Following the spring sports season, a number of York County lacrosse teams found themselves with coaching vacancies.
Four different boys' teams and at least one girls' team were in need of new coaches. While there's still about six months until the start of the 2018 lacrosse season, most of the schools have found their new coaching leaders.
Most recently, Dover and West York brought aboard their new head men. West York approved Joe Warns back in August as its next boys' lacrosse coach, while Dover approved Bob Boyer as its next boys' coach.
Both Warns and Boyer have prior history as club coaches and have been attracted to coaching at the high school level.
Warns at West York: Warns, 30, has worked for several different club and school programs. After playing for a year for York College's club program, he got into coaching. He's helped with Spring Grove's club program, as well as its junior varsity team, before moving on to the Black Dogs club program in the Red Land/Cedar Cliff area. He was instrumental in growing the sport in that area to the point where it became a high school sport.
After getting his masters degree and recently becoming a teacher at the middle school in West York, he saw the varsity position open and knew this was his chance.
"I've coached a while and love doing it," Warns said. "Me and my wife, she knew it was something that I was interested in getting back into. It was just going to be a time thing and I wanted to be at the right school."
Warns is settled now and hopes to continue the winning tradition of West York lacrosse, which has taken a hit in recent years. In 2016, the Bulldogs went 6-7 in league play and 7-9 overall.
"The program has the foundation," Warns said. "...My coaching style for years, and I'll continue to bring that through, is focusing on the simple things, doing the basics right and focusing on strong defense. ...West York has been a powerhouse in lacrosse for years, so I just want to take them back to that point."
Boyer at Dover: Boyer could bring stability to a Dover program that is still in its infancy.
Boyer has coached at nearly every age level in the Dover club lacrosse program and said it's always been his dream to be the coach at the varsity level with the Eagles.
"Most people have dreams of coaching in the NFL or at the college level. Mine has always been to be involved at Dover High School as the boys' lacrosse coach," Boyer said. "I'm big on seeing the kids that started our club eight years ago that played U-11 lacrosse now as sophomores, juniors and a couple seniors come full circle. Let's put Dover on the map."
Dover began its varsity program back in 2015, playing a non-league schedule. Last season was its first year as a full member of the Y-A League, struggling to a 2-13 record and going just 1-12 in league play.
Boyer has big plans to make the program relevant within the league.
"This year, our goal is to be very competitive," he said. "...Last year, we were 2-13 and 1-12 in the league. This year, I want to be very competitive and show that Dover isn't a 2-13 team. That's my mindset right now. Show the people that Dover is very talented with young men that play lacrosse and can play at the highest level and be very competitive."
Central hires assistant: Back in August, Central York filled its vacancy with one of its assistant coaches.
Ryan Muller, 26,will take over for head coach Tom Mayne, who resigned following the Panthers' 2016 season. Last season was Muller's first year as an assistant with the program.
Central York is coming off an 18-3 season, in which it won the Y-A League regular-season and tournament titles and made it to the semifinals of the District 3 3-A tournament.
The Panthers return several key pieces from that team, including face-off specialist Kollin Vaught and the Kilgour brothers, Alex and Ryan.
Red Lion still searching: Red Lion entered the summer in search of both a boys' and girls' lacrosse coaches.
So far, it remains the only school yet to fill either vacancy, but it is getting close. Athletic director Arnie Fritzius confirmed that he believes the school did find a boys' coach that it will bring in front of the school board for approval in October. On the girls' front, he said they've narrowed it down to a couple finalists and hope to have them approved in the coming months.
For the past five seasons, the boys' coach for the Lions was Stefan Striffler. In his time, Striffler compiled a 56-35 record, guiding the team to four consecutive postseason appearances in his final four years. He was named the 2015 Y-A League Coach of the Year and United States Lacrosse Central Pennsylvania Coach of the Year.
Striffler resigned from his position to focus more of time on his business and his family.
On the girls' side, Sam Phipps stepped down after two good seasons with the program, going 21-15 in her time. Fritzius said back in July that Phipps wanted to focus more time on her teaching obligations at the middle school.
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at firstname.lastname@example.org