Dakota Valley basketball enters state tournament playing in honor of ‘Big Rosie’

Updated: Mar. 15, 2023 at 6:00 PM CDT
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NORTH SIOUX CITY, S.D. (KTIV) - The Dakota Valley boys basketball team is getting ready for the South Dakota Boys State Basketball Tournament riding off a 50-game win streak.

They’ve had the support of the entire Panther community, but as the tournament approaches, they’re turning their support to a father/son duo with a special bond.

”He’s always been there. Always been teaching me, coaching me,” said Randy Rosenquist Jr., Dakota Valley senior guard.

When Dakota Valley Senior guard Randy Rosenquist, Jr. wanted a player to look up to, all he had to do was look to his dad, Randy Sr.

“He was always the first person I looked at when I’d be running out for warmups. I’d always just make sure I caught his eye, or before even the game tipped off for the girl’s game playing, I’d make sure to sit next to him and talk to him about the game,” said Rosenquist Jr.

Friends describe Randy Rosenquist Sr. as “larger than life.” A standout basketball player, in his own right, “Rosie” had a hall-of-fame basketball career at the University of South Dakota. In fact, in college, “Rosie” played against the man, who now coaches his son at D-V, Jason Kleis.

“He’s been super supportive of Dakota Valley basketball. Seeing his kids come through here, seeing his kids grow up and what a great dad he is. So we have a lot of love for him and cheering for him hard,” said Jason Kleis, Dakota Valley head coach.

It is support “Rosie” has needed since he suffered a stroke on Feb. 11. Complications required emergency surgery. But the Dakota Valley community has been right there keeping “Rosie” in their thoughts, and on their chests.

“I was in the locker room before the West game, and he came in with the big box. I was kind of confused on what it was and then he pulled these out,” said Rosenquist Jr.

T-shirts to support “Rosie” and unite an already tight-knit Panther community around him.

The front of the t-shirts the Dakota Valley boys basketball team wears during warmups to...
The front of the t-shirts the Dakota Valley boys basketball team wears during warmups to support Randy Rosenquist Sr.(KTIV)

“Once I saw them I just kind of sank down and teared up a little bit. Man, it was just a great feeling, just all my teammates came down, got me up, patting me on the back. And to see us wearing them pre-game just makes me, lets us know how much the community comes together,” said Rosenquist Jr.

As the Panthers play for their second-straight state title, Rosenquist Jr. will be playing for his dad, wearing his dad’s old number, knowing “Rosie” will be cheering for him, even if it’s from a distance.

“It’s going to be tough for him not to be there and not to go greet him right after the game. But I’m sure there’ll be someone sitting with him in his room, telling them what’s going on watching the game. So I know he’s there by heart and I’ll make sure as soon as I get home to go there and talk to him about it,” said Rosenquist Jr.

Those who know “Rosie” know he’s a fighter, fighting for the day he’ll be back in the bleachers.

“He’s a lot like His son. Like his kids have been... they’re feisty. They’re winners. They’re gamers. The bigger the moment, the better they are. Dad was the same way,” said Kleis.

Randy Rosenquist Sr. hugs his son Randy Rosenquist Jr. after winning the 2022 Class A State...
Randy Rosenquist Sr. hugs his son Randy Rosenquist Jr. after winning the 2022 Class A State Title.(Rosenquist Family)

Rosenquist Sr. is still recovering in the hospital but making progress.

A GoFundMe has already raised over $11,000 to support Rosie and his family during this time.