Making An Impact – EC Staff Spotlight on TJ Rosene

In 13 seasons as the head coach of the Emmanuel Men’s Basketball team, TJ Rosene has made an impact. During his tenure, Rosene has led the Lions to 13 consecutive 20-win seasons, 6 national championship appearances (NAIA/NCCAA) and 2 NCCAA Championship wins, a NCAA DII – Conference Carolina title (2019) and an appearance in the NCAA DII Tournament (2019). His greatest achievement however was made off the court in the lives of his players and staff members. Earlier this month, Coach Rosene was recognized for this by being named one of the Top 50 Impactful Coaches in NCAA DII/NAIA by Silver Waves Media!

Below several of Coach Rosene’s former players share how he helped shape them as both basketball players and men –

Coach Rosene saved my life. My senior year I experienced the greatest loss of my life. While working at the computer lab, I got a call that my grandfather passed away while recovering from surgery to remove a cancerous tumor. My grandfather is my hero and the man I had always strived to be like. Getting that call turned my world upside down. During that call I fainted from the shock and Erin Rosene was the first person I remember right there with me. She helped me get back to my apartment where my emotions took over. All I wanted to do was see him one more time. I decided to go to the gymtorium where I always felt comfort. 

While crying in the gym, Coach saw me and brought me into his office. He just talked to me and allowed me to talk to him. He asked questions about my grandfather and gave me words of encouragement. After about an hour of talking to Coach TJ, I pulled out a bottle of prescription pain pills and sat them on his desk. 

I don’t know what Coach had going on at that time. We were early in our season and I’m sure he was busy preparing for our next opponent, but he took the time to make sure I was comforted. That day Coach drove me about an hour away to meet my parents and head out of town to be with my family because he knew I was in no shape to drive. 

When I think about impactful coaches that I’ve had throughout my playing career, they all have something in common, impacting me beyond the game of basketball. What TJ did for me that day, he may not even know how that affected me. He genuinely cares about his players both on and off the basketball court. Coaching is about relationship building. Finding common ground with your players, caring about their well-being and being vulnerable with them and allowing them to be vulnerable with you. 

I don’t know where I would be if it wasn’t for Coach Rosene or if I would be here at all. He’s been a great example of a father, husband, man of God and leader. – Tedrick “Teddy” Hudson

You are one of the best humans I have ever come across in my lifetime. I am forever grateful for you giving me the chance to play basketball for you and for believing in me when I didn’t believe in myself (you still do this a lot!). You gave me a chance at coaching and have molded me into the man and coach I am today. You have given my family more than we can ever repay you. Your impact transcends Emmanuel and PGC, it goes far beyond what we will ever see on this earth. I am so grateful I get to witness your impact first-hand daily. 

Thank you Coach for all you have done and do for myself and so many like me. Love you man! – Graham Maxwell (current Associate Head Coach, EC Lions)

Coach Rosene is a great coach, father, and mentor. Most of all, he is a genuine and pure hearted person that brings out the best in all of his players on and off the court. I am thankful for Coach Rosene for taking a chance on a non-recruited, 6-foot post players like myself, and helping me reach my potential as a player and a person. I know that he will continue to do great things and help young boys become the men God intended them to be! – Shawn Stroud

Coach Rosene is probably the most influential coach and person I’ve ever came in contact with. His heart is pure and his intentions are worth gold. His understanding and knowledge about the game of basketball is something I appreciated. But something more I valued than his basketball knowledge is his genuineness as a person. It wasn’t just about basketball to him, it was about teaching young boys how to become strong men through the game. Coach is the type of person to give you the shirt off his back if you needed it, a real stand-up guy. – Kendrick Colvin

Coach Rosene impacted me by helping me see beyond my nose as a young adult who acted instinctively. He taught lessons in accountability, hard conversations, and growth mindset. No matter what issues occurred he stood as a firm leader and kept the EC Family “TOGETHER“ – Kurtis Robinson

Coach Rosene has made a lasting impact on me in every single area of my life. He is a leader in every way possible! Coach Rosene is unlike any basketball coach I have ever played for. He not only has an incredible knowledge of the game of basketball, but he also has words of wisdom for any situation or challenge you may face. Coach Rosene truly goes the extra mile to make sure that his players know that he loves them as a person. I have loved playing for Coach Rosene and I look forward to the rest of my career playing for him. – Michael Wright

As a player, Coach Rosene believed in me and empowered me to be a leader. That confidence he gave me will stick with me for the rest of my life. More importantly, though, Coach showed me what it looks like to lead young men and to lead them with a genuine love and compassion. My teammates and I left Emmanuel with lifelong friendships that are a direct result of the environment he created and the values that he instilled in us. It is a blessing to play for Coach, and I am thankful I will always have him in my corner. – Jack Fitzpatrick

Coach Rosene has had a huge impact on me as a Coach and even more importantly as a man. I’ll be forever grateful that he believed in me enough to give me a chance to be on his staff 3 years ago. I heard nothing but great stories about TJ as a coach and a leader, but the experience has been even better than expected. Coach approaches every situation from a place of empathy, and that is something that I have admired about him. Something that TJ often says that has been a pillar in my life is, “Assume they’re doing the best with what they know.” TJ is a true teacher of the game of life.
Derrick Herbert (Assistant Coach 2018-present)

Before coming Emmanuel, I truly did not understand the concept of “team”. Coach Rosene, helped me to fully understand this by teaching me that “Life isn’t about Me”. This little saying helped changed my perspective and really enable me to fully commit to being a part of something bigger than myself. However, his message dug digger than just a basketball level. He wanted us to live life through this lens. This impacted my life because it made me realize that life is better when I take the focus off myself. Also, it genuinely made me want to serve, love, and care more for others. Coach Rosene impacted and transformed my perspective from self-centered to God-centered.  – Charlie Velazquez

Coach Rosene, will NEVER understand how much he has impacted my life. His teaching, his coaching, his passion, and his competitiveness was contagious and it helped mold me into the man I am today. In 4 years, Coach Rosene showed me how to “move”  like a man” instead of “moving like a boy.” The craziest part is….I haven’t even mentioned all that he has unlocked for me in the game of basketball. I am very grateful for Coach Rosene and his BEAUTIFUL family, I don’t know where I’d be today without him. Thank you for all you’ve done…- Isaiah Tyus

Coach Rosene is much more than a basketball coach. He has the gift to prepare young men to approach life with all its ups and downs. He constantly challenges us to be better people, to love more, to care more, to be an asset to society. He not only teaches us with his voice, but most importantly by his actions. The way he treats his wife, kids, parents, neighbors with love inspired us to be better and do better.

His teaching and love for his players does not stop after we are done playing. I remember driving to Georgia a couple years after I had graduated. My car broke down, so I was stuck for a few days until my car could get repaired for me to drive back home. Coach Rosene offered his brand new car for me to use until my car was fixed. I guarantee you that not many, if any, coaches anywhere in the country would have done that for a former player.

TJ made us proud to be LIONS for life – Johan Pennerat aka “Frenchy”

Coach TJ Rosene is the most impactful coach I’ve ever been around. Playing for him was the best thing to ever happen to my college career. The lessons I’ve learned through his leadership carried over into my pro career. Coach Rosene really invests in himself and others. He puts in the time to study the game and how he can get the most out of each of his players. He also puts in the time off the court to make sure each of his players grow as men. He is the furthest thing in the world from a transactional coach. When transformational coaches are mentioned, Coach Rosene should be the example!

When I first got to Emmanuel I thought I was “too good”. On the court I thought I was the best thing to ever happen to Emmanuel. Off the court, I would either just be in my room to myself or if I was walking around campus I would be on my phone or have headphones in. This was not acceptable to Coach Rosene. After about 2 weeks he began to challenge me. On the court he would challenge me to encourage a teammate or do something to make a teammate better. Off the court he would tell me to be present by speaking to someone random on campus and just try and make their day. Those opportunities to impact others and expand my world, I still abide by today. His influence on making a better players and men will be felt for many generations. – Elijah Robinson

“Coach Rosene has had a huge impact on my life. Not only is he a great basketball coach but he is an even better mentor, leader, and person. He truly cares about his players’ well-being away from the game and that is what I appreciate about him the most. He’s passionate about everything he does and doesn’t make it about himself. He’s been there for me when I needed him and I know I can count on him for anything. I am really thankful that I get to play for his program. Love him so much!”   – Kelvin Jones

Coach Rosene has impacted my life on the court a lot; But he most definitely impacted my life off the court even more.

Right after I graduated from Emmanuel I was playing professionally the next season for a team in Hong Kong. I went on to meet tons of amazing people, from all over the world, some of them from places I never even heard of before. 

I discovered many different cultures, food, games, etc.. 

 During that year the team and I went on to win a championship. This is probably my favorite memory in my career after winning the championship my senior year at EC. 

If Coach Rosene wouldn’t have made the efforts he did, the calls, the reach out, the extra steps, basically “the taking care of as if you’re his own kid” like he did, I would have never even imagined all the new things I learned and discovered over my very young career. 

He helped me grow over my years at EC into the man I am today. 

 The way Coach Rosene treats people around him is what impacted me the most. He treats his players like family. He taught me what it truly means to be a part of a team. – Steven Guinchard

There are many things Coach Rosene did for me while I attended Emmanuel. The one thing that stands out to me the most is giving me the opportunity to play college basketball again and helping me get my degree. Coach impacted me on and off the court. He challenged us as a team to be our own person and not follow behind other people; to lead by example. I took that message very personal and live by it to this day. Congrats Coach Rosene well deserved. – Adrian Justice

A person like Coach Rosene is someone you’re lucky to meet once in a lifetime. I had the luxury of being coached by him for four years. As a freshman, I watched Coach Rosene go toe to toe against his oldest son, Boston, in a game of Family Feud and quickly learned that Coach Rosene was one of the most competitive people I’ll ever meet. His addiction to winning and his innate crave to be the best was the driving force in our success throughout my four years as a Lion. However, Coach Rosene was far deeper than just a competitor. Selfless. I wish my vocabulary allowed me to find a word that more accurately depicted Coach Rosene’s altruistic nature. By the time I was a senior I started to catch on. Now, as a coach myself, the depths of Coach’s servant leadership are becoming more and more prevalent. I truly believe he wakes up in the morning with the same thoughts every single day. “How can I help….” or “What can I do…..”. Coach takes it in his own hands to help build better men. He will never make excuses, and he never takes a day off. Whether it’s enhancing someone’s life, his team’s culture, the Lion community, his family, his friends, or often someone he doesn’t even know or just met. He’s insanely consistent. As a player often I wasn’t able to see the big picture. But as I get further and further removed from being a playing member of the Emmanuel Lion’s Men’s Basketball Team, his grand vision for humanity, his players, and his family has started to reveal itself. Coach is not someone you can sum up in a paragraph. His impact on people will outlive him. I am extremely lucky/grateful that he took a chance on an injury prone, foul mouth, out of shape, 6’2” on a good day, white kid from 16 hours away. He will act as the blueprint for me in my career, but most importantly how I choose to live my life. – Nathan Williams

Coach Rosene is by far the best coach, leader, and positive influence I’ve had in my life as a young man. What was most important to me was the fact that he poured into my life off of the court just as much, if not more, than he did for me as a player.
It was obvious that he was more concerned with who we became as people and what we would make of our lives further down the road rather than the 4 short years he had with us playing basketball. Rosene has a positive influence on everyone that’s in the same room as him. He constantly unified our team; so much so that we knew we were fighting for more than a W on the court… we were challenging ourselves and each other to be the best we could be at all times on and off the court. I remember things he has said to me and lessons he taught me all the time. I find myself thinking, “how would Rosene approach this situation,” daily. He’s a great father, an amazing coach, and a lifelong friend. – Zach Lillie

I was asked to talk about a man God and a great basketball coach, TJ 
Rosene. If you have had the pleasure playing for him or being on his 
coaching staff you know he builds men first before basketball players. 
In my eyes coach you are a LEGEND. You saw things in me that I didn’t 
see in myself. You knew what buttons to push to get the best out of your 
team but more importantly you always gave us outlets as men to speak and 
be heard regardless of the issues and I will always love you for that. I 
think it’s  also Important to honor Mrs. Rosene aka MA we love you just 
as much if not sometimes more (sorry coach lol) you opened your home to 
us taught us that its  ok to show raw emotions but also how to 
effectively communicate them in a group setting for that I want to say 
Thank you.  During My senior year of playing for the lions we had a 
saying 1% better every day and you would drill that  into us back then I 
only thought about basketball and the process of getting back to 
nationals but now I see you were talking about life and never putting a 
cap on yourself to always push yourself to be great. Coach when we 
first meet you told me I would be a part of a family and that’s what 
being a lion is all about and I can truly say you and your family are my 
family I love you. congrats on being named top 50 most impactful coaches 
WE YOUR FAMILY already knew how much you impacted all of us  but I know  you’re going want to honor everyone that helped you reach this milestone that shows how much of a great of a man you are but do me a favor brag on yourself for just a little bit you deserve to . Congrats again Coach! Love you – Leon Sampson

TJ’s wife, Erin Rosene spoke on what she’s seen behind the scenes and where TJ’s love of coaching stems from.

What I know from behind the scenes is that he pours his heart and soul into coaching, and it’s not just about winning (even though he HATES losing). He knows he has a responsibility to impact lives for God’s kingdom. The coaching staff is constantly trying to come up with ways to pour into the guys and help them grow mentally and spiritually. As his wife, I couldn’t be more proud of who he is and the person he is behind the scenes. He makes everyone around him a better person. He is always teaching life lessons and trying to live up to those in his own home. There are so many things that make him special and set him apart. He is always putting others before himself. As a coach, he has to be hard on the boys, but his heart for them is undeniable. It’s always fun to see someone in their element. TJ definitely has a calling. Coaching is his ministry. His heart for encouraging young men in college runs deep.

His love of coaching has been passed down from his dad who passed away two years ago in 2018. His dad was an amazing man who loved others so well. He coached TJ in high school for some of TJ’s greatest basketball memories. The fact that basketball is more than just a game, but more of a way to impact people’s lives through the game, was passed down from his dad. He had such a way of making TJ’s players feel special when he would come to practices and games. We miss him everyday. I thank God for TJ’s parents and the job they did in raising such a great son.

Congratulations, Coach Rosene and THANK YOU for the impact you’ve made on so many! We’re blessed to have you at EC!