Wider Horizons

When Rod Schmidt (Recreation Management 1979) connected with Wider Horizons last spring, he mentioned he’d be in Lethbridge over the summer en route to a Waterton reunion with his former Kodiaks men’s basketball teammates. He was also hoping to bring his now-adult daughters on a tour of the college and – if possible – reconnect with his former coach, Tim Tollestrup. In July, the two sat down to talk with the Wider Horizons team. Here are some highlights of their conversation.

ROD SCHMIDT: My first year here was Tim’s first year coaching and working as athletic director. I knew about the Tollestrup name, I knew southern Alberta was a solid basketball area and I was a little worried about making the team. But fortunately, Tim saw enough qualities in me that allowed me to play, and I ended up playing three years. As a coach, Tim got his points across in a slow, methodical way. He wasn’t a shouter and he knew his stuff. He was kind with us, thoughtful with us and he meshed our strengths with what he saw we could do.

TIM TOLLESTRUP: As a player, Rod was kind of hard-nosed. He was good defensively and worked for you. He’d leave it all on the court, and whatever you asked him to do he’d get done. Rod had kind of a fairy-tale story. He didn’t plan to come here, but his good friend, Glen Novak, talked him into it, and he took Rec Management. Then he ends up running the whole rec department in Regina. That’s the fairy tale – he comes here to play sports, does a great job, gets a diploma and goes back and has an awesome career.

ROD SCHMIDT: I think in a postsecondary environment, sports help to build a community and a sense of belonging. Bringing people together is important. It’s amazing what it can do – the pride it can build in a community. Coming to the college now and seeing the beautiful spaces that have been built here and the programs that have been added is inspiring. You know, the time I spent here was amazing. But to see what it’s grown into and what it’s become – well, I’m proud.

TIM TOLLESTRUP: I was born and raised in southern Alberta in a little town named Raymond. I love the college and was fortunate to spend 30 years here – as athletic director, coach, business instructor and manager of this facility (the Val Matteotti Gymnasium). Probably the highlight of the whole career was making friends with all these athletes and then seeing them down the road somewhere. You know, when you’re at a place for 30 years, you might think you want out of there. But I never felt that way. I love this place, and it’s always great to return.

Wider Horizons
Lethbridge College
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