One of the most influential lacrosse backers in Berkshire County won't be back on the Mount Greylock High School boys sideline this spring.
Of course, that doesn't mean he's done with the sport, either.
Jeff Stripp confirmed Wednesday night that he has stepped aside as Greylock boys coach, citing both family and work commitments. Stripp, 43, has been the Mounties' coach for both of their high school varsity seasons, as well as a five-year stint as the club team's coach before that.
In the Mounties' first two varsity seasons, they went a combined 36-5, reaching the Western Mass. Division II tournament each season. This past spring brought the program's first-ever postseason win and a berth in the sectional semifinals.
Stripp will now focus on his role as the vice president of the Western Mass. chapter of U.S. Lacrosse, as well as his membership in the Berkshire County Lacrosse Association. He's also the seventh-eighth grade coach in Williamstown.
"I'm not going away from the program," Stripp stressed. "There's still a lot going on in lacrosse for me, just not at the high school level."
However, Stripp also has two Mounties in the family -- his son Carter will run for the track and field team this spring, while daughter Sarah plays for Greylock's girls lacrosse team. The Stripp family also has a new member, infant Mason.
"I definitely want to see some of their games and contribute to what they're doing," Stripp said of his high school-age children. "Certainly, the newborn takes up a lot of time."
Lindsey von Holtz, Mount Greylock athletic director and girls lacrosse coach, said she's hoping to call applicants early next week to set up interviews, and to have a new coach in place by week's end.
"You worry if you can find a qualified coach in that time period," von Holtz said. "Losing Coach Stripp will be huge. He is one of the main reasons Mount Greylock has varsity lacrosse. When I came to Mount Greylock, he already had a club program running and did the scheduling for both the boys and the girls.
"Not having him coaching will be weird."
Stripp, a past BCLA president, believes he's left the Greylock program in very good shape. He's still hoping, however, to see the program earn further backing from its school committee in year three as a varsity program.
"My original vision, back when we were starting the club, was to have the program fully funded at the high school," Stripp said. "For the folks that were there at the very beginning, getting lacrosse in the county was a big deal.
"I think we're very close to [full funding for both programs]. It's back on the [school committee] docket in March."
The program is mainly funded through boosters, and Stripp is a part of that fundraising push.
Having also led the Mounties on the field, he certainly knows the demands the next coach faces.
"It's a lot," Stripp said. "So, to do it right, you've got to be committed."
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