For fans of Hutchinson sports, the Rostberg name is one that stands out.
For more than 20 years, Andy Rostberg has coached the Tigers football team, but his connection to the team dates back even further. He watched the Tigers play while his father, Grady Rostberg, coached, and played under him to win state titles in 1983 and 1984.
Over a 34-year career, Grady Rostberg had a 277-89-1 record, which alongside other local greats helped to build a tradition and reputation of excellence in Hutchinson football. He led the team to a third state championship in 1998, and had a 38-game winning streak from 1983-1985. The Tigers also won 50 straight regular season games between 1976 and 1981, and he was on the sidelines as an assistant to his son during Hutchinson’s state-title runs in 2012 and 2013.
Both Grady and Andy Rostberg are on the Hutchinson High School Wall of Fame, and they’re joined by family members Allison Rostberg and Heidi Carlson, both distinguished former Hutchinson athletes.
So it might come as no surprise that more than 200 fans, former players, colleagues and parents signed a petition to the Hutchinson School Board asking to honor the Rostberg name. The idea followed recent renovations to the stadium at S.R. Knutson Field, but picked up steam during an alumni night this past summer.
“Members of the Tiger family ... have brought forward a proposal to the school board to name the stadium portion of the facility Rostberg Stadium — to honor the Rostberg family who has done so much for Hutchinson student athletes on and off the field for more than the past 50 years,” reads a portion of the proposal. “Behind the scenes is a supportive family, including Sharon who was a Hutch School employee for many years. ... Together the Rostberg family has and continues to make an impact on many levels.”
As coaches, the Rostbergs have taught kids to be great athletes, students, citizens and family members, said John Arlt, a former Hutchinson student and athlete.
“It’s way more than Xs and Os. People forget that in a lot of communities,” he said.
He’s heard from many former players who recall life lessons taught to them by their coach, or who remember that in Hutchinson there is a focus on the team. Everyone is included. It isn’t all about winning.
Ultimately, the decision regarding the stadium will be up to the Hutchinson School Board. It may be voted on at the regular Oct. 11 meeting. Petitioners want to keep the name of the field — S.R. Knutson Field — which was named for the former superintendent. The potential new name — proposed to be Rostberg Stadium — would only be for the overlooking stadium.
Arlt said honoring the Rostberg name makes sense, and places it alongside other Hutchinson greats such as Jerry Carlson, whose name was given to Carlson Pool at Hutchinson Middle School, and Lindsey Whalen, whose name was given to Whalen Gymnasium at Hutchinson High School.
“It’s just right,” Arlt said. “Those people around in the ’70s and ’80s remember the football program, and putting Hutch on the map, not just statewide but national attention.”