Stepping down as the Dallastown High School girls' soccer coach wasn't a decision that Barry Barbush wanted to make.
He knew in his heart it wasn't something he wanted to give up. Nor was it a decision that would make a lot of people happy, either.
But given the demands on his time as the person in charge of the employee benefits department at Insurance Services United, Barbush had no other choice than to tender his resignation at Dallastown.
Was it handled the way Barbush, who recorded more than 100 victories over six years at the helm, would have envisioned it?
Barbush voiced his concerns with school officials on several occasions that it was getting harder and harder for him to leave work to get to games and practices. So when he was asked if he would, in essence, be back next year, he said he couldn't give an answer at that time.
That prompted the school district to make the head coaching position available with a news release last month.
What ensued was a sea of questions and emotions -- many negative -- from parents and players alike. Even Barbush admitted that he felt like he left them down.
Still, Barbush feels strongly that the program will be in a good position to succeed under new leadership. He's leaving not only as the all-time winningest coach in the program's history, but also a winner of five York-Adams Division I and four York-Adams League Tournament titles to his name.
And, who knows, Barbush may be back doing what he loves sometime in the future.
We caught up with the 55-year-old former coach for this edition of Sports Q&A.
How tough a call was it for you to decide to step down?
"It was probably very tough, because I liked what I was doing. You pull from the day-to-day, month-to-month, and year-to-year part of it and when you make that absolute change or even think about it, it's pretty hard. And when you start debating it, you have to be sure (the decision) is the right thing to do. And I spoke with (former boys' soccer coach) Mitch Groh, and he was telling me how hard it was for him to get out of school early in order to get to the high school early enough for the boys' stuff. Afterwards he said stuff to me like, 'hey, I can mow my lawn now instead of at 8:30 at night with my light on my mower' and different things of that nature. And it's pretty much year-round now, not every day, but maybe three days a week, during the spring and summer to get ready for the fall. And that just added more work. So you're never going to want to quit, but if now is the time you're thinking about it, it ought to be the time to do it."
So how did it all go down? I know there was some confusion and it didn't go the way you would have liked.
"We talked about it and they said that the contract is an annual, renewable contract and they needed to be able to submit my name by May 8 and know what my staff is going to be, which is the way we do it at Dallastown. So I said that I'm not really 100 percent sure where I stand on this and they said they were going to have to do what's called an 'anticipated opening,' so they weren't caught behind by not having a coach for the position."
Did the girls on the team know about it at that time?
"No. And I couldn't even talk to them as a team. So the girls didn't know and the parents didn't know and that caused some uproar. So I didn't know that was going on until after it happened when it appeared in the paper. So, yeah, that caused a bit of uncertainty and I felt like I let people down by not letting everyone know before and then announce it."
That would have been the easier way to do it, right?
"Yeah, yeah, absolutely."
So how did the girls respond when they found out?
"They were mad. They asked 'can you change your mind?' and 'why?' and I think a lot of them felt like I let them down somehow. But as my friends have said, 'you're going to do it at some point in your life' so it's going to happen."
Do you have any idea who might take over for you?
"No, I really don't. I spoke to my assistant coach (Morgan) Mickley and encouraged her to apply for it, but there's been no decision made. I spoke to (Athletic Director) Tory (Harvey) the other day and he said that they hadn't filled it yet. Coach Mickley's been around with me for five years, so she knows our system. And I think what I've implemented is a successful system, one where we can compete with anybody."
So what do you plan on doing with your time away from coaching?
"I'm too young to retire, retire. I'm active and I'm going to go kayaking, so I'm doing more things that I couldn't do. I couldn't train for a 10-miler or a half-marathon, so I can sort of put my energy into some other things. And I'm also thinking about, and I have to talk with some other coaches what they think, I'm looking to maybe do something like a preseason boot camp for soccer kids that would have to work around my work schedule. Maybe where we do a Sunday, Tuesday and a Thursday evening and get them ready for the high school season. Without being in any biased position, since I'm not the coach at Dallastown, I can be just someone to prepare them for the season. I don't know if I'll have time to do it this summer, but maybe next summer."
What would you say is your favorite memory from your time spent coaching at Dallastown?
"Well, there are two of them. One would have to be winning game No. 1 (of his coaching career) against Spring Grove. It was our first league game, at home, and it went overtime. We were coming off a season where we were 9-10 the year before and Spring Grove was the defending league champs. So we won 2-1, and to me that was pretty exciting. And then I would have to say the state quarterfinals. It was down in Morgantown and we played Council Rock South. They were a heavy favorite to beat us. They were dominating us, but our strategy was like a boxer -- you take your punches and then look for opportunities. So at halftime my strategy was to wait for them to get lazy. They kept pushing up constantly on a turf field at night and I said, 'let's take our chances when a defender is getting a little too lazy.' So we found an attack spot and we attacked and we scored and beat them 1-0. That was probably another highlight."
You mentioned that you would like to return to coaching someday. Would that be as a high school head coach at Dallas town, somewhere else, or just as a camp in structor?
"Well I'm going to continue to do the camps. There were some questions as to whether I was going to have this camp this July. That camp is run separately from the school and it's called Wildcat Championship Soccer and that's July 15-19. So what I've done is take a week's vacation. Others might go to the beach, but I'll go to the camp. So I'm going to continue to run that camp and that's going to stay as it is. Then I run a winter one for youth where it's Saturdays in February to get them ready for their youth seasons. As far as coming back to Dallastown, I recall when I was hired that Mr. Harvey said, 'this is your job until you decide to not keep it.' So I don't want to be in a position where I go in and say 'hey, your team is not doing well and I want to coach back here at Dallastown.' I wouldn't want to push them under that. So I would, if my schedule allows, be amicable to another school position or even helping out at a college level. I feel that I'm a pretty good scout. I've gone to a lots of games and scouted a lot of opponents. I think I can derive a good game plan for coaches that might need that."
-- Reach Ryan Vander sloot at sports@yorkdis patch.com.