By Don Lowe 

   It truly is an end to a remarkable era as legendary Webb City Cardinals Athletic Director and Football Head Coach John Roderique is officially retiring when the 2022-23 school year concludes later this spring after 26 years leading his alma mater through an extended period of phenomenal success. 

   As for what made this the right time to step aside, Coach Roderique conveys, “The past few years I’ve evaluated things at the end of the year and just felt like it was time for someone else to lead the program. It’s been a great 26 years for me, and I’ve poured everything I can into the program.” 

   In considering key factors that went into this decision, Coach Roderique says, “Obviously, the first thing is having the ability to retire through the Missouri Public Schools retirement system. 

   “’I’ve also told my wife many times over the past few years, when I feel like I’m no longer the best person to lead this program, it’s time for me to step away. I’ve coached football for my entire adult life (33 years) with 26 of them being at Webb City.”    

   While Coach Roderique believes this is for the best, he says, “At no point in time have I considered this an easy decision. We’ve had a lot of success over the years and maybe that’s made it easier.” 

   Conversely, Coach Roderique insists, “The most difficult part of this is leaving behind future kids, especially those currently in high school that I will not get to coach on the field and not having the ability to work with the coaches, who I consider great friends.” 

   It’s likely impossible to single out one year or one dominant group, but Coach Roderique looks at the entirety of all the achievements as he reflects what has been most special is “15 state title appearances, 13 state championships, 10 undefeated regular seasons, 22 straight district championships and multiple conference championships. 

   “When I think about these things, it really puts into perspective how many great players and coaches we’ve had and how much everyone has poured into the success of our program.” 

   Winning at such a high level, year after year after year didn’t just happen by chance and Coach Roderique says key factors included “the fact that players and coaches were more focused on team success rather than their own individual accomplishments. 

   “Our coaches always did a great job of trying to find a better way and not being satisfied with where we were. No matter how much success you have, there’s always room for improvement. Being hungry and humble are a couple other attributes I’ve witnessed from our kids over the years.” 

   There’s more to building a successful program than simply winning championships and Coach Roderique advises, “Holding kids accountable every day to high expectations of having great attitudes and work ethics is important as is consistently communicating with players on the purpose of why we are here. Our goals are to win games and be as competitive as we possibly can, but our purpose is much bigger – to help young men develop the life skills that will allow them to be great husbands, fathers and people in this world.” 

   Coach Roderique has every reason to be happy with his career, and he humbly says, “I’m proud of the success our program has experienced over the years but what makes me most proud is seeing the success of so many of the young men who went through our program. There is no greater joy than to see them excel as adults.”   

Webb City Athletic Director & Football Head Coach Fast Facts

Ages: 55

Spouse: Heather Roderique

Years Married: 31 years March 21, 2023   

Children: Daughter Hailey Derryberry and husband, Trey, and sons Felix and Beck, with their third child coming in May 2023; son John Roderique and wife, Corbin, and son Bo and daughter Cooper; son Tyson Roderique, who is in his third year of medical school, doing rotations in Michigan.

Hometown: Webb City, Missouri     

High School Alma Mater: Webb City High School (class of 1986)   

College Alma Mater: Pittsburg State University (class of 1990)   

College Degree: BSED in Physical Education & MSED in Physical Education

Favorite Football Movie: 1.) All the Right Moves 2.) Remember the Titans   

Favorite Football Head Coach: Don Shula, legendary head coach of the Miami Dolphins

Notoriety: In 2018, Coach Roderique was recognized by MaxPreps as the No. 35 high school football coach of all time. Coach Roderique was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 2021.

Quotable: Coach Roderique says, “This (what I will miss most of all) is difficult to determine at this point, but I will miss the players and the coaches a great deal. The comradery with all involved in the program each day is special. I will miss the players’ parents who have been so supportive. I will miss Friday nights on the west sideline of Cardinal Stadium.” Likewise, Coach Roderique admits, “I’m assuming I won’t miss working seven days a week. I won’t miss the sleepless nights.”