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Incarnate Word basketball coach Dan Rolfes suffers medical emergency after state semifinal

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Incarnate Word Academy girls basketball coach Dan Rolfes was in surgery Friday night after suffering a “medical emergency” shortly after his team won its Class 6 state tournament semifinal at Mizzou Arena.

The 52-year-old Rolfes was taken to University Hospital by his daughter, Kate Rolfes, who said her father was in surgery.

IWA Athletics Director and Head Basketball Coach Dan Rolfes suffered a medical emergency while leaving the Mizzou Arena. Coach Rolfes is surrounded by immediate family and is receiving excellent care. IWA and the Rolfes family ask for your prayers. More information will be shared…

— IWA_Athletics (@Athletics_IWA) March 16, 2024

“He was complaining of chest pains, so I drove him to the hospital and now this,” Kate said. “We’re all still in shock.”

IWA president Sharon Gerken said Dan Rolfes was in critical condition as of 9 p.m. Friday.

A blockage was located and a stent was to be inserted.

Gerken indicated that as of Friday night, the Red Knights (30-0) planned to play against Kickapoo (30-1) in the title game at 6 p.m. Saturday.

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“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Incarnate Word Academy family,” said MSHSAA spokesman Jason West. “Not just Dan’s family, but the community itself.”

Dan Rolfes appeared to be in fine spirits after guiding Incarnate Word to a 65-41 win over Rock Bridge.

In a post-game interview when asked why he didn’t appear happy with triumph, Rolfes joked, “I’ll be happy tomorrow,” after his team wins the title game.

Rolfes answered questions and joked with reporters in the hallway of Mizzou Arena just seconds after appearing in the post-game press conference.

The six-time defending state champion Red Knights are on a 130-game winning streak, which is a Missouri girls basketball record and the longest current streak in the nation. They have won a record 13 state titles — 12 under Rolfes — including the last six times the event has been played. 

Always well-prepared, Rolfes took pride in going over reams of film on his opponents. His teams were ready for any situation.

Rolfes, who took over the IWA program in 2000, recently recorded his 700th career victory. His record is 701-86 overall including a 660-75 mark at the Bel-Nor school.

He was inducted into the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame on April 22, 2018.

Rolfes got his start as an assistant coach at St. Louis University from 1996 to 2000. He recently gained global recognition for coaching the USA Basketball U16 Americas National team to a gold medal triumph in Medira, Mexico. He was named coach of the USA Basketball 2024 U17 team, which is scheduled to compete July 13-21 in Mexico.

Coaches and players from around the country have displayed their concern for Rolfes.

“Prayers would certainly help right now,” said Gerken, a 1978 graduate of IWA.

View life in St. Louis through the Post-Dispatch photographers’ lenses. Photos by Post-Dispatch photographers, edited by Jenna Jones.

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