After losing to New Oxford at home this season and in the semifinals of last year's York-Adams League tournament, the victory in this game meant more. York Dispatch
As Kevin Schieler celebrated Central York High School’s York-Adams League title win on Feb. 13, he knew his players could tell something was different about his reaction.
Schieler, the last person to climb the ladder and cut down the final pieces of net at York College, vigorously swung the net around his head and played to the crowd with tears welling up in his eyes. Below him, his players traded looks that were equal parts joy and surprise.
On that night, Schieler said the emotions he expressed were because of the previous seasons, when his team lost in that title game. There was, however, another reason for the emotional celebration.
Schieler already knew it was the last season he would coach the team.
Schieler announced his resignation as Central York's coach on Wednesday night after the Panthers' PIAA Class 6-A second-round loss to McDowell ended their 2019-2020 campaign at 24-5.
“It definitely made the entire postseason more special,” Schieler said. “The extra fist pumps in the infamous picture everyone keeps sending me and the gif out there of me swirling the net around my head, was all because this was the last run and I was glad we were able to achieve the goals the guys set out for themselves.”
Some of those goals — winning the Y-A Division I title, securing the league title and making a run in the state playoffs — were accomplished. Although it was the best season the Panthers had on the court in nearly 40 years, Schieler had lost the ability to continue the culture of hard work he challenged his players to meet every day.
Running on empty: The long hours, which he estimated run more than 1,000 per season, added up over a 16-year career on the sidelines. He knew it was time to step down.
“I can’t give the program the energy it deserves anymore,” Schieler said. “I’m very, very proud of the hard work ethic that we’ve made our players believe in at Central, and one of the downfalls of that is every time we want to do something new, we’ve got to do something more. I just can’t give the program the energy it deserves and the boys deserve someone that can give ... that energy.”
In his nine seasons as the Panthers’ head coach, Schieler compiled a 166-75 record. He was named the Y-A Division I Coach of the Year this season.
A tough conversation: Schieler knew at the end of the regular season that this would be his final campaign, but told the team before the start of the state tournament.
He waited until a day when the players had some time to themselves to digest the announcement and prepare for a run at the PIAA 6-A title.
“It was very, very, very difficult for me to tell them,” Schieler said. “It was shocking to them. As my guys always have done, they responded very well.”
Schieler said he will remain a teacher at the school and will support the program and players however he can until they find a new coach. He also didn’t rule out a potential return to coaching after a few years removed from the sidelines.
There were too many memories over his time involved with the program for Schieler to pinpoint one as his favorites, but he offered senior Evan Eisenhart’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer to force overtime against Northeastern this season as a moment he will never forget.
Always working hard: While he is upset to be leaving the players and program he spent a near decade guiding, Schieler is proud of the lessons the players learned along the way.
He made a promise to them each season, and while he has opted to step down because he can’t fulfill his side of that promise anymore, the fact that his players always did allowed him to leave knowing the boys will be better men for their time in the program.
“If they do certain things for our program, then I will be the hardest-working head coach they have ever played for,” Schieler said of his promise to the Panthers. “I’m not able to do that anymore, which is the reason I’m stepping down. To have our guys buy into that as a program and value what they can do if they just work a little harder is one of the things I’m most proud of and I’m hoping that means something to them as they go beyond high school.”
Reach Rob Rose at firstname.lastname@example.org.