seen so far. He feels that talent, discipline and commitment will be the ingredients for the Huskies’ success this coming season.
“We have some good talent,” he said. “We have some tools to be successful, even this year. But I believe with any success you have to lay groundwork and there has to be a foundation, and these last two weeks we’ve been building on what we want to be as a program going forward.”
Rosemond said he doesn’t like boring basketball and wants OPRF to push the tempo on both ends. He wants to play at a fast pace, but in order to do that the Huskies have to play sound defensively.
“Defense is all about effort, desire and heart, and I think these girls have given a lot of effort and heart,” he said. “They have a lot of desire to want to be good. Offensively, we’ll push the tempo, but we’ll also work on half-court sets. You’ve got to effective playing both styles.”
Rosemond is excited to be at OPRF and start a new chapter for Huskies’ basketball. He’s eager to see what things will look like when November begins.
“I want to build great relationships with the girls, parents, and community,” he said. “What you can see come November is a team that is hungry and has the desire to be successful. We’re going to lay it all out on the court and play together, and I think you’ll see a team that’s different from past years.”