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Troy Roelen coaches two teams every basketball season.
There is the Mission Viejo boys basketball team he coaches in the first couple of weeks of the season. Then there is the one he coaches when the Mission Viejo football season is over and the football guys join the basketball team.
Roelen always finds a way to put the pieces together to form an outstanding team. He did so again in the 2011-12 season, forging a group that was a league champion and played in the CIF-Southern Section finals. Roelen's ability to produce one of the better teams in the county has made him Orange County boys basketball coach of the year.
Mission Viejo finished 28-5. The Diablos were 7-1 in the South Coast League to share the league title with Capistrano Valley, which the Diablos beat in the final game of the regular season. In the CIF-SS Division 1A playoffs, Mission Viejo advanced to the championship game, in which they lost to Orange Lutheran.
The Diablos beat Torrey Pines of San Diego in the CIF Southern California Regionals then had their season ended in a loss by the team that beat them in the season opener, Mater Dei.
All five of Mission Viejo's losses were to teams that were in the top five in the final Orange County rankings – Mater Dei (twice), Orange Lutheran, Capistrano Valley and Ocean View.
Roelen, 42, has coached Mission Viejo basketball for 10 seasons during which his teams have averaged 22 victories a year and won five league championships. The Diablos also played in a CIF-SS final, an overtime loss, in 2011. Roelen coached Mission to a section championship in '04.
This season might have been his most enjoyable.
"This is the nicest group of guys I've had in my 10 years at Mission Viejo," he said. "One thing I could always count on was their work ethic and their tenacity. They came to play, no matter who we were playing against."
Getting those football players into the basketball flow, and giving them playing time that belonged to other players without those other players feeling betrayed, is not as difficult for Roelen as it might seem.
"It's a not a problem because our guys always get along so well with each other," he said. "To their credit, the football guys are very humble. And everybody on the team knows that we're going to play nine guys and it will be the nine guys who work the hardest."
Roelen has a parochial school background. He played at Mater Dei for Coach Gary McKnight, and was an assistant coach at Santa Margarita under Coach Jerry DeBusk. Roelen is known among his peers as one of those coaches you will see in gyms almost nightly, scouting upcoming Mission Viejo opponents.
Roelen, married with three children, also is Mission Viejo's athletic director and teaches English there. He was named Teacher of the Year by the Saddleback Valley Unified School District in the 2008-09 school year.
He has been a pretty good teacher on the basketball court, too.