After year off, Troy Sowers back on sidelines as Dallastown boys' basketball assistant

Patrick Strohecker
York Dispatch
  • Former York High head coach Troy Sowers was approved as a volunteer assistant coach for Dallastown this season.
  • Dallastown is coming off a 14-8 season, losing in the first round of the District 3 6-A tournament.
  • In nine seasons with the Bearcats, Sowers led the team to three district titles and a state runner-up finish in 2008-09.

Sometime around the middle of this summer, former York High boys' basketball coach Troy Sowers realized he was starting to miss the game.

In this file photo, York High head coach Troy Sowers conducts tryouts on the first day of winter sports season. After taking a year off from coaching, Sowers will return this winter as an assistant coach for the Dallastown boys' team.

It had been more than a year since Sowers last roamed the sidelines coaching the Bearcats and he was reassessing whether or not he wanted to return to the game. 

Finally, his wife told him that he needed basketball and that was all it took for him to begin searching for ways to get back into coaching.

"I missed the competition and she could sense that," Sowers said. "I just missed... the challenge of winning."

On Thursday, Oct. 5, Sowers was approved by the Dallastown school board as a volunteer assistant for the boys' team. He'll serve under head coach Mike Grassel.

Despite Sowers being out of the game as a coach during the 2016-17 season, he wasn't fully away from it. 

His relationship with Grassel goes back several years and, during last season, they would discuss certain things about some of the foes Dallastown would face.

"We've been pretty good friends for the last four, five, six years," Sowers said. "...We talked last year. He'd call me and we'd talk about some of the games he was going to be playing. So, I pretty much had a running dialogue with him, not about coaching, but just about basketball."

Having Sowers as a volunteer assistant should pay huge dividends for a Wildcats team that has a real shot at contending in the York-Adams Division I race, as well as in districts.

Success with Bearcats: In nine seasons with York High, Sowers transformed the program into one of the best in all of Pennsylvania. He won six Y-A Division I titles, four Y-A tournament titles, three District 3 Class 4-A crowns and led the program to a state runner-up finish in 2009.

Win or lose, Sowers' message constant

"He's a winner," Grassel said about Sowers. "I respected Troy a lot when he was at York High and everything he did with that program and to help take that program to the next level."

While Sowers' pedigree hardly makes him your typical assistant, he joins a very veteran staff at Dallastown.

Grassel allows each of his assistants to bring their own philosophies to the team. Sowers knows he'll have the leeway to make suggestions, but also understands that Grassel has the final call. 

Sowers knows defense, winning: Grassel anticipates Sowers will add two areas of expertise to the Wildcats — defense and winning.

Troy Sowers brings postseason experience with him to Dallastown. In nine seasons with York High, he won four Y-A League tournaments, three district titles and guided the Bearcats to a state runner-up finish in 2008-09.

"Troy, I think, brings a great defensive mind to things," Grassel said. "Just like the rest of my staff, I'm going to play to his strengths. The big thing is just going to be that he's had experience in big situations and that is an added bonus to our coaching staff that, not to knock any of our guys, but we don't have anybody that's been in district championship games and obviously coach Sowers has a lot of experience with that."

A year ago, Dallastown went 14-9 overall and 8-6 in Division I, just missing out on the league playoffs, but did qualify for the District 3 6-A tournament. The Wildcats went on to lose in the first round of districts to Carlisle, falling by three on a missed 3-point attempt at the buzzer.

No speculation on future: Sowers wouldn't comment on whether or not this is the first step in getting back to becoming a head coach in the future. After spending more than a decade dealing with everything that comes with being a head coach off the court, however, he's simply looking forward to just dealing with basketball.

"It's different for me being an assistant," Sowers said. "But, I think at this point in my life, after I've done all that as a head coach and had all that hassle and just being responsible for everything in the program, my job right now is just to coach and I think that's going to be nice for me."

Of course, being a Division I team, Dallastown will face York High twice this season.

Sowers admitted that it will be a bit strange being on the other side of things during a Bearcats game. But, he also knows that he'll be fully committed to the Wildcats.

"I'll always be a Bearcat," he said. "I'm an alumni. I played basketball there. I coached there. But, for basketball right now, I'm 100 percent Wildcat."

— Reach Patrick Strohecker at