John Dobbs has been synonymous with Rochelle Township High School track and field for over two decades. Since becoming the head coach of the Hubs in the early 2000s, Dobbs has worked with hundreds, if not thousands, of student-athletes while helping many of them achieve school records, earn conference medals and qualify for the IHSA State Championships.
Dobbs has written the final chapter in his long and prosperous coaching career, however, revealing earlier this month that he will be stepping down after 18 years as Rochelle’s head coach. Dobbs said he will remain on staff for one more year, though, reverting to an assistant coaching role in what will be his 22nd season with the Hubs.
“This will be a good transition year for whoever becomes the head coach,” Dobbs said. “I’ll be an assistant coach and I’ll be there whenever the new head coach needs help… I really believe in our staff, and many of us have been working together for several years. We’ve really learned how to tweak our training and get our kids ready for the state meet so they can get on the medal stand. We were really struggling in that department when I first started here.”
Nine of Rochelle’s current varsity records and nine of the school’s current fresh-soph records were set under Dobbs, who also said he will be stepping down as head coach of the Rochelle Area Track Club and retiring from teaching after the 2020-21 school year. Outside of the 2020 season, which was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rochelle program has fielded IHSA state finalists over at least eight of the last 10 seasons. While he won’t be the head coach, Dobbs said he hopes to remain involved with the track and field program after his retirement.
“I’m definitely going to miss the rewards at the end of each year of seeing the kids improve so much,” Dobbs said. “I’m proud that we’ve been able to put such a great staff together and help our kids understand the physical and psychological training it takes to believe in themselves, become successful and become state-caliber athletes.”