Shoop tries to pass on life lessons to student-athletes
By Shawn Annarelli
Published: Saturday, May 11, 2013, 8:03 p.m.
Josh Shoop, his older brother Aaron and younger sister Lindsay learned a tough lesson shortly after their father Les began coaching basketball at Knoch High School in 1982.
Their mother, Karen, was diagnosed with breast cancer and died two years later.
“We learned that life isn't necessarily fair, but at the same time, we learned that you can have these things happen to you, and you can still be successful in your life,” Josh Shoop said.
Shoop, the athletic director of Pine-Richland High School since July, points to his own experience when student-athletes are faced with adversity.
“I know kids who are going through really tough things, and I can sympathize with them, relate to them and hopefully help them,” he said.
Losing their mother brought the Shoops closer together and made them more determined to succeed on the basketball court.
“Sports became a great outlet for us, because when you're on the court or field, you can only focus on what is right in front of you,” Josh Shoop said.
Shoop, at 6 feet 5 inches tall, has been playing sports longer than he can remember, so it is only natural that he hopes his infant son will follow in his footsteps.
His wife, Angela, 28, gave birth to their first son, Benjamin Foster Shoop, on April 8.
“It's a tremendous experience, so I can't wait to get home to see them every day,” said Shoop, 40.
While the Shoops will be fine with whatever interests their son, it's hard to imagine he won't pick up the family's love of basketball.
“He already has enormous hands, so we think he'll take after his dad's height advantage,” Angela said.
Josh and Aaron Shoop and their half-brother Jordan, 25, helped their father win a fraction of his 299 victories at Knoch.
“I had my kids playing basketball as soon as they could walk,” said Les Shoop, 65, Josh's father.
“I think I probably enjoyed coaching them more than they did,” he said.
When Josh and Aaron, now 42, weren't on the same team, they competed with each other.
“We competed for everything from our mother's love to how much we could eat,” Josh Shoop said.
He didn't make his father's varsity team until his sophomore year, but he quickly excelled, scoring more than 1,200 points in three seasons.
He graduated from Knoch in 1991 and played at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where his dad played college basketball.
Transitioning to college wasn't easy.
“The biggest challenge, and I tell this to kids in all athletics, is you're going to go there as a freshman and see how demanding it is,” Shoop said.
Fast forward to New Year's Day 2003 after coaching basketball at Homer Center for five years. Shoop was suddenly Knoch's athletic director and his dad's boss.
Les Shoop retired in 2006, and Josh Shoop took over as the basketball team's head coach in 2010.
“You're naïve and you think you can do anything, but the last two years of being a coach and athletic director was a little more than what I think people should try to handle,” Josh Shoop said.
While Shoop enjoyed his dual roles at Knoch, he had Pine-Richland on his short list of places where he'd like to work. Angela Shoop helped him design his resume on their honeymoon.
“There were over 100 applicants, and I knew some of them that were great candidates and more experienced than me,” Josh Shoop said.
He immediately noticed the difference between being the athletic director at Pine-Richland and Knoch.
“There are more kids, more families and more facilities to maintain, but the great thing about being an athletic director is that it's like you're a part of every team,” he said.
Shawn Annarelli is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Coroner called to car crash in Muddy Creek
- Cranberry family grateful to organization providing specially trained dog
- Cranberry Twp. class helps foreign children learn English before first grade
- Seneca Valley Middle School earns national recognition a second time
- Butler County’s unemployment rate lowest in area
- SV, Mars students earn accolades for artwork, writing
- Haine Middle School concept gets township approval
- Wolf leading pack among Democratic gubernatorial candidates
- Butler Township finances get boost from land sale
- Cranberry women take part in PSU fundraiser
- Mars Area residents plead with board: Don’t OK drilling