It's common to have coaches come and go each season; what's not common is for a seasoned coach to take on an incredible workload.

But that's just what Mike Sanders of Cumberland Valley Christian will be doing this season.

Heading into his fourth season as head boys basketball coach, Sanders will be taking over the girls varasity program as well.

"I just love coaching," Sanders said. "Coaches invested a lot in me (when I was young), and I feel it is my responsibility to give back those same values that were instilled in my heart as a young boy. I enjoy helping them grow to become not only better athletes, but better people."

Sanders said he wanted to take over the program this year because his daughter, Loryn, is now in ninth grade and will playing on the varsity team. His son Josh is on the boys team.

"I've coached my kids all the way through since they were in kindergarten," Sanders said. "It's an opportunity for me to be with them more. You only get them once, so once they grow up, you don't get another chance."

Coaching both teams may have some advantages, though - Sanders plans to implement a similar system with the girls team that he has been running with the boys for three years now.

In order to make this work, Sanders spent a lot of time with CV Christian athletic director Amy Garvin to coordinate both practice and game schedules. The teams will be practicing back-to-back rather than at the same time, and games won't be held in different locations if they are on the same day, meaning Sanders will never be required to be in two places at one time.


"I'm very fortunate that our athletic director has arranged this," Sanders said. "It's really been a coordination effort of several people, which I appreciate very much."

Another interesting coaching change took place on the Southern Fulton girls basketball squad. Former assistant Terry Bard will be taking the place of Mark Mellott, who will now serve as an assistant.

Mellott spent 14 years as the head coach, but this year, he wanted more time to spend watching his son play at Juniata College.

"When I took over, I got the feeling that he wasn't really done," Bard said. "We've worked perfectly together for the last 10 years, so we just flip-flopped."

Southern Fulton has a strong tradition. In the 10 years Bard has served as assistant, the Indians have won four district championships, and they won their first Inter-County Conference title last year.

Because of the team's recent success, Bard said he doesn't plan to implement many changes.

"Really, we have a chemistry that works and a way that we do things," Bard said. "I would be stupid to go in and want to make all these changes because the system we have obviously works."

Another in a similar position is Tim Crouch, who is moving up from assistant to take the head coaching position for the Mercersburg Academy boys.

Crouch brings both knowledge and youth to the squad. After graduating from Dickinson College in 2009, where he played center, he immediately started as an assistant for the Blue Storm. He's worked his way through the natural progression to earn the head coaching job.

"I bring energy and enthusiasm, certainly," Crouch said. "I relate to the age group. In certain circles, being a youngster is not advantageous. But in working with kids, I find myself remembering what it was like and easily being able to put myself in their shoes and relate to what they're thinking and obstacles they have to overcome."

The James Buchanan boys basketball team is another with an interesting circumstance, as Rocket athletic director Larry Strawoet will also be the new head coach.

Strawoet is no stranger to coaching. He spent 10 years at Westlake in Waldorf, Md., and also coached at JB for 10 years. He also doesn't think he'll have any trouble balancing his coaching duties with his AD duties.

"It's just about being organized and making sure everything is situated," Strawoet said. "I've had to do it before."

James Buchanan will also see the addition of Michelle Vertz, the new swimming coach.

Vertz will have some work to do - although the boys had a strong year, finishing with a 9-4 record, the girls managed just a 3-8-1 final dual meet record and didn't earn a single win in the division.

The Shippensburg basketball program is undergoing a makeover, as well, with new coaches for both teams.

Ray Staver is returning to the Greyhounds; this will be his third stint at the post. He has coached at Ship for a total of 20 years and has boasted 17 winning seasons. The Hounds will need Staver's winning ways this season if they hope to bounce back from a five-victory season last year.

"I want to really get the kids thinking positively," Staver said. "I think we need to play with a lot of energy. If we do that and bring intensity every game, the winning can take care of itself."

For the girls, Amy Lyman, who coached at two different high school in Utah and New Mexico for a total of six years, will take over for the Lady Hounds. Lyman has a close connection to the team - her daughter Hailey played in the Ship system from seventh through 12th grade.

Because Lyman played center in high school, she hopes to bring something new to the table for Shippensburg.

"I never thought Ship had much of an inside game, and that's something I know well," Lyman said. "We have some height this year, so I do hope to take it down inside more. And I think just getting a fresh perspective is always good."

Chambersburg's winter sports program will be almost unrecognizable with new coaches for both basketball teams and the gymnastics squad.

New Trojan boys coach Beau Gantz has big shoes to fill. Former coach Shawn Shreffler boasted a .614 winning percentage over the course of 15 years with the program. The Trojans also won the District 3 Class AAAA title last year by beating Harrisburg, 52-49.

Jenny Schmutzler, on the other hand, will be taking over a struggling program for the Lady Trojans. Chambersburg has not had a winning season since 2006-07 and has not won more than five games in either of the last two seasons.

For more information on Chambersburg's basketball coaches, see Sunday's edition of Public Opinion.

Michele Jones ill also be entering a program rich with tradition. She's taking over for Heidi Elwen, who spent 11 years at Chambersburg and lost just nine dual meets in that time.

The Trojans are also the South Central Pennsylvania defending champions.


Lizi Arbogast can be reached at 262-4788 or

New area coaches

Chambersburg: Beau Gantz, boys basketball; Jenny Schmutzler, girls basketball; Michelle Jones, gymnastics.

Shippensburg: Ray Staver, boys basketball; Amy Lyman, girls basketball.

James Buchanan: Larry Strawoet, boys basketball; Michelle Vertz, swimming.

Mercersburg: Tim Crouch, boys basketball.

Southern Fulton: Terry Bard, boys basketball.

Cumberland Valley Christian: Mike Sanders, girls basketball.