Meet Jim Kunkle, the Spring Grove graduate who is taking over as New Oxford's new girls' basketball coach.
Kunkle is a familiar face in the York County coaching ranks after making four stops in the area during the last 12 years. Now he'll cross the county border into Adams County after the Conewago Valley School District approved his hire on Monday.
Kunkle will take over the reins from Mike Sanders, who led the Colonials to a district playoff victory while posting a 17-7 record in 2014. Kunkle recently spoke about his coaching roots, expectations for this season, and love for a pregame coffee.
Q Where are you originally from?
A York, Pa.
Q Is this your first coaching gig?
A No, my first coaching job was in 2003 at York Country Day. I was the head varsity girls' coach from 2003 to 2011. Then I was the junior varsity boys' coach at Central York with coach Kevin Schieler for the 2011-12 season. My last high school coaching position was varsity girls' assistant at West York with Jon Shultz from 2012 to 2014. I currently coach AAU basketball for Kevin Bankos at Ballyhoo Sports Academy.
Q Did you play basketball in high school or college?
A I played high school basketball at Spring Grove for coach Darrell Wildasin.
Q When did you accept the New Oxford position? Was it expected or a surprise?
A I accepted the position back in May. When I learned about the job, I was surprised at how good of a fit I would be to the program. It's been a goal of mine to be a head coach at the varsity level again, so when this opportunity came up, I knew with my background I could be the right one for the position.
Q What was your first reaction when you were offered the job?
A I was really excited. I've got a great foundation to build on, and I'm really looking forward to the season.
Q Do you know many of the players already?
A I didn't know any of the players when I first started attending open gyms, but I got to know most of the players during summer league and at our team camp at Penn State.
Q This squad had some success last season. Does that make it easier for a coach to come in and have a solid foundation already?
A Absolutely, this group of girls were together the whole way through the youth program. Coach Mike Sanders and his staff did an excellent job building a solid foundation for the program.
Q What kind of expectations do you have for this team next season?
A I'm planning on continuing the success of the 2014-15 season. I want to be in contention for the YAIAA Division I title, and make it to the (league tournament), districts and states. You have to aim high, and with this team, I know we can do it.
Q What's the best coaching advice you've ever received?
A I've been very fortunate to have been surrounded by a lot of great coaches, but the best advice was not words, it was actions. I've learned over the years that communicating with my team and teaching the girls to play with pride is how I will get the most out of them.
Q What are you looking forward to the most this season?
A I've heard a lot about these New Oxford home games, and I am looking forward to seeing how the community comes out to support the players.
Q When you're not coaching basketball, what do you like to do?
A I enjoy spending time with my wife and my two daughters. We do a lot of traveling to see our 10-year-old daughter play basketball, lacrosse and soccer. We also have an 18-month-old who keeps us busy.
Q We've heard of players having odd gameday superstitions, but do coaches have those, too? What is yours?
A I have to have my coffee prior to game time.