Troy Sowers steps down as Spring Grove girls' basketball coach, but doesn't close door on possible return to sideline
SPRING GROVE — There are few things that Troy Sowers is more passionate about than coaching basketball.
Known by his peers as a man who burns the midnight oil while preparing for the opposition, Sowers can certainly be called a basketball lifer.
After recently concluding his 28th season coaching high school basketball — a span that included time leading the York Tech boys, the West York girls, the York High boys and lastly the Spring Grove girls — Sowers feels like it is the right time to step away from the game he loves so much.
So, after four seasons leading the Rockets to four District 3 Class 5-A playoff appearances, as well as a District 3 5-A title in 2021, Sowers, who went 68-34 at Spring Grove, recently notified the school district that he would not seek a fifth season next winter.
“I have a feel for what I want to do moving forward,” Sowers said. “And I talked with my wife and I told her that I don’t know that I want to keep coaching at this point. And she’s a vital part of my decision-making and she just said ‘if you don’t want to, that’s your decision.' So, I don’t really have the feel like I want to coach at this point.”
Sowers cited his family as a factor in his decision-making process. Sowers has had to adjust to life as a proud grandfather of a 13-month old granddaughter.
For Sowers, it seems like yesterday when his sons were with him to celebrate winning three district titles at the Giant Center with York High.
“I look at my sons and I’m like ‘wow’,” he said. “I guess time did go by fast. But I did start my coaching career when I was young (25).”
While Sowers was leery to call his decision a retirement from coaching, he did mention that he is quickly approaching that stage of his career as an English teacher at William Penn Senior High School.
“I’m 52 now and I started teaching when I was 22,” he said. “So my 33 years of teaching are coming up here soon where I can retire when I’m 55.”
Many of the students in his i-Literature classes at William Penn know how much love for the game of basketball that Sowers has. They know that he coached the York High boys’ program for 10 years, leading the Bearcats to three District 3 titles as well an appearance in the PIAA finals back in 2009. He went 225-67 during his York High stint.
“I do talk about basketball in class a lot,” he said. “And the kids love to hear my stories. They know how to trigger me a little bit to talk about basketball when they want to take a break.”
A break may be the appropriate term for Sowers decision. After stepping down at York High after that decade-long run, Sowers was only able to stay away from the game for a year before helping out Mike Grassel with the Dallastown boys' team for a season.
That year with Dallastown led Sowers (who has a 369-247 overall record) to realize he still had a burning desire to return to coaching. Not long after that season with Grassel ended, Sowers applied for and ultimately was given the reins to the Spring Grove girls’ program.
Could history repeat itself again?
“I know a lot of people want to talk about the future,” he said. “And they’ll ask me ‘are you done?’”
“All I can say is that I’m done for right now. It’s giving away your future by saying that you’re not going to do something so, at this point, all I can say is that I’m done coaching for now.”
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @ydsports.