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Rob Strcula steps down at Catholic

File Photo Parkersburg Catholic’s Rob Strcula, seen here looking on during a practice, stepped down as Crusaders’ boys basketball coach effective immediately.

PARKERSBURG — Following a nine-year run at Parkersburg Catholic High School, head boys basketball coach Rob Strcula has stepped down.

“It was not an easy decision,” he said. “It was hard, but I’m walking away from the game and walking toward something I’m excited about. I can spend more time with the family. The hardest person to tell was Dominic.

“My son wasn’t happy for a few days, but we’re excited about what we can do in the future and I can be there for him and be able to see my oldest daughter (Hannah) and watch her compete. I felt it was my time.”

Wife Erin and youngest daughter Siena also will get to see a lot more of their father.

“My kids may not want me around come January. We’ll see,” quipped Strcula, who noted the COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge to handle. “Hannah is a competitive jumper.

“She’s actually a world champion. She went to the national championship last year in Norway. She was supposed to compete in Canada next month and they have been canceled for the rest of the year.”

The 1998 PCHS graduate, who was an assistant for his alma mater from 2003 until he took the head job in May 2011 when Joe Garrett left, guided the Crusaders to the 2019 Class A state title game.

PCHS, which ended that bid for a state crown with a tough 47-40 setback to Webster County, became the first No. 6 seed in single-A history to reach the championship game.

“Looking back on that run we felt like it was kind of the perfect storm for us,” said Strcula, whose program also reached the big dance in Charleston in both 2014 and 2016. “Our schedule really prepared us to where we had to go. Our guys weren’t awestruck and surprised when they faced really good teams.

“They were prepared mentally. We talk about that run and it’s probably the greatest basketball week of my life. I was very fortunate to make the state championship as a player, but it’s so much more gratifying being part of the team from the coaching aspect of it.”

Strcula was quick to give plenty of kudos to Mitch Koerber, Adam Farnsworth, Gary Klesel and brother Scott.

“It might be cliche, but I’d put our coaching staff up against anyone,” Strcula added while noting of that season “they took us for a great ride. Those guys helped build the program up.

“Scott and Adam were players and coaches. Mitch has been with the program since 1997 and Gary was there longer than any of us. It’s good to have guys on staff who knew what our program was about to help get us to a level we wanted to be at.”

Rival coaches are sad to see Strcula leave the Fairview Avenue program.

“Ravenswood has had great games both when he was a player at Catholic and during his coaching tenure,” admitted veteran RHS Red Devil leader Mick Price.

“I wish him the best as he steps away. I’ll miss our relationship and our coaching against each other. He did it right!”

Williamstown boss Scott Sauro, who like Strcula played college hoops at Waynesburg University, knows their Wood County rivalry versus the Crusaders will be a little different from now on.

“He was a very tough guy to coach against because he was so multiple in his approach to the game,” Sauro noted. “In my opinion, Parkersburg Catholic is losing a legend.”

One of the toughest aspects of giving up the head job aside from having to make that difficult decision was how he had to tell his players.

“Looking back, it’s always in your heart. You can’t ever deny what your heart feels,” Strcula added. “I knew at some point in the season it was going to come to this, this year. I held off as long as I could in terms of am I doing the right thing and the stay at home order came and put things in a different perspective from the standpoint of being a father.

“I reached out to the players last Thursday and told them what my plans were. My only regret is not being able to tell those guys in person. When I look back on it there was a point I kind of knew it was going to come down to this. Right now, I don’t have any regrets and I’m happy with my decision.”

Although he knows he’ll get that coaching itch down the road, Strcula is 100% set on his current decision. However, he wouldn’t rule out coaching again at some point in the future.

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com

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