Rod grew up in Rock Rapids, Iowa, and graduated from Southern State College in Springfield, S.Dak. He coached girls golf at O’Gorman High School in Sioux Falls for 31 years, and boys golf for 12 years. The girls teams won 12 state championships, while the boys teams captured five state titles. He was named National High School Athletic Association Golf Coach of the Year in 2007 and in 2014 was enshrined in the NHSAA Golf Coaches Hall of Fame. Rod created the Southeast Junior Challenge, a series of junior golf events that also raised money for local golf teams and scholarships for high school golfers.