Rolon Has Tremendous Passion for Basketball
Ever since he was a young boy, Lou Rolon has used the sport of basketball as an outlet to deal with life. Lou spent time in multiple foster homes as a child, but ultimately found his way through those tough times through basketball.
Now, Lou is an assistant coach with the boys’ basketball team at Valley Regional High School, where he also played the sport. Lou, who lives in Old Saybrook, appreciates the impact that basketball has had on his life.
“I’ve always loved basketball. It’s been a part of my whole life,” says Lou, 44. “I played for Valley back when I was in high school, and it was one of my ways to stay out of trouble. I used to bounce around from boys’ home to boys’ home. It was obviously tough. Every time I got to know someone, they would move me somewhere else. It was hard to make friends right away, but playing basketball made it really easy, and I found some of my closest friends through the sport.”
In addition to his coaching duties at Valley, Lou works multiple jobs that include landscaping, contracting, and serving as a volunteer firefighter in Old Saybrook. Lou is also the father of three children whom he calls his pride and joy.
Lou says that coaching basketball has changed his entire life. Lou’s career in the sport dates back to his days shooting hoops while he grew up in Deep River.
“I kind of knew I wanted to get into coaching eventually. It’s my way of giving back,” Lou says. “I was actually adopted in Deep River by a family. I was playing basketball with their son, Brent Fish, and we became really close. I could always communicate with kids, and it makes me really happy to be able to partake in the sport I love.”
Lou remains close with his brother Brent and the Fish family to this day. Lou credits his adoption as a major factor behind his success in the basketball world.
“It was awesome. If I didn’t get in that family, I would have moved somewhere else. I don’t know where I would have ended up. I took everything as a blessing,” says Lou. “Brent is my brother, and he always will be. I promised myself that my kids would never go through what I had to go through. I have three kids now, and I’m very happy with where I’m at now. We’re doing everything right to make sure these kids are doing well.”
Valley boys’ basketball Head Coach Kevin Woods praises Lou for his dedication to the Warriors’ program. Woods calls Lou one of the hardest-working people that he’s ever been around.
“Lou dedicates his life to make sure his athletes have the best possible experience and opportunities. He understands that life is not always fair, but he finds it ways to promote athletes to their highest capacities,” Woods says. “Lou does not believe in excuses, and that resonates through the whole team. He is a proud alumni, and he promotes the values that embody the Valley core values.”
Lou’s relationship with Coach Woods stems back to when he played basketball for Valley Regional. Woods’s father Steve coached Lou at Valley, so Lou has known Woods since his childhood.
“My connection with Kevin is deep. I love the guy. I played for his dad when I was at Valley as a high-schooler, so it’s kind of come full-circle,” says Lou. “To learn from Kevin has been awesome, and I’m excited to further my coaching ability with him. I’m learning something new every day.”
Valley has a record of 6-7 as it enters the home stretch of its regular season. While the campaign has featured some ups and downs, Lou feels confident that the Warriors have what it takes to make a run in the playoffs.
“We’re battling. We had two of our best guys go down, so we’ve been going through it right now. It’s adversity, but we just have to keep battling,” Lou says. “I just hope we can put it all together by Shorelines and states. I think everyone is going to be surprised by us. I just want to advise and guide these kids in the best possible direction.”