by Gordon Nary
Gordon: When did you attend Xavier University, what degrees did you earn, what was you favorite course, and why was it your favorite?
Rocco: 1999-2003, 2010-2014. Bachelors of Science, Social Science. Masters of Education Curriculum and Instruction. My Favorite class had to be psychology 201 in my sophomore year. The class was very interesting to me because it taught me to look inside the way people think and questions why people were the way they were instead of judging the way they were. It has been very helpful throughout my career as both a coach and an administrator. Being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes is very important when trying to understand another person’s reason.
Gordon: When were you Manager Double Play Saloon and what is one of your favorite memories when you were there?
Rocco: My favorite memory has to be working with my family. My parents owned the bar so I got to work with my dad for over ten years. Being able to see your family on a regular basis is very important throughout life even though working together can sometimes be difficult. I feel that many problems today stem from a lack of family values.
Gordon: When you worked as a part-time bartender at Riellys Daughter, what was the most popular drink that you made?
Rocco: Reilly’s was a great local Southside establishment with mostly working class customers. The most common order would be a Miller Lite and a shot usually some kind of Irish whiskey. Double Play and Reilly’s were both very similar and the thing they had in common was the great people.
Gordon: When did you serve as Assistant Baseball Coach at Xavier University and what was the most memorable game that the team played?
Rocco: As an assistant to my former head coach Mike Dooley the most memorable game was Mike Dooley’s 800th win in a game against Trinity International. What was memorable about it was the dedication and loyalty that Mike had to Saint Xavier to be there for over 20 years and win more than 800 games
Gordon: When did you serve as Head Baseball Coach at Xavier University and what is one of your favorite memories at that time?
Rocco: I was the Head Coach at Saint Xavier from 2014-2020. Two of my fondest memoirs were winning the 2015 CCAC Tournament Championship and the 2019 CCAC regular season championship. In 2015 it was special because we got everything we could from that team they were a bunch of try hard overachieving guys. I was so proud of the way they played down the stretch winning 17 of 20 games to close out the year. Then in 2020 we just flat out had the best team in the conference and the guys that had been there for 4 years helping rebuild the program earned a conference championship. It was great to see the overall program buy in pay off. My time there was special because we built a family there it wasn’t just about baseball. I still talk to players and families from my tenure at SXU.
Gordon: When were you an Adjunct Professor at Xavier University and what courses did you teach?
Rocco: Classes taught Theory and Technique of Coaching, Coaching Leadership, Fundamentals of Physical Fitness and Wellness
Gordon: You are also Assistant Baseball Coach at Calumet College of St. Joseph. What do you enjoy most about your work?
Rocco: I enjoy being part of the developmental process for young men. I think in today’s society we are missing this development at home with the number of single parent households that kids are coming from. As a coach you are responsible for so much in the lives of young athletes its important to prepare them for life in the real world.
Gordon: You are also Director of parks and recreation at the Village of Crestwood. What are you primary responsibilities?
Rocco: As the Director of Parks and Recreation I am in charge of all programming for the Village of Crestwood Parks and Recreation Department. We have 3 parks, a Recreation Center, and an indoor pool. We run yearly programs for kids age 2 all the way up to seniors. We are in charge of growing both our youth and adult programs and increasing community involvement. We strive to provide a safe and fun atmosphere for all our residents to participate in activities. We provide youth baseball, men’s baseball, tball, boys and girls basketball, volleyball, swimming, yoga, aqua fitness, wiffle ball, soccer, and many more sports activities. We also run community events throughout the year for all ages. Some events include our Easter egg hunt, Santa’s Market, Junk in the Trunk, Trunk or treat, and National Night out just to name a few.
Gordon: Who is your favorite baseball player and why is he your favorite?
Rocco: Andre Dawson. I was a cubs fan growing up and the hawk was my favorite especially after the 89 season when he hit 49 home runs.
Gordon: Thank you a great interview.