Rockford Heat: Coach Bio's

John Penney - Club Director 815-871-4112
Coach Penney is the co-founder of the Rockford Heat Girls Basketball club.  His pride and dedication has assisted many Rockford Heat players to help lead their respective school teams to Championship finishes.  Coach Penney has coached school teams 4th-8th grade, currently girls Varsity, boys and girls club teams, hosting clinics/camps, and high school teams for NCAA certified events and showcases.  Coach Penney’s attention to detail has helped catapult many high school players skills to achieve starting Varsity status or gaining Varsity playtime.  Coach Penney’s favorite quote is “Don’t tell me you can’t, tell me you will try!”

Cary Proper - Coach 
Coach Proper has coached at Christian Life Schools from Elementary thru Middle School levels for the last 7 years.  His passion is developing character in his players and guiding them to reach their potential on the court.

Coach Finke- This is her first year with the Rockford Heat.  Finke has helped run summer skills camps, assistant coached Junior Varsity, and is currently Head Coach of the 8th Grade girls' program at Rockford Christian.  Coach Finke believes in developing fundamental skills, toughness, hard work ethic, and integrity to help young girls succeed both on the court and in all other areas of life.  Her favorite quote is "If you do today what others won't, you'll do tomorrow what others can't."

Chad Gassman - Coach
Coach Gassman is in his 2nd season with Rockford Heat basketball.  He is an NCAA certified Coach and he has been the head coach and coordinator for 5th - 6th grade boys and girls basketball league in Durand for 5 years. Additionally, he served 1 year as IHSA referee and has coached for the boy’s elementary and junior high basketball summer camps for the past 3 years as well as serving as a Head Coach for the Durand 7th grade boys’ basketball program for 2 years.  Currently, he is the Assistant Varsity coach for Durand girls’ basketball. 

Darrin Golden - Coach
Coach Golden is the co-founder of the Rockford Heat Girls Basketball Club and Post Player Coordinator.  His instruction has enabled many Rockford Heat post players to help lead their respective school teams to championship finishes.  In addition to his work with the Rockford Heat, he has coached for the Boys and Girls Club at the Elementary levels and led his respective teams to championship games. Coach Golden is NCAA Certified and has helped to instruct girls playing traveling basketball that have competed in local, regional, and national tournaments.  He believes that a strong emphasis on mental toughness and physical conditioning coupled with a fundamentally sound player is the key to success.  Coach Golden’s favorite quote is “A WINNER NEVER QUITS AND A QUITTER NEVER WINS!”

Coach Groebner - Played Division III football for the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN.  He has coached basketball, football, baseball and soccer at the elementary and high school levels at various times over the past 30 years.  He has recently coached 7th and 8th grade girls and Junior Varsity girls teams at Christian Life Schools and has club coaching experience with both girls and boys teams.  Coach Groebner focuses on training in fundamentals and stresses repetition to develop solid habits.

Coach Hughes -
Coach Hughes has been with the Rockford Heat since the middle of 2012. He has started with our current 8th grade team when they were in 7th grade. Coach Hughes has coached various teams in 5th-8th grades at Holy family while participating in the parochial leagues for the last 10 years. Coach focuses on an aggressive offensive strategy that pushes the ball at every chance. A significant portion of every practice is focused on developing strong fundamental habits and preparing them for playing at the next level. Coach Hughes' favorite quote is "Effort takes no Talent".

Coach Keller - Coach Keller is in his 2nd season with the Rockford Heat.  Keller has lead various teams in the elementary levels and has been a referee for several
years. Keller is highly regarded in the basketball community and the Rockford Heat is proud to bring his expertise to the club. 

Wendy Lambrigtsen - Coach
This is Coach Lambrigtsen’s inaugural season with Rockford Heat Basketball.  Immediately following her collegiate basketball career at Rockford College ('88-'92), Coach Lambrigtsen coached girls basketball programs for 6 consecutive seasons at Mt. Morris/Oregon School Districts, from 1995 to 1998 Coach Lambrigtsen coached at the Varsity level.  In addition to her coaching, she has conducted several fundamental basketball camps and coached 3rd - 6th grade girls developmental/recreational basketball programs since 2000.  Lambrigtsen is NCAA Certified and has also coached girls junior high and high school summer travel teams in '09, '10 and '11.  Coach Lambrigtsen believes in and promotes consistent fundamental training, physical and mental toughness, knowledge of the game and teamwork.