Billiards world champ at Pembroke Day
By Robert Kelley
Assistant Sports Editor
“Rack!” A term that is yelled following a billiards match. It means that the game
is over and it’s time for somebody to rack the balls for the next game. That was the job that Tom Rossman had as a young boy.
When Rossman was only 10 years old, he would rack up balls for the next game, brush the tables and sweep the floors at Elsie’s Pool Hall. That is where the fascination began for the man now known as “Dr. Cue.”
While attending Eastern Illinois University, Rossman tried his first trick shot.
“I had a natural knack for it, so I went home and read up on other things I could try to do,” he said.
Rossman graduated from Eastern Illinois after five years with a degree in, what he called, “Billiardology.”
“Anytime that a word ends in ‘ology’, it means it is the study of spheres, projectiles and planes. That’s all billiards is.
Spheres (pool balls), projectiles (cue sticks) and planes (pool table). So I have a degree in ‘Billiardology,’” Rossman said.
With his self-made degree in hand, Rossman traveled to Columbus, Ohio, for a local game of pool. The National Trick Shot competition was being held in the same pool hall. He decided to enter and won second place.
“That’s when I knew that I wanted to play pool for the rest of my life,” Rossman said.
Since then, Rossman has won over 35 major tournaments in his career, including 12 national or world titles.
In 2006, Rossman won the US Open of Billiards to go along with his 2003 title.
This followed a stretch where Rossman won the World Pool-Billiards Association “Artistic Pool” Tournament four years in a row from 2000-2003.
Commonly seen on ESPN, Rossman and fellow professional Mike Massey have butted heads quite a few times in world trick shot titles, but until recently Massey always had Rossman’s number.
“Me and Mike are friendly rivals, but it wasn’t too friendly until I finally beat him head to head,” Rossman said. “I love playing against Mike, he’s great for the game.”
Rossman has taken his national success and turned that into an instructional book in 1988 entitled “Rack Up a Victory,” and five instructional videos which go in depth on the fundamentals of the game, starting with positions and angles and going through more advanced techniques.
He introduced guide books in 1991 entitled “Banks, Tricks & Kicks” for additional learning. Rossman wants the game of billiards to continue to grow and does everything he can to try and help in promotions. Rossman became an Artistic Pool and Trick Shot Association Committee Consultant in 2005.
This followed Rossman becoming an International Artistic Pool Players Association Events/Tour Financial Administrator.
Rossman and his wife, Marty “Ms. Cue” Rossman, started doing nationwide tours in 1986. Rossman travels all across the country, showing off his abilities, but said that he prefers a smaller school, like UNCP, compared to a larger school.
Rossman has been hired by the UNCP recreation center for over 10 years to perform during Pembroke Day.
“I love the friendships that I can create at a smaller school, such as this,” Rossman said. “Pembroke gives me that feel. It’s always been nice, cordial and I look forward to coming here every year,” he continued.