Leigh Ann Roehm will coach the Saline varsity girls basketball team next season.
Roehm, a Saline Middle School science teacher, was 16-2 in her first season as junior varsity basketball coach last year. Previously, she coached the eighth grade girls and boys teams for 13 years.
Roehm takes over for Jeff Waltz, who resigned in March after six years leading the program.
Saline Athletic Director Kirk Evenson said he was excited about the hiring of Roehm.
“Coach Roehm is a true leader and lifelong student of the game. Her background and experiences in basketball and in the classroom have prepared her for this position,” Evenson said. “We have great confidence in her ability to lead this program for Saline High School. I think this job has always been in the cards for her. Now is the right time.”
Coaching varsity basketball fulfills a lifelong dream for Roehm, who starred for her father’s basketball teams at Kalkaska High School.
“I’m excited. When I considered applying for the job and talked with my family, I sat down with my daughters and explained the job. My eight-year-old daughter said, ‘This is your dream. You need to go for it,’” Roehm said. “And Kiera is right. It’s been a dream of mine since I was young.”
Roehm is the daughter of two teachers. Her father taught physical education in Kalkaska schools, so she grew up a gym rat. Her dad has been coach of Kalkaska High School varsity girls basketball for 22 years.
Roehm was the shooting guard on her father’s basketball team. A skilled-three-point shooter, she once scored 42 points in a game. She was All-American honorable mention and first-team All State. She played at Bowling Green for a year and finished with three years at Northern Michigan University. In 2002 Roehm made 45 percent of her three-point shots (63-for-140) to finish second among all Division 2 basketball players in the country.
Roehm is familiar the Saline girls. She coached virtually all the girls in the middle school, taught seventh grade science to many of them, and she coached them last year at the JV level and was a bench coach for varsity, too. When Waltz resigned, she unofficially took over many of the off-season duties, including running individual workouts.
“Basketball is so much about relationships. I’m fortunate to have relationships with these girls. I know this is a hard-working group of girls who are ready to go to battle,” Roehm said. “I’m exciting to get to work with them on a daily basis.”
While Roehm was an offensive-minded player, as a coach, the emphasis is defense.
“Defense is always my emphasis. It starts there, with an intense, sound defensive front. I’ve always loved getting up and down the court and pressing,” Roehm said.
But first thing’s first.
“Right now, it will be about us coming together as a team, fiercely united as one team, righting together,” Roehm said.
The family history in basketball is something that’s important to Roehm and one reason why coaching the varsity girls was a lifelong goal. She looks forward to calling her dad after games and talking about each other’s games.
Would Roehm like to coach her basketball-playing daughters, ages 8 and 5, at Saline High School one day?
“That’s the goal. That’s the dream. The hope is to build a program here that’s successful. To develop and inspire great athletes. And hopefully that means a decade of coaching Saline basketball,” Roehm said.
It’s been a big year for Roehm. She was named 2017 Michigan Middle School Science Teacher of the Year by the Michigan Science Teachers’ Association.