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High School Sees 10 Coaches, Assistant AD Opt Out

Paul Steinbach

According to documents from the Jan. 4 school board meeting for the South Middleton School District in Boiling Springs, Pa., 10 Boiling Springs High School coaches and an assistant athletic director will not participate in the winter sports season, which began that same day.

As reported by The Sentinel of Carlisle, longtime swimming coach Matt Brenner, second-year girls' basketball coach Brett Sheaffer, bocce co-head coaches Katie Suwala and Lauren Bozert and their assistant coaching staffs — a total of 10 coaches, plus assistant athletic director Marisa Elliot — elected to take an opt-out option for this season due to concerns, both personal and professional, for the safety of themselves, their families, players and the community during the COVID-19 pandemic that continues to rage across the country and in Cumberland County.

“I have talked personally to several of our coaches who decided to opt out," board member Jonathan Still said. "It tears them up deeply inside, because they live to be coaches. They live for the sport that they’ve dedicated themselves to for … many years, with accolades and with everything else that goes along with it.” 

On the same night the board and Superintendent Dr. Matt Strine said they are continuing with the plan to reopen the district to a hybrid learning schedule Jan. 11, Strine and board member Elizabeth Knouse both said all those that opted out will be welcomed back when they feel safe to return.

The Boiling Springs varsity girls' basketball and swimming teams already have temporary head coaches in place as of Monday night. Strine said all four major winter sports — boys' and girls' basketball, swimming and wrestling — have at least one fully certified coach in place to run practices immediately, including the necessary background and employment checks.

“I respect their decision to choose not to coach,” Strine said. “That’s a hard decision. I know that many were teary eyed in talking to their players and athletes. That’s not something that I take lightly, and I do want them back when they can come back. Hopefully that’s sooner than later, but that depends on the pandemic.”

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