My first memory of Rob Weltz was of the young kid who would dribble his basketball everywhere he went. You might see him anywhere around town. He would dribble the ball from his house up in the vicinity of Minards Pond all the way to the Bellows Falls playgrounds over a mile away. He would dribble and then he would dribble. More on that later.
Tennis and basketball were Rob’s sports. Tennis began first as his family would go to the playground courts for a family day of fun. He would play three years of high school tennis under Tim Allen whom he enjoyed playing for very much.
Basketball became a love at about the same time. Once again, the playground is where he would develop his game. Long hours spent both having fun and learning the game from others.
He developed a close relationship with John Eno, a one time Terriers’ standout, who went on to become one of the best players at the college level to ever go through Bellows Falls. Eno went on to forge a successful college career at Castleton State College under the tutelage of Stan Van Gundy, presently coaching the New Orleans Pelicans in his 12th year as an NBA head coach.
Weltz met Eno, who is several years older, when working on his game at the Bellows Falls courts while Eno was advancing his individual skills in the summer while at Castleton. Weltz said, “John took me under his wing and helped me develop my skills. I also was helped by many adults in the community when I would go to the playgrounds at night to get better.”
Weltz, as I said, would dribble and then he would dribble. He would dribble all the way home after a playground session, but then in intermittent bursts he would explode into the special drills Eno would stress he should work on.
Weltz became a high school varsity starter in the middle of his sophomore year. He helped lead his team to its first Final Four since the days of Eno. He was determined to be the best he could be. Most importantly, he was willing to work for it. In a glamour, well-attended game shortly after becoming the starting point guard versus rival Fall Mountain, Weltz had the ball in his hand and drove to his left and lost the handle with the game on the line. He stayed in the gym for more than an hour that night working solely on the move. He continued to try to perfect that move over the next week before the return game with Fall Mountain.
When the time came a few days later at Fall Mountain, before a sellout crowd and the seconds ticking down in overtime in a classic thriller, Weltz again drove to his left, went down the lane making a strong move and laying the ball off the glass with the difference maker.
The former Terrier standout, who graduated high school in 1990, went on to UVM, where the dream came late in his days there, to lead an athletic program some day. After graduating, he went on to Springfield College to get his master’s degree in athletic administration. He says, “It was important to me to have the opportunity to watch people grow and develop and to enjoy making connections the job allows you to form.”
While Weltz was getting things in order following the acquisition of his master’s degree, he came home to Bellows Falls, taught for a year at Windsor High School, coached basketball at Fall Mountain and track at Bellows Falls, and then he spent a year grooming at the Dean’s Office at Lehigh University. The next year he took his first athletic director job at a small private school, Brandon Hall with 150 students in Dunwoody, Ga. in 1998. Then two years later, he took the challenge of a much bigger program at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School, in Sandy Springs, Ga. with 1,300 students, where he spent 10 years and was recently inducted to their Wall of Fame. Weltz presently is the athletic director at Saint Mary’s School in Raleigh, N.C.
Accompanying this article is the official release sent out by Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School honoring Weltz. It reads:
“Rob Weltz, Director of Athletics from 2000-2010, [was] inducted into the Wall of Fame Friday, Oct. 2 at halftime of the varsity football game. It was very fitting because Weltz initiated the implementation of football at the school that helped provide student-athletes and families an opportunity to stay at HI. Weltz stated, ‘Adding football at HI was crucial in making sure that our athletes and parents could remain at the school. Football was a community builder and helped make sure that our student-athletes in the younger grades remained at the school to wear varsity uniforms in all of our athletic programs.’
“Weltz was also instrumental in adding boys’ and girls’ lacrosse as well as providing opportunities for our sixth graders to start earlier in the athletic program. He helped lead a capital campaign program that enhanced playing fields on the South Campus; built a baseball/softball complex; and a state of the art Wellness Center, athletic training room, and gymnasium.
“Current Director of Athletics Tony Watkins states, ‘Rob left a great legacy at Holy Innocents’ by introducing football and lacrosse and implementing many administrative systems that are still in place today. He is respected by his peers and the colleagues that had the opportunity to work with him. We are excited that he has been inducted into the Holy Innocents’ Wall of Fame. It is well deserved.’
Current Head Wrestling Coach Stacey Davis at HI states, ‘Rob was instrumental during his tenure of creating a culture of excellence while focusing on the success of the student-athlete first in the classroom. Rob always said take care of the student as a coach and the athlete will take care of the coach. I will forever be grateful of his guidance and leadership.’
“Weltz states, “It was truly an honor to be recognized at a school that I admire and love. Holy Innocents’ was my home for 10 years. My hope is that my contributions to the school will live on and the motto of ‘Doing what is in the best interests of the student-athletes’ will live for generations.’
Rob Weltz is the son of Phyllis Weltz of Bellows Falls and the late Hans Weltz. Rob credits his parents with his moral fabric saying, ‘They always stuck with me and I am so grateful for the job they did to instill values and community service to others in me.’ In these pandemic times he misses his mother greatly and worries she is so far away and living alone. He says, ‘She is a gift from God. An absolute angel.’
“The recipient also felt that his time in the basketball program helped shape many of the ideals he carries forward today. He noted, ‘The coaches helped develop my skills as a person with communication with older people and a work ethic. That lives with me today and is the foundation of my skills and attributes as an AD and coach. It taught me to lead others to reach further than what they think they are capable of.’”