Coach Rockie Bork celebrates 50th Season of Coaching

Thursday, November 11, 2021
Coach Mike West (left) and Coach Rockie Bork (right) address the eighth grade team at midfield during the last game of the season.
(Photo contributed)

On Tuesday, October 19, the MMCRU Royals Junior High football team played their last game of the season. At halftime of the game, which the Royals were up 42-6 over Unity Christian, MMCRU Middle School Principal Toby Young gave a heartfelt presentation to Coach Rockie Bork as he and Coach Mike West were addressing the team at midfield. After Mr. Young spoke many kind words over the loudspeaker, all the fans gave a much-deserved applause.

Soon after the game many players were getting their pictures taken with the coaches, as the seventh grade and eighth grade teams both celebrated 6-0 undefeated seasons.

Then on Thursday, October 21, during an end of season awards ceremony, his son, Shane Bork, presented a plaque to his father in appreciation of 50 years of coaching and teaching kids.

Shane Bork (left) presents a plaque to his father, Rockie Bork (right) in appreciation of 50 years of coaching and teaching.
(Photo contributed)

The plaque reads, "A good coach can change a game, A great coach can change a life", and that motto couldn't be more accurate of Coach Bork.

Shane stated, "My dad has coached with a lot of great coaches over the years, but he and Coach Mike West have been leading the Junior High programs since 2008, and together they have had many great teams and formed lasting bonds with many student athletes. The kids just love these two guys!"

Coach Bork graduated from Marcus High School in 1967, then graduated from USD in 1971, and got his start coaching four years in Klammath Falls and Chiloquin, Oregon, before coming to Remsen, where he's coached the last 46 years, first for Remsen-Union and what is now MMCRU. He's coached over 1500 kids during this span, including coaching his three boys, Kellie, Chad, and Shane, as well as his grandsons, Kyler and Kamden.

Coach Bork’s plaque states, “A good coach can change a game, A great coach can change a life. Rockie Bork, Congratulations on 50 years of coaching!”
(Photo contributed)

Shane played for his father in both Junior High and High School sports when it was Remsen-Union. “It wasn't always about wins even though dad has won a lot of ball games as a coach. Ultimately he wanted kids to win at life, even if it took hard life lessons from dad. This is something he's always tried to help young coaches with that have come and gone at R-U and MMCRU. He wants to see them succeed just as he did.” stated Shane.

“Fifty seasons, wow, that is half of 100 years of coaching young athletes. Dad has coached so many kids, heck some of those kids are now the parents of this year’s team, maybe even a grandparent or two,” Shane said with a laugh.

Cam Kuchel grew up next door to Coach Bork, played for Coach Bork as an athlete, and now is a head coach for the High School Basketball and Baseball programs at MMCRU, and even has Coach Bork on his basketball bench coaching along with him.

Coach Cam Kuchel stated, “Coach Bork, what a guy. I've gotten to know him in many different avenues of life. We've been neighbors since I was just over two-years-old, and I currently live in the same house next door to him and Jane with my family. When someone thinks of Remsen-Union or now MMCRU, Coach Bork is one of the first people that pop into many people's minds. He has set a standard that I strive to meet as a current coach at MMCRU. I was blessed to have been coached by him in all of the junior high sports, but one thing I truly appreciate about Coach Bork is when his athletes move on to high school, he is still there. He always supports his former athletes at their high school events. I couldn't be more thrilled that he is willing to help Coach Hodgen and I out in a volunteer role at the high school level. His experience is greatly appreciated. Thank you for being you, Coach!”

Shane continued, “I was lucky enough to play for him and was always proud to call him coach! He cherishes the values that he's taught over the years, most notably discipline. Other values important to him are playing hard, teamwork, and having fun with the kids. His old school techniques still work to this day with today’s youth; just watch how the kids are when he's around. I love how he expects the kids to do what is right when he's around, if not they will be in really good shape as they'll enjoy some extra running! But if they do what they are supposed to do, there isn't another coach out there that would give more to his players. He's always had his athlete’s back. No kid is more important than another, and they are all treated the same; he'll walk through a wall for them. He enjoys seeing athletes from the past that come up and still call him coach, and he loves watching them in their high school sports as well as keeping in touch with them in their adulthood years. I can't say thanks enough to him for all he has taught my brothers and I about being the best athletes we could be, but more importantly, how to be better men, better husbands, and better fathers. I speak for all the kids that have played for my dad, and we say thank you Coach Bork, you’re the best!"