By RJ Walters / Daily News Sports Editor
As published in the Hillsdale Daily News on March 27, 2009
Just when it looked like the Brian Stroble-era of Jonesville football was getting rolling, it has suddenly come to a screeching halt.
The Comets head coach of three seasons notified the school of his resignation Tuesday, citing a desire to spend more time with his family and focus on things other than football in what had become a year-round, daily commitment.
Jonesville Community Schools has already posted the coaching vacancy on its Web site and Stroble will officially announce his resignation at the district’s next board of education meeting.
Jonesville went 10-17 under Stroble’s leadership, including a promising 5-4 campaign in 2008, where the Comets came up just one win short of a playoff berth.
While Stroble admitted it was tough to step down, Jonesville athletic director Kathy Bondsteel agreed that the timing is right for both Stroble and the program as a whole.
“Brian has a new family and I know he wants to spend some time with his family and it’s a lot time away from them to have to run a football program,” she said. “I don’t think I would ever say it wasn’t the right fit. It’s just that a varsity position is a huge time commitment and sometimes when you have a family it’s hard…it’s really hard to say.”
Bondsteel added that her former head coach is a great teacher who does a good job with children, the current state of Jonesville football just dictated that the parties go their separate ways.
Stroble has a daughter who turns five in July and a 4-month-old son and he said he just couldn’t put the football program’s success ahead of spending quality time with his family.
“I think in order for the program to continue to get better I would have had to spend more time working in the program and with the program, and it takes a lot (of hours) to be the varsity football coach. I know Marc Lemerand over at Hillsdale has a young family and he’s made it work, but right now in my life I’m young. I’m only 30 years old and other opportunities will come around,” he said. “Football, as much as I love the kids and the game, my family comes first. My son was born in December and now summer is coming along and I’d be spending hours in the weight room and hours in meetings and sessions, but my son is only going to be young once.”
Bondsteel echoed Stroble’s mindset, saying whoever is hired to replace him is going to have to prove to her they want to “live, breathe, and die football at Jonesville” starting July 12.
“They’ve got to want to have the parents of the players on board and I’ve got parents here who are waiting to be as helpful as they can, because they like to see success for the kids and for the community as a whole,” she said. “The (community) takes ownership and have pride in Jonesville and that’s one thing that’s a positive aspect here.”
Stroble said he has no regrets from what he is calling his “first career” in football, but did say it would’ve been nice to go out after a playoff appearance and he wishes he would’ve started using the Wing-T offense a little sooner to give his players a better shot at success. He said a 10-17 record isn’t one he considers to be great by any means, but he does feel good about how with the help of assistants like Dustin Scharer and Louie LaMothe the Comet football team seems headed in the right direction.
“With next year’s group of guys coming through, Jonesville looks to be reckoned with. We have 17 starters returning…I feel like I’ve left the program in a great position and now I can focus on my family and teaching,” he said.
This was never an easy decision for Stroble, who said he will “always love the game” and be back coaching when his children are older, so not surprisingly he actually found some solace in the words of a fellow Big Eight coach earlier this week.
“I e-mailed the Big Eight coaches and thanked them for three years of, I guess you could say, ethical football coaching; and I got a response back from (Reading’s) Rick Bailey and he expressed that he was sorry to hear I was leaving and he thought I had done a great job and he could see Jonesville working their way back to where (former coach) Greg Morrison had it,” he said. “I played against (Rick’s teams) when I was in high school at Quincy and as an official I’ve crossed paths with him lots of times, so I took what Rick Bailey had to say, and that helped me out a lot.”