Kennard-Dale High boys' basketball coach Jake Roupe resigns to spend time with family
Jake Roupe expected the unusual challenges of the COVID-19 era to make things difficult for him and his team this season.
The Kennard-Dale High School boys’ basketball coach prepared for a campaign that included wearing masks during games, contests canceled because of the pandemic and few or zero fans. What he couldn’t predict, however, was how the extra at-home time during the pandemic would affect him.
Being home more often made Roupe realize the time spent with his 2-year-old daughter was too valuable to miss once life eventually returns to normal. As a result, he announced his resignation as the Rams’ head coach over the weekend.
“My daughter is getting older every single day, so watching her grow you always think about that type of stuff,” Roupe said. “She’s really growing up quick and we’re starting to get her involved in things and I don’t really want to have nights where I leave in the morning and not get home until she goes to bed.”
Difficult talk: Roupe told the Rams’ players after their team banquet on Saturday.
Once the awards were handed out, the group assembled in the locker room and Roupe delivered the news. He wanted to make sure they heard it from him in-person and understood why he had to make the decision.
While they were disappointed to hear of his departure, Roupe said the messages he received from the players after the banquet helped to soften the sadness he felt in the moment.
“Absolutely the most difficult conversation I’ve had to have,” Roupe said. “We were emotional, but it was cool because the kids all understood because we have that type of relationship and they know what my daughter means to me. I appreciate that, but it was very tough. You can’t really prepare for something like that.”
A Ram at heart: Part of the reason why the choice to stop coaching was so challenging for Roupe was how long he had been attached to the program.
A 2008 K-D graduate, Roupe volunteered while in college and then started coaching in the lower levels of the program. He became the head coach in 2016 and led the team to a pair of district playoff appearances in 2018 and 2021, and K-D’s first trip to the state playoffs in two decades in 2018.
“The program has been a really big part of my life ever since I was a kid, but especially the last five years,” Roupe said. “I came in as a 25 year old. I was young, I didn’t have a family at that point, but things change over time. My care for that program is always going to be there, but my daughter comes first.”
Roupe added that with the success of this year’s K-D teams, which included winning seasons for each of the program’s four squads, he feared sticking around too long and regretting that he missed memories and moments with his daughter.
The Rams' varsity team finished 13-6 overall this past season, including a 9-3 mark in York-Adams Division II. That included a tie for second place in the division with West York.
He'll remain a big K-D supporter: While he will miss being the Rams’ coach, Roupe will remain around to support the players he has built a bond with in any way he can.
While the Rams may have lost their coach, the team has a new No. 1 fan.
“I think it’s in a great place,” Roupe said. “I owe that to all the kids and the other coaches. We had a lot of fun over the past couple years, but we have improved a ton. I like where the program is at and I’m excited to watch and see where it goes because I know it’s in a good spot.”
Reach Rob Rose at firstname.lastname@example.org.