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Rosborough still searching

Former UA guard Hassan Adams, right, gets congratulated by former UA associate head coach Jim Rosborough after Arizona beat Stanford 76-72 Feb. 19, 2006 in Stanford, Calif. Rosborough was Arizonas lead scout on the Cardinal for a number of years.
Former UA guard Hassan Adams, right, gets congratulated by former UA associate head coach Jim Rosborough after Arizona beat Stanford 76-72 Feb. 19, 2006 in Stanford, Calif. Rosborough was Arizona’s lead scout on the Cardinal for a number of years.

Jim Rosborough was an assistant coach for one of the nation’s highly regarded collegiate basketball programs for 18 years and he coached under a Hall of Fame coach for 25 years.

Rosborough has had a part in several Final Four teams, coached numerous players who would go on to the NBA and been part of a coaching staff that won a national championship.

One thing is for certain for the one-time assistant coach under the great Lute Olson: he knows what it takes to win. College basketball coaches, whether assistant or head coach, with a winning pedigree, usually have no difficulty in job searches.

But that has not been the case for Rosborough, who, since being unceremoniously let go by Olson in 2007, hasn’t had great luck in finding another Division I job.

Many might assume that having coached alongside Olson for 27 years, 18 years at Arizona and nine at Iowa, would get the former Wildcat coach a job somewhere, but he insists it’s not that simple.

“”That’s easier said than done,”” Rosborough said of using his experience under Olson as a way of landing his next coaching gig.

It is no secret that Olson and Rosborough’s relationship is strained since the Hall of Fame coach asked his former assistant to take a non-coaching position in 2007 — which was a nice way of saying that his coaching services were no longer needed.

When Rosborough was asked whether he had spoken to Olson since being let go, he responded with a simple “”no,”” indicating that the longtime friends still have not reconciled.

After being asked to step down as an assistant coach in 2007, Rosborough continued to work for Arizona for two years, working in what he called the “”development area”” under then-athletic director Jim Livengood.

“”My biggest responsibility was to stay in touch with our former players,”” he said. “”I was trying to get them in a position to raise money. I would go over to see Jason Terry, went to see Luke Walton and I even went up to Portland to talk to Channing Frye.””

After two years of trying to raise money for the university, Rosborough decided he’d done enough at Arizona, so he decided to retire.

While working for Livengood, he found himself not getting Division I-level jobs he thought he’d have a good shot at, such as Memphis and Depaul. Rosborough also figured he would get an offer from former Arizona assistant coach Josh Pastner, who was hired at Memphis last year.

“”He was right at my side from the minute we got here,”” Rosborough said of their relationship when they both were assistants at the UA. “”He knew my strengths; I knew him like a son.””

Rosborough never got an offer from Pastner, but said he understands that the age gap between the two could have been a factor.

“”He’s like twice as young as I am and you never know how that relationship is,”” he said. “”If he would have offered, I would’ve had to think about it.””

But after just three weeks of retirement, another job came calling.

It wasn’t the Division I job he had hoped for, but it was one that would allow him to stay in Tucson.

In 2009, Rosborough was hired by Pima Community College head coach Karl Pieroway as an assistant coach. Pima could be seen as a step down for Rosborough, who coached teams filled with NBA talent, but it was an opportunity to get back into coaching.

“”Last year the Pima job was really good,”” Rosborough said. “”I would spend six to eight hours a day there,”” he added. “”Pima was a really good pace and we had a really good year.””

The Aztecs (20-16) finished seventh in the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II tournament in the 2009-10 season.

Though Rosborough, 65, has moved down in the college ranks, he still feels he can coach at the top level.

“”Not to gas myself up, but I still think I can be at a Division I school and be very good,”” Rosborough said.

The former UA assistant coach is currently in the running for the head coaching job at Pima, but wouldn’t comment on it since no decision has been made yet. While waiting to hear about the Pima job, he knows that he might have to let his D-1 dreams go.

“”Maybe there is a time when you have to let the D-1 stuff go,”” Rosborough said. “”I thought I did a pretty good job here (at Arizona), but maybe there is a time you try something new, but that’s fine.””

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