Osakis boys' basketball: Stroup steps down as head coachAlmost every coach wrestles with balancing coaching and family at some point in their career, and after this past season, Chris Stroup decided is was time to focus more on the latter.
By: Eric Morken, Alexandria Echo Press
Almost every coach wrestles with balancing coaching and family at some point in their career, and after this past season, Chris Stroup decided is was time to focus more on the latter.
Stroup has been at the helm of the boys’ basketball program in Osakis for the past 10 seasons. The long-time head coach said there is no doubt he will get back into coaching some day but that he’s at peace with the decision to step away for the time being.
“It’s a difficult decision,” Stroup said. “That’s what I told the players. There’s no right time to do it. I’d really like to come back. I really like Ky Zimmel and Doug Zimmel, the two guys I worked with a lot this year. If I would have done it last year, there were seven guys who came back. There is no right time to do it, but this was the most right time for me to step away.”
Stroup has two daughters, Abby in 8th grade and Jordyn in 5th grade, who are starting to become more involved in sports themselves. He said he watched Abby play basketball just twice this past season and it’s something he doesn’t want to miss out on anymore.
“I can come back out and coach,” he said. “I can’t go back and watch them play.”
It was a move that wasn’t entirely unexpected. Stroup had thought about it for a while but said he didn’t want to leave the program after last season.
It was a year that he admitted was full of turmoil. The Silverstreaks finished with their worst record during his tenure when they went 2-24 and finished the season with 19 straight losses.
“Last year was not good in any sense of the word,” Stroup said. “There was a lot of strife in many cases. I didn’t think it would be right to leave after that.”
This year’s team improved to seven wins, but it was the attitude of the players that pleased their head coach the most. He called this group very coachable and pointed to their cohesion on and off the court. He said it was one of the highlights of his career watching that transformation from one year to the next.
“This year, I can walk away and say there were no problems,” Stroup said. “The kids worked hard. I felt I did as good a job as I possibly could as a coach, and that’s a good memory for me. I really, truly enjoyed coaching this season, and as a coach, I’m leaving on my own terms.”
Stroup will leave after spending 14 years total as an assistant or head coach in the Osakis program. He finished with a 165-102 overall record in his 10 seasons at the helm. Included in that was a 31-1 season and a third-place finish at the state tournament in 2005-06.
Athletic Director Brad Hoffarth is grateful for the dedication Stroup showed to the program over the years.
“In general, if we have any head coach that can last 10-plus seasons, we’re very happy,” Hoffarth said. “That’s the type of stability we like with any of our programs.”
He now has the job of finding Stroup’s replacement. Hoffarth said the next coach will come from in-house. They have already received qualified applicants and hope to have a new head coach in place by the end of April.