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Former Catholic coach impacted countless youth

Prep coaches in the Mid-Ohio Valley aren’t leading their respective teams for the paycheck.

Rather, they often coach for the love of the game, their players and the program.

Nowhere was that more evident than with now ex-Parkersburg Catholic head boys basketball coach Rob Strcula.

Aside from the rare occasion when he went home after an evening practice dog tired, fell asleep and didn’t return a phone call, whenever I needed something from coach Strcula he always was there to help.

His impact on countless youth was large, not to mention how he was respected by his peers.

“I hate that he is resigning because he was a great young coach who had so much to offer the players under his direction,” admitted Ravenswood head coach Mick Price. “He is a great friend and while we were adversaries on the court, we had a great relationship.

“We’ve talked often during the season and offseason about more than just basketball … family, players, handling coaching situations. His teams played hard and were always well coached. Rob was very competitive and his players on the court played with that passion.”

Williamstown head coach Scott Sauro agreed.

“Rob is a great competitor and great friend,” noted the Yellowjacket boss. “It’s not often you have two rival coaches who get along so well. His teams were always prepared for nearly every situation.”

Giving up anything one loves to do is never easy, but the COVID-19 pandemic has given everyone plenty of time to sit back and reflect on a myriad of things.

“We go to Naugatuck and lose in the regional (co-final to Tug Valley) and the next day things really changed for us on that Thursday,” Strcula said. “It was an adjustment for us, on our family and for everybody how they have to go about their everyday lives.

“There are hundreds and hundreds of stories in the sports world everybody can associate it with. It’s kind of funny. I tried to give history lessons to my son (Dominic). We watched a bunch of ESPN 30 for 30s, what life was like before he was born when it comes to athletics.”

Amanda Weatherwax, the athletic director at Parkersburg Catholic, also was sad to see coach Strcula step down.

She thanked Strcula for all his years of service to the Crusader program and wished him “good luck in all your future endeavors.”

Weatherwax also expressed “we have not yet begun the search for a replacement.”

Three trips to the Class A state tournament in Charleston during his nine-year tenure and a runner-up showing in 2019 came about because of hard work from everyone involved with the program.

There were near misses and tough regional setbacks, but Strcula always challenged his team during the regular season in order to give them the best shot in the postseason.

He’s definitely going to miss those challenges, whether it’s the three-week summer coaching period or having meetings with his players and staff prior to the campaign to talk about what needs to happen in order to put the program in the best position possible to win. “Come November, one thing I loved about basketball was the coaching, preparation and the process,” he said.

“Those are all the things that make coaching fun, not the games, but it’s the byproduct of what you can produce for the team. It will be a different world.”

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com

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