He died a little more than five months after leading the Hurricanes to the
District 11 4A title and four months after resigning after seven seasons at
The numbers show that the former Nazareth High and
player and coach went 117-73, including 25-6 last
season when he was named The Morning Call's co-coach of the year.
But Rothrock's impact went well beyond the wins and losses.
''It's a huge loss,'' Liberty athletic director Sam Senneca said, fighting
back tears. ''Todd meant so much to us at Liberty. He impacted so many young
lives. Many of our players considered him to be a second father.
''With him I never had to worry about anything, I knew everything would be
taken care of. He was a wonderful coach and an even a better man.''
Senneca said that Rothrock had planned to stay close to the program and his
successor, Chad Landis.
At Cedar Beach on Tuesday night, Liberty played its last game of the season
in the Allentown Summer League with heavy hearts.
Assistant coach Mike Kashner filled in for Landis, who had spent much of the
last three days with Rothrock's family at the hospital.
''We wanted to come out and play hard for Coach Rothrock because that's what
he would have wanted us to do,'' said 'Canes player Tommy Hoffman, a
soon-to-be senior who had tears streaming down his cheeks.
''We're going to dedicate the coming season to him. We'll play with him in
our hearts always. He was a very good person. I just wish I would have
gotten to know him better.''
And, that's how many of the fans felt at Cedar Beach on Tuesday night.
''He didn't know who I was or my name, but he always said hello,'' said Tony
Curto, whose son, Stefano, played at Central Catholic a few years ago.
''He always had the most wonderful smile, which showed everyone how much he
enjoyed what he was doing,'' said Karen Smitreski, an Allentown teacher who
has a nephew who plays for CCHS.
''He was just a real good guy,'' said Pleasant Valley coach Ken Piontkowski,
shaking his head. ''You'd never say anything bad about a person at a time
like this, but the truth is, Todd was such a likeable guy. I don't know
anyone who didn't like him because he was such a positive person. It's such
Several coaches said the same thing about Rothrock, emphasizing that he did
things ''the right way.''
''The first varsity game I ever coached was against Liberty and Coach
Rothrock,'' Dieruff coach Tom Stoudt said. ''From that first night, he made
me feel welcome. With him, it was always about everybody else and he was
always so supportive of you. He was just the classiest man.
''I respected him so much. He dealt with a lot of the same issues and
situations at Liberty that I deal with at Dieruff and I'd go to him for
advice. He became a mentor to me.''
Freedom coach Joe Stellato said that although they coached at rival schools,
he and Rothrock were friends.
''He was a better man than he was a basketball coach and he was a great
coach,'' Stellato said.
The Allentown League playoffs, which begin tonight, have been dedicated in
''We're in the playoffs,'' Stoudt said. ''But right now, I'm not sure that
matters all that much.''