Garber steps down as Warwick girls coach

By on April 25, 2018
Janelle Garber, who has stepped down as the Warwick girls basketball coach, talks to her players during a timeout. Lititz Record file photo

Janelle Garber, who has stepped down as the Warwick girls basketball coach, talks to her players during a timeout. Lititz Record file photo

Janelle Garber found herself at a crossroads when the Warwick girls basketball team’s season ended in February.

As much as she’s excited about the direction of the program, Garber also has some big things happening in her personal life.

The 29-year-old is getting married soon and moving to Grantville.

Knowing the hours of commitment involved with coaching, the time seemed right to step away as the Lady Warriors’ head coach. Her resignation was approved at Warwick’s monthly school board meeting last Tuesday, April 17.

Although Garber will continue to teach health and physical education at Warwick, she will hand the clipboard over to a new coach.

“I need to focus on family a little bit,” Garber said. “Grantville is about 45 minutes away, so I’ll still be teaching at Warwick, but coaching on top of that is (a lot). It wasn’t an easy decision for me to step down and resign.”

In three years at Warwick, starting with the 2015-16 season, Garber compiled a record of 20-44. Previously, she also was an assistant at Lebanon Valley College, and the head coach at E-town High School (2011-13) and Solanco (2013-14).

Garber didn’t hesitate when asked what she will miss about not coaching.

“Definitely the girls,” she said, “and obviously basketball — I love basketball, so it’s going to be a change. I’ve been coaching for eight years total and that’s a long time. If anybody knows what coaching is about, it’s not all fun and games. It’s a lot of time.”

Warwick Athletic Director Ryan Landis, a former boys basketball coach in the L-L League, sympathizes with Garber’s situation.

“First and foremost, Janelle’s a good person and to be a head coach, it takes just a tremendous amount of time in-season and off-season,” Landis said. “So I can respect that. If you can truly invest all that time and you step aside because you feel that’s best for the girls, that’s admirable. Obviously, she will be missed. The one thing that I think stands out to me about Janelle is just the class and how well-respected she was by the officials and other coaches in the League.”

To say that the Warwick girls were young this past winter is an understatement. The Lady Warriors’ roster, which included no seniors, had three juniors, three sophomores and eight freshmen.

Garber acknowledged that she was looking at the big picture for the program when she made her final decision shortly after the 2017-18 season ended.

“I just decided if I resign this year, that gives (the freshmen) three years hopefully with another coach,” Garber said. “It’s tough and it’s tough to talk about too because I love the (rising) seniors just as much. I don’t want to lose them, but you give so much of yourself, I just felt like I needed to be a little selfish. I want to focus on my family.”

Landis added, “We had a conversation after the season as she was mulling it over and I think a factor in (her decision) was in fact how young they were and that she viewed it more as, can I commit to multiple years because there is a young core of kids coming and she didn’t want to coach another year and then get out in the middle. Give someone else a chance to have several years together.”

The Warwick girls’ potential was on display in the final weeks of the 2017-18 season, as they won two of their final three games, beating Conestoga Valley and McCaskey.

“Over the last couple of years I’ve been at Warwick,” Garber said, “we’ve really worked hard in the (off)-season, and toward the end of the season there, you really start seeing them come around and that’s what you work for — you want to see improvement in the girls and you want to help them be the best they can be. I have a lot of excitement for them in the next couple years here, so we’ll see what happens.”

Landis said the hope is to have a new coach recommended for school board approval in June.

“If we interview in early May, it all depends on who it is and how long it takes with clearances and things like that,” he commented. “But I think June school board is realistic. I’ve also talked to Janelle and the current staff. Everyone is going to piece it together to keep open gyms and summer leagues and summer camps going, so I don’t think we’ll miss a beat in that regard.”

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