Gale steps down as Warwick baseball coach

By on August 22, 2012

By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor, Staff Writer

Lititz Record file photoMatt Gale (left), shown here talking to catcher Brian Eshleman during the 2011 L-L League playoffs, compiled a 37-30 overall record in three seasons as Warwick's head coach.

You might need a program to watch Section One baseball games next spring.

As much to know who the coaches are, let alone the players.

There will be three new skippers patrolling dugouts in the section in 2012. The third of those openings came up last Tuesday, Aug. 14 when Warwick’s Matt Gale submitted his resignation to athletic director John Kosydar.

Cedar Crest and Hempfield will also have new pilots due to Chris Groff and Jack Merrifield having previously stepped down.

For Gale, the move became necessary after he accepted a position as assistant principal at Emmaus High School earlier this month. Although he acknowledged that it was a difficult decision, Gale believes that the move was the right one for his professional career.

"It was a completely professional decision," said Gale, who will celebrate his 31st birthday today (Thursday). "It really had very little to do with baseball other than I had to be willing to sacrifice not being able to coach anymore. I’ve been interested in school administration for some time now, as well as continuing my education at the doctoral level and this was the right opportunity and the right time for my family now to do this."

Matt and his wife, Heather, have two children, 2 1/2-year-old Finn and 6-month-old Asher. He said they will be trying to move closer to the East Penn School District.

"We still have a lot of ties to Lititz and Lancaster, so we’d like to kinda be somewhere in between," Gale said. "But it’s just too far of a commute for every day long-term."

In three years as the Warriors’ head coach, Gale compiled an overall record of 37-30 (27-21 in Section One), including an appearance in the L-L finals in the 2011 and a trip to the District Three semi-finals in 2010.

He sent an email to his players last Tuesday to inform them that he would not be returning.

"I know word travels fast and I wouldn’t have had time to meet with them before school, being summer time," said Gale, who also was as a volunteer coach for one season at Warwick and the Conestoga Valley JV coach for three years. "All the replies that I got were positive, just congratulating and supportive and appreciation for the three years that we’ve been together. It was very amicable."

Playing in the L-L finals and the District semi-finals were among the highlights that Gale will take away from his three-year tenure with the Warriors, but there were plenty of other fond memories along the way as well.

"Seeing some players that moved on and are right now in the middle of successful college careers like Adam Zipko and Jordan Donmoyer, and just some of the fun times that we had with the guys — those will be the fondest memories," Gale said. "I honestly never thought that I would be a head coach, but I enjoyed it and feel privileged to have had the chance to do it even for just a few years."

Coaching at Warwick gave Gale the opportunity to return to his alma mater. The Class of 2000 grad still shares the Warriors’ single-season record for wins (10) with Jeff Krushinski (1983), which he achieved in his senior year, and he is thankful for the support he received as the team’s coach.

"I had a great experience," Gale said, "with outstanding players, a supportive district, parents, and community, and being part of a tradition of excellence that existed long before I was the head coach and should continue to exist with the next head coach."

The Warriors graduated four quality seniors this spring in John Beyer, Brian Eshleman, Korey Johnson and Derrick Shields, but they will return a a solid nucleus as they try to bounce back from a tough 6-14 season.

"I don’t know who the next coach may be," Gale said, "but they will certainly have a strong group of seniors returning, they should have a large senior class and a JV team coming off of an excellent season, so they should have an opportunity to be competitive, for sure."

Gale admits that he will miss not being on the baseball field when next March arrives, but he has his sights set on the big picture.

"I think when spring rolls around and that spring smell is in the air and stuff and I kinda start watching baseball a little bit, I think that’s when it will really hit and that’s when I’ll really miss it," Gale remarked. "Again, I’ll have the memories and hopefully I’ll have a chance to coach my kids when they start moving into Little League and stuff like that. You can’t have everything you want and sometimes you have to make sacrifices and I think this was one of those sacrifices that was best for our family and my professional career." More GALE, page B-6

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