Rob Long didn’t have to look far for his latest basketball coaching challenge. Long recently became the new girls coach at Rosedale Christian Academy.
Long replaces Nytearia Burrell, who served one season at the Baltimore County private school. Last month, Long stepped down at Mount Carmel after eight seasons.
Long and his family attend Rosedale Baptist Church which is part of Rosedale’s campus.
“Actually we talked two years ago…but like so many coaches, I had to think about the kids at Mount Carmel and couldn’t pull the plug,” said Long. “When I stepped down from Mount Carmel, it opened up again. I just couldn’t turn it down again.”
Long’s relationship with Rosedale’s Head Pastor Scott Tewell was a factor in his decision, but his interview with Rosedale Christian principal Nicole Anderson solidified it.
“She built the image of what the school is all about and it’s just the character I want,” said Long. “It’s the atmosphere.”
Long took Mount Carmel from the IAAM C Conference to a competitive entity in the IAAM upper leagues. The Cougars won the B-1 championship in 2022, and, in their first season in the A Conference last winter, advanced to the semifinals.
Long said leaving Mount Carmel, where his children, Robbie and Stephania attended, was difficult. Robby, who’s on the autism spectrum, played three sports at the Essex school.
“For what they did for him alone, I’ll always love them.” said Long, who won 107 games at Mount Carmel. “This isn’t about me being frustrated with the school…I’m looking for the next challenge.”
Long wants to take Rosedale Christian, a member of the Maryland Association of Christian Schools, alongside the area’s best.
Rosedale went 7-8 last season.
“I know this sounds gaudy but I want a national program that can play in ESPN’s National High School Invitational and I think this gives me the flexibility to do that,” said Long. “You can’t do that when you’re playing in a conference and have certain games you have to play. That was good for me for a while. From where I’m at right now, I think it’s about the freedom of being able to branch out a little bit.”
Long knows that process begins with “re-recruiting” the returning letterwinners from last season’s roster. Like at Mount Carmel, Long will be charged in attracting student-athletes to Rosedale Christian that has little reputation on the area girls basketball scene.
“That’s what I love about it because they are very supportive and want this too. They just don’t want to sell their souls to do it. That’s my challenge,” said Long. “How do I do this without tainting the image of the school because, at the end of the day, they want to be Rosedale Christian and I want them to be Rosedale Christian. I want to increase the property value.”
Long hopes to continue playing the likes of McDonogh and St. Frances, who have dominated the IAAM A Conference over the last decade and Poly, which has been the area’s top public program the past few seasons.
Long said he wants to follow the model of St. Frances’ nationally-ranked football program - except one major difference.
“I don’t have to go to Florida and other places to do it, I got enough monsters around this region you get the opportunity to slay,” said Long. “It’s hard to do that when you can only play 25 games with 16 in conference. Now you go into a situation where you’re independent and can slowly start to chip away, chip away at these programs.”
Long, a longtime Baltimore sports radio personality who co-hosts “The Big Bad Morning Show” on 105.7 FM, also coached at College of the Notre Dame and CCBC-Dundalk.
Now at Rosedale Christian, Long is in full throttle mode.
“You can’t be afraid to jump into the deep end of the pool. Look at the schedule we played at Mount Carmel. I’ve never been afraid to tug on Superman’s suit,” said Long. “If I can’t do it, then I’ll retreat and let somebody else take it over. I believe I have the right coaching staff to do this.”