Team Rosiek talks sports, marriage and familyby Ashley Morris
It was the right call for player interference on the part of Jake Rosiek, when he warded off an unwanted male flirting with Cari Rowe the first night he and his future wife hung out with friends.
Both referees and relationship experts would agree.
Jake and Cari had previously bumped into each other professionally at times on campus – he, as coordinator of intramural sports; she, as event operations coordinator for the Department of Athletics at the time. But they soon learned they worked well as a team in other areas of life.
“Jody Davis came by my office and told me to take Jake out so he could meet new friends,” says Cari. “And we learned we had a lot in common, with a love for sports and just having fun.”
Davis, director of campus recreation/head coach of women’s tennis, denies any role as matchmaker. He had known Cari since her years on the CCU softball team (1996 to 1999) and sensed she and Jake could be compatible.
Davis met Jake when he came to CCU in 2004 from Georgia State University in Atlanta. “I was renting a house out to Jake and got to know him,” says Davis. “I kept asking him how his social life was … and mentioned to Jake that Cari was single and said, ‘Hey, maybe you should ask her out.’”
Jake and Cari Rosiek married in 2006.
Before their sports stories merged in matrimony, Jake had played club baseball as an undergrad at Georgia Tech, then completed graduate work at Georgia State, where he received a master’s degree in sports administration.
Cari, currently serving her third year as CCU’s associate athletic director/senior woman administrator, was a four-year letter-winner with the women’s softball team, starting 227 games under coach Jess Dannelly. The center fielder was recruited from high school in Greencastle, Pa., and went on to help lead the Lady Chanticleers to their first-ever Big South Conference Tournament title in 1998. Cari ranks in the top-10 in four single-season categories, including No. 1 in sacrifice hits, and also ranks in eight career categories for the Lady Chants. She graduated from CCU in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in physical education, with an emphasis in recreation sport management. “I had such a positive experience here as a student-athlete,” says Cari. “I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
“Yeah, Cari is definitely the athlete in the family,” says Jake with a smile. “How many softball letters did you have, hon?”
Jake asks the question into the speakerphone in his office while we hold a conference call with Cari, who is out on maternity leave following the birth of the couple’s second child, Catherine “Kate” Lee, on Jan. 3. Son Caulin is 2. “I don’t know, I don’t keep up with that stuff,” says Cari. “I just had a real love for playing the sport. … Sports have taught me a lot about life lessons; it’s so important in life.”
And that simple passion for the sport, coupled with her brilliant, record-breaking box scores, is what scores points for Cari in her AD position. “I love the interaction with student-athletes and helping with their challenges day to day,” she says. “The things they’re dealing with are very similar to what we were faced with in the mid-’90s. I don’t look at it as work; I’m here to sit down with them and help them achieve their goals.”
Jake channels his passion for sports officiating into his day-to-day duties, supervising about 30 student officials and coordinating 16 different intramural sports, plus special events. He even finds time to referee high school and league basketball and football games.
It’s inevitable that sports will be a central seam of their children’s lives – it’s already been woven into their DNA. “It’s such a big part of our lives that I would be shocked if neither of them somehow follow in the sports path,” says Jake. “Caulin already has a ref shirt and loves to sleep with a football and volleyball.”
“And I’ve been sizing up Kate’s fingers,” says Cari.
So how do Jake and Cari hit a home run in marriage success? “I think it helps that our jobs are completely separate,” says Cari.
“I understand what they’re going through with two young kids and with both of them working odd hours,” says Davis. “There’s a juggling act. I think it’s good they each understand what the other’s job entails; there’s a lot of give and take.
“And with the number of students they both have to mentor,” continues Davis, “I think they set a shining example of what it means to be both a young professional and be family-oriented. You can have both. You hear from this generation too often that you establish your career now and start a family later, but they’re doing both.”