For the past few seasons, it’s been a running joke between West York girls’ volleyball coach Joe Ramp and athletic director Frank Hawkins that it would be Ramp’s final season leading the Bulldogs.
Ramp would give Hawkins a blank form that was supposed to be his resignation letter, but Hawkins never believed the coach, who led West York to the program’s only state title in 2018, would leave.
Neither of them are laughing today though, because Ramp has officially made the decision to leave high school coaching to spend more time with his family. The position has been posted by West York.
“In today’s society, finding coaches to fill open positions is tough enough, and then trying to fulfill a successful position is even tougher,” Hawkins said. “It’s a tough loss. He’s a great coach (and) he’s an even better person.”
Family comes first: Ramp’s passion for coaching hasn’t waned, but the time he is able to spend with his family became too much of a conflict for him to continue. He said that during the season he would only see his daughter between one and two hours per day.
With his wife’s work schedule, Ramp wants to be available to take his daughter to activities and be there to see her more. The decision wasn’t an easy one for Ramp, but after years of going back and forth, it was time to step away.
“At the end of the day it’s very difficult,” Ramp said. “I love coaching. I love working with kids. To leave West York is not an easy task. It’s difficult, but family does come first.”
He added that after coaching this group of seniors since middle school to graduation, it was as good a time as any to stop coaching the Bulldogs. Ramp will continue to coach club volleyball because there are only two practices per week and weekend tournaments.
He also left the door open for a future return if it fits his family’s plans.
“I think at some point in time I will be back,” Ramp said. “When I don’t know. If there’s an opportunity and the schedule works out, I will jump at it, but at this time it’s not in the best interest (of his family).”
West York became a perennial state power under Ramp and has won four straight York-Adams Division II titles. The Bulldogs also won two Y-A League Tournament titles during that span.
"Excruciating" decision for Steigleman: Ramp wasn’t the only tenured coach that had their position posted on Thursday by the Bulldogs. Field hockey coach Amanda Steigleman also won’t return to West York next season, opting to resign. Similarly to Ramp, she wants to be there for her three sons’ activities.
Steigleman added that this season’s 10-6-2 campaign solidified the concern that she felt during the year that she just didn’t have the ability to give her players the time and effort required to compete.
“I kind of got to the point where I felt like I wasn’t able to give everything I could to the girls and to the team,” Steigleman said. “I ask a lot out of my girls and I ask them to commit a lot, so I can’t really be doing that and not giving that same commitment back.”
Steigleman will remain an employee at the school and around the players to help with their pursuits of playing in college. She also went back and forth with her choice and in the end decided she had to step away from coaching despite her passion for the team and sport.
“The decision has been excruciating,” Steigleman said. “I literally haven’t slept. I’m hoping that I’m making the right decision. It’s hard because I love the sport and it’s given me so much over the years. It definitely wasn’t an easy decision.”
Hawkins said despite Steigleman’s departure as coach, there are no plans to stop the Kilts for a Cause fundraiser game between the field hockey team and a boys' athletic team. Steigleman played a major role in starting and maintaining the event.
Continuing the tradition: He added that he understands both coaches' decisions, having three children of his own that played youth sports. His hope is to have both positions filled with candidates that can continue the success that Ramp and Steigleman established by the school board meeting in late February.
“Someone that can carry on our Bulldog tradition,” Hawkins said. “We’re dedicated, we’re determined, we’re successful in-and-out of the classroom and we’re looking for a coach to bring his or her perspective that matches up with my and our district’s philosophy of what it means to be a Bulldog.”
Reach Rob Rose at firstname.lastname@example.org.