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Kimple's resignation is another loss for Trojans

February 12, 2006

The toughest high school coaching job in the Tri-State area is up for grabs.

It could be a great situation for the right candidate. You'll lead one of the largest teams from one of the largest schools in the area and play in an elite league with the chance to showcase your players for an endless number of college scouts.

Of course, you'll be facing teams with multiple Division I recruits - and some with legendary coaches - week in and week out.

And you'll only face serious scrutiny from the community if you fail to win. But don't worry ... it's only been seven years since the program last posted a winning record.

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Sounds like quite an invitation, huh? It's not much different from the call that Shawn Kimple answered in 2002 when he became the head football coach at Chambersburg Area Senior High School, his alma mater.

Actually, the only difference is that when Kimple took the job it had only been three seasons since the Trojans' last winning season.

Kimple resigned from the position last week after four losing seasons, though the losses were among the lesser reasons he gave up the job.

In one published report, Kimple pointed to "outside interference" that was being taken "to a personal level" as the primary reason for stepping down. He said he did so for his own good and the good of his family.

That's a shame, because there are so few coaches these days who genuinely care about the kids they are coaching and the program they are leading. Some coaches are there for the sole purpose of advancing their child's athletic career. Other coaches are there to advance their own careers.

Kimple coached at Chambersburg because he cares about the school and the community. He said his one goal when he began coaching was to make the football team a consistent force in the Mid-Penn Commonwealth.

Trust me, when you're playing Central Dauphin, Bishop McDevitt and Cumberland Valley every season - among others - it's tough to become a force for one year, let alone a consistent force. It's a lofty goal to set, but it's also an admirable goal to strive for.

And while the Trojans might be mired in a string of losing seasons, it's difficult to call Chambersburg football a losing program. Truth be told, if the Trojans were to make trips south on I-81 to Maryland and West Virginia instead of north to Harrisburg, that string of losing seasons might never have existed.

In fact, I guarantee if the Trojans were playing in the CVAL or any of the MVAL conferences, they would be the No. 1 team in the Tri-State area nearly every season.

But they don't and they're not and Kimple has no qualms with that. "That's the league we're in. We're not going to leave it any time soon and it's not going to get any weaker. We have to figure out how to beat those teams."

Chambersburg won two games last season and lost four others by 10 points or less. After six straight losing seasons, the fact that the Trojans are still competitive in more than half of their games says a lot about Kimple's character.

He didn't accept losing. He fought it tooth and nail. Too often, though, it simply couldn't be avoided.

Chambersburg fans should be hoping the Trojans' next coach cares half as much as Kimple did.




Mark Keller is sports editor of The Herald-Mail. His column appears on Sundays. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2332, or by e-mail at keller@herald-mail.com

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