(Editor’s note: This piece on the Cedar Crest baseball vacancy initially appeared in June on www.lebanonsportsubuzz.com. On Monday night, the Cornwall-Lebanon school board voted to accept athletic director John Shaeffer’s recommendation of Ryan White for the position)
BY JEFF FALK
Seemingly the logical choice, is Ryan White in line to be the next Cedar Crest baseball coach? That decision will boil down to how loyal Falcon athletic director John Shaeffer and the Cedar Crest administration is to their in-progam coaches and exactly who else applies for the vacant position.
Of the assistant coaches on former head man Chris Groff’s staff, White appears to be the most qualified. Contacted on Monday, White confirmed that he indeed had interest in the position Groff stepped away from effective at the end of the Falcons’ recent playoff run.
The process for replacing Gtroff is still apparently in its infancy. What is unclear is who else might be interested in heading one of the most attractive athletic programs in Lebanon County and one of the top high-school baseball programs in the central Pennsylvania region.
“At this time, I have interest in it,” said White. “There’s a chance I will put in for it. There are no definites in talking about it.
“I don’t think the job has been posted yet (within the school district),” White added. “Chris only recently went forward with his letter of resignation. When I know officially, I’ll go through the proper channel and put my name in for it.”
White is a life-long Falcon and has extensive experience in the game of baseball. He currently teaches eighth grade mathematics at Cedar Crest Middle School.
“The last couple of years has been fun and enjoyable to be around that group of guys,” said White of Cedar Crest’s recently completed 21-5 campaign. “Being part of what this senior group has been able to accomplish has been special for me.”
Citing a desire to spend more time with his growing family, Groff informed his players of his decision to step aside on May 21, on the heels of a 2-0 loss to Lampeter-Strasburg in the opening round of the Lancaster-Lebanon League playoffs. The Falcons went on to win their second District Three Class AAAA championship in three seasons, before falling to Coatesville in the opening round of the PIAA tournament.
Groff was only the third head coach in the storied 40-year history of the Cedar Crest baseball program.
“In my eyes, he’s ready for it,” said Groff of White. “He’s been with us in this run. I believe Ryan is ready to step in and do the job.”
A 2003 graduate of Cedar Crest, White was a varsity assistant and first-base coach under Groff for the past three season. Before that, he was a junior varsity coach for a year.
During his baseball-playing days as a Falcon, White actually played under Groff, first on the JV level, and then during his senior campaign, Groff’s first as Cedar Crest’s head coach.
“We’ve talked, even the last couple of years when there was a chance he would step down,” said White of Groff. “He asked me if I’d be interested in it. I learned a lot from him. We’re definitely two different people, as far as being committed to the program. But it’s nice to know I have his support.”
White attended Elizabethtown College, where he played the infield and outfield for the Blue Jays.
“Oh yeah, I’m a Falcon through and through,” said White. “When I graduated from college with my teaching degree, I didn’t look too many other places than Cedar Crest. I kind of wanted to give back. My family is from the area.”
White, a man in his late 20s, remains active as a player, for the Palmyra entrant in the East Shore twilight league.
“I’m not putting all my eggs into it,” said White of the Falcons’ head coaching position. “It’s something that if it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t happen, I don’t want it to affect my teaching position or staying on as an assistant coach.”
“We’ve talked about things,” said White of Snyder and Boger. “They’ve expressed an interest in staying on.”