Morgan, Skarupa resign coaching posts

Two Shenandoah County high schools are in the market for varsity girls basketball coaches.

Central girls basketball coach Mallory Skarupa and Strasburg’s longtime coach Joel Morgan formally announced their resignations at the Shenandoah County school board meeting on March 12.

Morgan, who led the Rams’ varsity girls basketball program for 14 seasons, said in a phone conversation Friday that he simply felt it was the right time to step away. Morgan said he’d been mulling over the possibility of resigning for a few years but he wanted to leave the program in a place where a new coach could quickly find success. He said he thinks Strasburg’s girls program is in that position following back-to-back .500 seasons.

“I think whoever takes over has some young kids with potential and I just thought now was the time to see if somebody could bring some fresh ideas and maybe a little new direction and maybe has some fresh energy to apply to the job,” Morgan said.

“I felt like we always tried to do what’s best for the kids and with this situation I think I’m still trying to do that with this decision,” he added.

The Rams went 12-12 this past season and ended the year with a loss to Luray in the Conference 35 quarterfinals. Strasburg went 13-12 during the 2013-14 season after three straight losing campaigns.

Early in Morgan’s coaching career at Strasburg, the Rams earned a state tournament berth and enjoyed a string of successful seasons midway through his tenure with a multi-year run of regional tournament appearances that ended following the 2008-09 season.

“Obviously he’s been a tremendous impact [on] the program,” Strasburg athletic director Matt Hiserman said. “… They went to one state quarterfinal back when they played James Monroe. That was years ago. They had that run of seasons where they were in the regional tournament and had great runs. They had 20-plus wins three or four years in a row right there. His knowledge and background in basketball were tremendous for that program.”

Morgan, who also serves as an assistant coach for the school’s varsity baseball team, said he wouldn’t rule out a return to coaching basketball in some capacity at Strasburg.

“I probably won’t be coaching any next year. I would say that I won’t be looking for head coaching jobs anywhere else but if the right situation comes along at Strasburg where I can help somebody — it could be in another sport, I don’t know — but I’ll keep my options open,” Morgan said.

“I do feel fortunate to have coached the girls for 14 years and have some really good years. Had some really successful years and I’m glad they’ve had the confidence in me over the last 15 years to let me do it that long.”

Skarupa announced her resignation from her position as Central’s varsity girls basketball coach following three successful seasons with the Falcons. She guided the Falcons to an appearance in the Group 3A state semifinals in 2014 and led Central to a 17-8 record this past season.

Skarupa’s assistant coach, Sarah Swartz, has also resigned.

“She’s done a good job. She’s had some good talent,” Central athletic director Kenny Rinker said of Skarupa. “I feel that both she and Sarah, they were the right combination of what we were looking for. They’ve had two really successful seasons here back-to-back. … She’s done a good job. We’ve had other positions that we’ve had to fill over the years and there’s somebody out there somewhere waiting in the wings that wants to step in and do this job.”

Rinker said he hopes to have the position filled by the end of April and no later than the end of May, and Hiserman said the goal is for Strasburg to hire a new girls basketball coach by the end of the school year.

Both athletic directors said they will explore internal and external options to fill the vacancies.

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com