Coach Rocky Kent went to be with his Heavenly Father on August 18, 2017.
A man of miracles when it came to overcoming physical illness, including
a liver transplant in 2014. God finally called him to his eternal reward
October 22, 1945, Roland William Kent was born to Argus and Ruth Kent in
Alpena, Michigan. He was the second child, and only son, in the family
of four children. The two things that became most important to Roland as
he grew up were his relationship with the Lord and sports. Being the son
of two ordained ministers, he had a strong foundation for his faith
which carried him through his life. As for sports, that love grew and
became the enjoyment and work through which God worked in his life.
In high school the nickname of “Rocky” was given by his teammates and
that name stuck. Rocky was proud of his time at both Robichaud and
Bentley High Schools, in the Detroit area, where he was the quarterback,
played baseball and of course basketball. His athletic career continued
at Spring Arbor College where he played both baseball and basketball. He
scored 2050 points in his 4 years of basketball, which also led him to
be the MVP for three of those years, as well as an NAIA all district
player and the Senior athlete of the year. If that was not enough, he
also was an NAIA all district player in baseball for two years. In 2002
Spring Arbor inducted Rocky into their sports Hall of Fame for all of
In his freshman year at Spring Arbor, Rocky met Marva Jean Jopling, the
love of his life. Four years later they were married on June 17, 1967.
With his degree in Business and Economics and hers in Elementary
Education, they began their teaching, and his coaching, careers at
Hanover-Horton schools. Coaching all of his favorite high school sports
for five years lead him to land a position as an assistant basketball
coach back at his alma mater, Spring Arbor College. After four years
there, Rocky was offered to coach for Marion College (now Indiana
Wesleyan University), so they moved their three sons, to Marion, Indiana
where he once again coached baseball and basketball for several years.
Rocky took a hiatus from coaching and had a successful career selling
cars in the late 80’s, however, you can never take the desire to coach
out of a true sportsman, so when Bartlesville Wesleyan College needed a
basketball coach in 1990, Rocky Kent was the man for the job. Rocky
remained at BWC, later OKWU, until he retired in 2003. Over the years as
the head men’s basketball coach, he also served in roles including
Athletic Director, the Director of the Management of Human Resources,
and eventually as the Vice President for Finance.
Even after retirement Rocky could not stay out of the sports business.
He was requested to come back to Marion and be the high school athletic
director. He enjoyed that role until his second retirement in 2009 when
he and Marva wanted to return to Oklahoma to be with their sons and
Rocky loved numbers. This could be seen as he recalled details and
scores of every game he played or coached over the years. He also knew
how many stairs and or bleachers were in the various venues he would
He also loved his players. He wanted them to be successful men both on
and off the court. He cared for them, guided them, and kept tabs on
them. His legacy, through them, is a strong one.
He loved his family. In June, he was happy to celebrate he and Marva’s
50th wedding anniversary with what he called “Mom’s party”. He was
Rocky, but she was his rock as she supported him until the end. He loved
his sons and daughter’s-in-law and being with them as much as possible.
And he really loved his grandchildren – whether watching them play an
organized sport or just having them play around him as he sat in his
chair, they were all important to him.
The family will miss him dearly – his singing of the birthday song, his
call for Marva, and his gruff exterior that really did not hide his soft
spot for each of us. We will also miss his love, his strength, his
support and his guidance. But he knew and so do we, with no doubts, he
was headed to heaven and that gives us peace, comfort, and joy to know
that his battles with his earthly body are through.
Mr. Kent is survived by his wife Marva Jean (Jopling) Kent, three sons;
Thad Walker Kent and wife Sandra, Ty William Kent and wife Amanda, and
Todd Jopling Kent. Three sisters Naomi Ruyle (late husband David),
Corinne Glanzman and husband Art, and Miriam Moses and husband Leo, and
five grandchildren; Madison Elaine, Morgan Elizabeth, Sadie Jae, Michael
Stephan, and Mitchell Roland.
Rocky was preceded in death by parents Argus Lynn Kent and Ruth
Elizabeth (Walker) Kent.
The most appreciated gift for the family and way to honor Rocky would be
for you to become an organ donor.
Memorial Park Cemetery
4200 Nowata Rd
Bartlesville, OK, 74006