Warwick legend: Derr notches 600th career victory

By on September 26, 2018
After scoring the game-winning goal in OT on a penalty stroke and clinching coach Bob Derr’s 600th career win on Monday night, Warwick senior Caitlin Grodzicki (21) receives congratulations from Derr and teammates Kate Dickow (left) and Meghan Keeney (33). Photo by Missi Mortimer

After scoring the game-winning goal in OT on a penalty stroke and clinching coach Bob Derr’s 600th career win on Monday night, Warwick senior Caitlin Grodzicki (21) receives congratulations from Derr and teammates Kate Dickow (left) and Meghan Keeney (33). Photo by Missi Mortimer

In many ways, Warwick field hockey coach Bob Derr hasn’t changed a bit since the early 1990’s.

And Amy (Pyle) Van Scoten can’t help smiling at some of the memories.

“He’ll say things like, ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘Happy Birthday’ if we give up the ball to somebody,” laughed Van Scoten, a Warwick assistant coach who played for Derr before graduating in 1991. “He just has these one-liners and they’ve been there forever and I feel like every team that plays for him can repeat the same lines.”

Today, in addition to those one-liners, he also has a remarkable achievement — 600 career wins.

The Lady Warriors’ 36th-year skipper, who actually began his legendary coaching career in 1983, earned the milestone victory Monday night, when senior Caitlin Grodzicki scored on a penalty stroke with 3:44 elapsed in OT, giving Warwick a 1-0 Section One win over Conestoga Valley at Grosh Field in Lititz.

After receiving high-fives and hugs from his players and coaches, Derr was able to reflect a bit with a couple of reporters.

“It’s a sign of longevity and just great kids, great parents,” he said of No. 600. “You’ve seen it all when you’ve been around that long.”

Despite outplaying CV to the tune of a 12-5 edge in corners and a 4-1 advantage in shots, Warwick couldn’t dent in the scoreboard in regulation.

Then early in the extra session, after the Lady Bucks got back-to-back corners, Warwick answered with a counter rush which resulted in Grodzicki going to the penalty stroke line.

“I went with Caitlin because she looked pretty good in warm-ups with the stroke,” Derr said, “and she hit the spot she was supposed to hit.”

Indeed she did, depositing the ball in the left corner of the cage behind CV keeper Brooke Eberly, setting off a big Warwick celebration.

“That’s my spot,” Grodzicki said of the left corner. “I knew it was the 600th win, so I wanted to get that for (coach Derr).”

It was the start of a crucial week for the Warwick girls (4-3 L-L, 5-6 overall), who will play four games in six days as they look to put themselves in position to earn a post-season berth.

“They needed that,” Derr remarked. “I’m proud of the girls. As we take a look at the league, I told them, in order for us to make playoffs, they have to go 4-0 this week.”

The pride between coach and players is a two-way street. One constant over the years has been the respect and love given to Derr by his athletes, many of whom have gone on to receive scholarships to play in college.

Asked how he has been able to connect with generations of kids, Van Scoten said, “I think it’s just his passion for coaching, to be honest. It’s his passion for growing the sport and for giving every team that fresh opportunity year after year. I think he really does honestly care about them as individuals and how they operate as a team. It’s pretty unique and special that he can maintain that passion year after year.”

His accomplishments — which include three PIAA State championships, 11 Lancaster-Lebanon League crowns and six District Three titles — have been nothing short of special.

When Derr notched his 500th career win in 2010, a 5-0 shutout of an Elizabethtown team coached by his son, Andy, he was the only male field hockey coach to get to that number, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).

“It’s just so special the career he’s had and just the heart that he’s put into this program and the time and effort year after year,” Van Scoten said, “and his care for every single team every year starts anew.”

Van Scoten isn’t the only assistant on Derr’s staff who formerly played for him. Pam (Snavely) Dickow and Kelly (Graybill) Bollinger are two others. Van Scoten and Dickow have daughters — Biz and Sarah Van Scoten and Kate Dickow — who are currently on the Warwick roster.

“As far as the 600th, I have a lot of memories. A lot of my coaching staff, they were people that I coached when they were younger and now I’ve got their kids. But that’s been happening for quite awhile,” laughed Derr, who will celebrate his 69th birthday on Oct. 14. “So that’s neat. It’s rewarding and it’s fun.”

A 700th win might be asking too much, though, according to Derr. The long-time coach has no aspirations to chase down Emmaus’ Sue Butz-Stavin, who notched her 900th win in 2017, extending her national record for career victories.

“Oh my God, no. I won’t be around (for 700),” he laughed, prior to boarding a local fire engine for a congratulatory ride. “I’ll be with the spectators. I don’t think that’s really a thing, when you set out to coach, to get that many wins. It occurs. I have great kids and a great coaching staff.”

Last Saturday, Kate Dickow, Rylee Diffenderfer, and Leah Graybill scored first-half goals, and then Caitlin Grodzicki added an insurance tally in the second, leading Warwick to a 4-1 win over North Allegheny in the consolation game of the Palmyra Tournament at In The Net.

Earlier, the Lady Warriors suffered a 3-0 loss to Cumberland Valley in the opening-round.

In other action last Thursday, Biz Van Scoten’s goal at 6:38 of OT boosted Warwick to a thrilling 2-1 win over Section One rival Hempfield.

“That was probably the most excited I’ve seen the girls in awhile,” Derr said. “That was pretty neat.”

Senior forward Leah Graybill picked up the ball in the midfield and fed it across to Van Scoten in the circle, and the rest is history.

“Leah got past a defender and just passed the ball over to Biz, who was coming in on the goal right around the stroke line and got to the ball before the goalie did and punched it in,” Derr said. “That was pretty neat. It was a good play.”

Van Scoten, who missed four games due to injury, was playing in her second game since returning, and her goal at the 16:10 mark of the second half pulled the Lady Warriors even, 1-1.

That came on one of Warwick’s eight corners, slightly more than Hempfield’s six. The Lady Warriors held a 14-7 advantage in shots.

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