Another coaching domino fell in the YAIAA Thursday when the South Eastern School District school board approved Christopher Grube to be the next head football coach at Kennard-Dale.
Grube, a 25-year-old Schuylkill County native, served as the Rams' co-head coach alongside Eric Updegrove for the final six games last season after replacing Patrick Weider, who went 2-12 in 14 games. Grube and Updegrove led the Rams to a 2-4 record down the stretch with wins over Gettysburg and Eastern York, and nearly pulled off a win over Millersburg in the season finale.
"There were moments there when we could've easily been 4-2," Grube said. "My biggest thing though was what we were selling to the kids. We wanted to stay committed to them because the biggest thing to creating a successful team is a sense of family. The kids saw that at the end of the year and they bought in. And we're all excited for the offseason, we already have kids in the weight room."
Grube, who played four years as a right tackle for Wilkes University, has a tall task ahead of him. He takes over a struggling program that hasn't won more than three games in a season since 2010 when they went 5-5 and lost in the first round of districts. The Rams finished with the fifth-worst defense in the YAIAA and committed the second-most turnovers. The offense was a bright spot, finishing among the league's top ten teams in total yards despite being outscored by 119 points on the season. And now the team has to replace 18 seniors in Grube's first year. There is room for optimism though, Grube added. The Rams have a new football field where they played their final two games last season.
"That's probably our biggest thing, and we beat Eastern on it in our first game there," Grube said. "We're trying to build a program that everyone from administration, to the community to the players can be proud of. We're committed to providing positive leadership to allow these kids to succeed not just at the high school level but at the collegiate level both on the field and in the classroom."
You could hear Grube's excitement in his voice the day after being approved.
"I'm 25 so I'm excited personally," he said. "I didn't think I'd be given this opportunity at this point in my life. I have a ton of good ideas for us and as a teacher, I want a team GPA of 3.0. That's important to me. But we're all excited to get started. We have a lot of talented underclassmen so maybe we can get something rolling."
Grube is hopeful he'll have a majority of the staff that was with him at the end of last season back by his side. They all agreed to apply for the head coach job in November, Grube said, and if one of them was hired, that person would ask the rest of the staff to come back.
With Grube's hire and New Oxford hiring Greg Bowman earlier in the week, two of the league's six coaching vacancies have been filled. Eastern York, York County Tech, Central York and William Penn are still searching for new head coaches.
Spring sports: In addition to hiring Grube, the school board approved the re-hire of five Kennard-Dale head coaches for the spring. Tom Nelson and Kelly Wetzel will return as the head boys' and girls' lacrosse coaches, respectively. Jim Keirn was approved as the boys' volleyball coach, in addition to Greg Coultant for softball and Kevin Christman for track and field.