Justin Seitz set for new chapter after leaving Eastern York boys' basketball

Seitz resigned last week after coaching the Golden Knights for five seasons.

Thomas Kendziora
York Dispatch

Justin Seitz admits his decision to step down as Eastern York’s boys’ basketball coach took plenty of people by surprise. But he knew it was the right time to make the move.

Seitz resigned last week after guiding the Golden Knights for five seasons. He led Eastern’s junior high program before taking the varsity job and was a star player for the Knights in high school. The program went 76-49 in his five seasons, made the district playoffs four times and reached states twice, including a run to the quarterfinals this spring.

Eastern York head coach Justin Seitz during YAIAA boys’ basketball semifinal action against Central York at York County School of Technology in York Township, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023. Central York would win the game 72-59. Dawn J. Sagert photo

But as commitments piled up between his full-time marketing job, his role in an AAU hoops organization and his high school coaching duties, Seitz said he wasn’t able to bring the same energy each day that he always asks of his players.

“I’ve always demanded high energy and commitment from my players,” Seitz said, “and it just got to the point of, ‘I don’t feel like I can match that anymore and give that to them.’ It would be, in a sense, hypocritical to stay on and not be fully in. It wouldn’t be fair to the kids.”

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Seitz considered stepping away after last season before ultimately returning. That energy, though, never fully returned, even as Eastern York began the season 11-0. Leaving work early to run practice, then putting together scouting reports and checking other boxes after coming home, was taking its toll. Seitz knew by January this would be his last season, although he didn’t want to distract his players by telling them.

The Golden Knights battled through injuries and a dense second-half schedule to finish the regular season 15-6. They finished second in York-Adams Division II, reached the semifinals of the league tournament and dropped their first district playoff game before winning twice to place fifth. Then came PIAA Class 4A tournament wins over Danville and Overbrook before the season came to an end with a loss to Allentown Central Catholic.

Eastern York's coach Justin Seitz talking to one of the refs during the game against Allentown Central Catholic in the PIAA boys basketball quarterfinal in Reading on March 17, 2023.

Had Eastern advanced to the state semifinals, its game would have been on a Monday night. Seitz had a work meeting in Cincinnati that Tuesday morning and said he would have had to drive through the night in order to be present at both.

Seitz’s final varsity team at Eastern York was also the last team whose seniors he coached in middle school. Austin Bausman, the Division II Player of the Year and a 1,300-point scorer for his career, headlined the class, while Jack Weaver was a starter for the Knights and Sam Osterberg served as a role player.

“We started things together and then we kind of went out together,” Seitz said. “Seeing them when they were in seventh grade when they had no facial hair and now they have beards … just kind of that maturation process throughout those six years is really, really special.”

Eastern York's Sam Osterberg (50), left, Austin Bausman (24), in center, and Jack Weaver (32), right, after their loss to Allentown Central Catholic in the PIAA boys basketball quarterfinal in Reading on March 17, 2023.

Seitz also coached both his sons with the Golden Knights. Trevor, a 2020 graduate, also reached the 1,300-point threshold and now plays at Division III Marywood University. And Brady worked his way into the varsity rotation as a freshman before starting at point guard as a sophomore last season.

Brady Seitz will be one of three returning starters for Eastern in 2023-24 alongside D-II all-star center Carter Wamsley and rising senior Simon Lipsius. With several other key rotation players coming back as well, the job should have plenty of appeal to applicants. Justin Seitz said he won’t be too involved in the search for his replacement but will offer his opinion if asked.

Eastern York's Brady Seitz (2) against Allentown Central Catholic in the PIAA boys basketball quarterfinal in Reading on March 17, 2023.

Justin Seitz will still be a big part of the local basketball scene. He’s the president of the York Ballers AAU organization and coaches the program’s Class of 2025 team, which includes son Brady and Wamsley alongside Central York standouts Ben Rill and Ben Natal, York Suburban’s Kai Stryhn and several other talented players from around the region. The travel season primarily runs in the spring and summer — the Ballers have a tournament in Pittsburgh this weekend — and most tournaments are over weekends, which allows for more balance with work.

“It’s different responsibilities that, in some ways, aren’t as consuming and demanding,” Seitz said. “There’s still a lot of work to do, but it’s just in different areas.”

When the high school season resumes in the winter, Seitz will be able to watch Trevor play at Marywood (alongside Bausman, who will be an incoming freshman) and Brady play for the Golden Knights. His brother, Jason Seitz, still coaches the girls’ team; Jason’s daughter Arianna was the D-II Player of the Year as a junior. 

“It’ll be really neat,” Justin Seitz said of the ability to watch his sons. “They both have two years left, and probably for both of them, that’ll be their last two years. So to be able to just kind of sit back and evaluate and watch them enjoy what they do and be able to just look at things through a different lens … they’re not doing it with dad being around, they’re playing basketball because they like to play the game. So it’ll be really, really neat and much easier to juggle.”

For those on the outside who don’t see the juggling act, the decision to resign may still be a surprise a week later. But Seitz is at peace and excited for the next chapter.