There was a relaxing feel to being an assistant high school basketball coach for Jay Rexroth.
After 17 years of being the head coach of the Dallastown boys' varsity team, he liked that he only had to show up for practices two hours a day, and not deal with the 24-7 grind that comes with being the head man in charge. It helped him enjoy the game again and recharge his batteries.
Sometimes, however, a coach can feel obligated to fulfill a duty, and while Rexroth wasn't actively searching to become a head basketball coach again, the opportunity still presented itself.
Last month, Rexroth, 54, was approved by the Dallastown school board to take over as head coach for the girls' basketball program, replacing Mary Manlove, who was dismissed in late March. Rexroth said he accepted the position after being approached by the Dallastown administration, including athletic director Tory Harvey. Attempts to reach Harvey for comment were unsuccessful.
"When you're an assistant, it's show up two hours for practice and that's the best part," Rexroth said. "There's two hours of practice and you don't have to deal with all the other things that go along with being a head coach. That's why I was really happy with the position I was in and really wasn't looking to be a head coach again, but when your alma mater — I'm a graduate of Dallastown, played here, coached here — when they call, sometimes you have to answer that call."
In 17 years as head coach of the Wildcat boys' basketball program from 1993-2009, Rexroth saw success, mostly at the league level. He guided the program to two York-Adams League titles, in 1995-96 and 2000-01, and compiled a career record of 233-172.
Replacing Manlove: Since stepping down as the boys' coach in 2009, he spent three years as an assistant with the Dover girls' basketball team and two years' as an assistant at York Suburban. Now, he's tasked with succeeding Manlove, who was controversially dismissed following this past season.
Manlove coached the Wildcat girls' team for seven seasons and had a record of 114-77. Her team won the York-Adams League crown in 2013 and was the Y-A League Division I champion in 2015. However, amid allegations of verbal, physical and mental abuse from some of her players and parents of players, she was dismissed from her position and an investigation was launched. No charges were ever brought against Manlove. As coach at Dallastown, Manlove's teams twice won the league's Sportsmanship Award, first in 2011 and then, ironically, this past year.
Before even being approached to take over the vacant position, Rexroth said he wasn't aware of the allegations regarding Manlove's coaching techniques, but said he does know her from teaching within the school district. Meanwhile, Rexroth admitted that he can be intense on the sidelines, but that he's never had any complaints over his coaching techniques.
"I would say I'm fairly intense, but in a positive way," he said. "Most of the kids I've coached in the past would say they liked playing for me, liked the style of coaching that I used, but I am intense on the sideline."
Regardless, he has a long history with Dallastown, graduating from the school in 1980 and then returning to the school as a teacher and the junior high basketball coach for six years after graduating from Millersville University, where he also played basketball.
Now, he's focused on the girls' program and taking it in a new direction.
"I think we need to change the culture a little bit," he said. "I think we need to get Dallastown girls' basketball back to where it used to be and make it a positive experience for all the kids that play in our program."
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at email@example.com