Rosner's 41-year coaching career ends with loss to Barrington
With 31.5 seconds left in Monday's opening round of the Class 4A Barrington regional, the game was stopped as Fillies girls basketball coach Babbi Barreiro led her players onto the court to honor the man coaching their opponent.
A standing ovation followed for legend George Rosner, who was coaching his final game of a 41-year career as Streamwood's girls basketball coach.
After his team dropped a 53-18 decision to the Barreiro's state power and Mid-Suburban League champion (25-5), Rosner said he was touched by the moment.
"That was very nice what Barrington did," said Rosner, who began as the Sabres head coach in 1980. "I didn't expect that and appreciated it very much."
Neither Rosner nor Barreiro could have ever expected to be facing each other in Rosner's final game of a career in which he also spent four years as the head coach at Palatine.
When Barreiro attended the Doug Bruno camp in Lisle as a sophomore player from Elk Grove High School in 1983, Rosner was her coach.
"I remember it like yesterday," Barreiro said. "You just never know how you're going to run into people again. So this was special to be part of tonight. Hats off to George Rosner, obviously an institution in the game of girls basketball in Illinois and we were really honored to have him here tonight."
Also on hand were Rosner's wife Kathy, a handful of Streamwood players from the mid 2000s and a player from Rosner's first team he coached at St. Monica in Chicago.
"He's just one of those guys you would do anything for," said Streamwood junior varsity coach and 2007 grad Aly Del Fava who has known Rosner since she was seven years old. "It's incredible how he dedicated his life to not only coaching but teaching (civics and economics). He put so much of his life into this and it's heartbreaking to see it go."
One of his biggest stars, all-stater Chris Francke Tomasiewicz, couldn't attend Monday but said she was thankful for all the lives Rosner positively impacted but most thankful for the impact he had on her entire family.
"The best high school coach a girl could have," she said. "He was an excellent role model, had a great positive approach and created a family environment."
Rosner now gets to spend time with his family, including grandchildren.
"It's a little hard to handle right now," said Rosner, who retired from teaching in 2012. "I've got a lot of emotions running through me. I know it's over but it will hit me harder when I'm driving home."
Junior Sophie Swanson scored the game's first 6 points and led Barrington with 18 points, 5 steals and 4 rebounds in about 24 minutes. Teammate Laura Mahlum added 10 points. Jamia Gatlin led the Sabres (3-28) with 5 points.
"I know my girls played hard tonight," Rosner said. "We were definitely overmatched. We played a super team, maybe the best we've seen all season. But our girls gave it all they had and with one starter missing."
"The girls did a nice job," Barreiro said. "I thought we started out a little flat. We were anxious to get the tournament going and that showed a little. I'm glad to get a game under our belt and hopefully be on our way."
Barreiro's top-seeded team will move on to face No. 4 McHenry (12-20) for the regional title at 7 p.m. on Thursday.
"She (Barreiro) is a credit to her profession for sure," Rosner said. "I respect her very much. I remember her as a little girl and she really hustled on the court."
Rosner ended his career at 468 wins.
"He was our childhood," Del Fava said. "And seeing it end is a little heartbreaking, the end of an era."
"I think the program is in good shape," Rosner said. "There is a lot of nice young talent and kids coming up who can play. I think it will be in good hands."
Just like it has been the past five decades.