Monroe, Jenkins join fraternity of new HS coaches

Skyline High School’s administrative staff acted quickly in naming Jeff Monroe its new head coach for the varsity boys basketball program.

Monroe’s hiring was only a four-day process, he said in a phone interview last week. Monroe said he applied for Skyline’s vacant position on July 6, and by the time he left the school after an interview on July 9 he’d been offered the job. The Warren County School Board approved Monroe’s hiring later that same evening.

Skyline athletic director Bill Cupp said Monroe offered the school the ideal combination of experience as both a coach and a teacher, which caused Monroe to stand out in a list of about 10 applicants.

“When Coach Monroe applied it was something we acted on pretty quickly, to be honest with you,” Cupp said last week, “because to find a coach with his experience and that kind of fit our criteria in early July is difficult. I think it’s going to work out real well.”

Monroe, 48, brings 23 years of coaching experience to the Hawks. He most recently served as the head men’s basketball coach at Virginia University of Lynchburg last year after previously serving as the head varsity boys basketball at Liberty High School (2005-2014) and Chatham High School (2000-2005).

Monroe, who will teach physical education at his new school, said he was drawn to Skyline after a recent conversation with friend Andrew Lacey, who coached the Hawks’ varsity girls basketball team during the school’s inaugural year in 2007.

“It sounded a lot like my last high school job,” Monroe said. “It sounded like we had the same type of kids and stuff, so it seems like it’s going to pretty good situation.

“I’m looking forward to it,” he added. “I’ve been coaching for 23 years and I think it’s a great situation there. … I think it can be a very successful job there.”

While at Liberty, Monroe guided the Eagles to a Virginia High School League Group AA final four appearance in 2009, as well as a pair of regular-season district titles and a regional championship. He also led Chatham to a Region B championship in 2005 and a Group A state tournament berth.

Monroe has been named district coach of the year three times and region coach of the year twice, Cupp said.

“He was somebody we definitely had to get in here and try to give him the opportunity to take this job,” Cupp said. “Luckily for us he decided to.”

Skyline went 10-12 last season under former head coach Jacob Bates, a vast improvement over its 1-20 campaign in 2013-14.

Strasburg High School also filled one of its coaching vacancies last week, as Darin Jenkins was approved by the Shenandoah County School Board last Thursday to become the Rams’ new varsity girls basketball coach. Strasburg athletic director Matt Hiserman officially announced the hiring Monday afternoon.

Jenkins replaces former Rams head coach Joel Morgan, who resigned from the position in March after 14 seasons, and is the fifth new varsity basketball coach to be announced among the six local public high schools. Tony Clark (Warren County boys basketball), David Fowler (Stonewall Jackson boys basketball) and Shanna McComb-Beveridge (Central girls basketball) were also appointed over the last few months.

Strasburg still has to fill its varsity track and field head coach position, and though Monroe’s hiring marks the end of Skyline’s varsity head coaching search, the Hawks are still in the market for two assistant football coaches.

Skyline begins football practice on Aug. 3 and Cupp said he is “actively looking for people that … have experience and know a little bit about the game and can interact with kids.”

“We have a couple guys that could do it but they can’t do it all the time, so it could be part-time type thing,” Cupp said. ” … Some of the coaches are going to have to take on either added or different responsibilities to kind of close that gap. We’ll be OK but it’s not ideal, obviously.”

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or