Troy Sowers thrilled to return to coaching with Eastern York boys' basketball

The decorated coach has won 369 games and four district titles leading both boys' and girls' teams.

Ryan Vandersloot
For The York Dispatch

Yogi Berra famously once said, “It ain’t over till it’s over.” While Berra wasn’t talking about the coaching career of Troy Sowers, his words most certainly can be used to explain Sowers' decision to break his mini-retirement to return to the coaching ranks once again.

The longtime coach, best known for his successful 10-year run that included three District 3 Class 4A titles with the York High boys’ basketball team, was officially announced as the new boys' coach at Eastern York High School last week.

“Coaching has always sort of been in my blood,” said Sowers, who also previously coached the York Tech boys’ team as well as the West York and Spring Grove girls’ teams. “And when I retired (in March 2022) I wasn’t sure if I’d coach again. If I didn’t, I was perfectly fine with it.”

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.

Sowers spent the past season coaching the York High girls' ninth-grade team while also helping out the Bearcats' varsity squad. He would have done the same again next year had it not been for the opening at Eastern that caught him — and others — somewhat off guard.

The Golden Knights entered last season as the prohibitive favorites to win York-Adams Division II and expected to contend for the league crown. After a blistering start, however, Eastern slumped down the stretch, allowing West York to capture the D-II title.

The Knights turned things around in the playoffs, though. They finished fifth in the District 3 Class 4A draw, winning two straight games after a quarterfinal loss to Octorara to open the tournament. From there, the EY boys won their first two games of the PIAA playoffs before eventually bowing out to District 11 champ Allentown Central Catholic in the state quarterfinals.

There wasn’t any thought that the Eastern York position, which coach Justin Seitz held for the past five years, would be open. But Seitz stepped down in April, citing a struggle to stay energized as he balanced coaching, his full-time employment and his work on the local AAU circuit.

“You never know when something is going to come up like this,” Sowers said. “Justin stepping down to also be able to watch his son play in college, as well as his other son to play high school basketball, is something I get.”

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Sowers cited family responsibilities as part of his reason for stepping down in 2022 after his own successful four-year run leading the Spring Grove girls. He mentioned becoming a grandfather as one of the reasons for his decision back then.

Spring Grove head coach Troy Sowers, seen here in a file photo, will lead his Rockets against Central York on Monday night. John A. Pavoncello photo

A little over a year later, Sowers, who teaches computer literature classes at York High, now feels comfortable getting back to the grind that high school coaching requires.

“I don’t have that much to complain about these days, honestly,” Sowers said. “My family is real good and I like my job, and now I have a new coaching job.”

Sowers plans on keeping Nico Karanicolas, who coached the Eastern JV team last year, on his staff. He also plans to bring in his cousin, Eric Sowers, as an assistant.

For fans of up-tempo basketball, Sowers plans on implementing that style in Wrightsville as he seeks his fifth career District 3 title. Sowers also won the District 3 Class 5A crown with the Spring Grove girls back in 2021.

Spring Grove Head Coach Troy Sowers directs from the sideline during PIAA District 3, Class 5-A girls' basketball championship action against Gettysburg at Spring Grove Area High School in Jackson Township, Friday, March 12, 2021. Spring Grove would defeat Gettysburg 58-43. Dawn J. Sagert photo

“I last coached the boys seven years ago at York High,” Sowers said. “So I’m going to sort of have to get a base of knowledge on what teams are good and what players are coming back.

“My style of play is going to be the same that I ran at York High and that I ran at Spring Grove, and we were successful with it. I’m definitely going to carry that along here to Eastern. Eric (Sowers) is used to that and he likes it. It’s a fun way for kids to play. We’re going to play with grit and ball-pressure and a transition offense, which are all the sorts of things that I’ve done my entire coaching career.”

Sowers, who has a 369-247 record over his career, will inherit a roster of exciting players entering the 2023-24 season. That list includes 6-foot-6 rising junior Carter Wamsley, who averaged nearly 16 points and 10 rebounds per game this past season. It also includes point guard Brady Seitz — who is the son of Justin Seitz — and wing players Simon Lipsius and Carter Foote-Renwick. The Golden Knights will also welcome back Avant King, who missed this season with an ACL injury.

Eastern York's Carter Wamsley (34) against Allentown Central Catholic's  Lucas Mushrush (30) in the PIAA boys basketball quarterfinal in Reading on March 17, 2023.

“I think we’re bringing back the most of any of the teams in Division II,” Sowers said. “And I think with the quality of kids that I’m going to have at Eastern, our goal is going to be the same that it always has been for me — to win the division, win the county championship, win the district title and finally win the state title.

“That’s what I’ve told my teams every season ever since my third year at York High, where we did (almost) all of that. We played in all of those games, and that sort of gives you the point of reference of what can actually happen. And if you don’t have that as your goal, you’re never going to get there.”