Three Big-Name Coaches Resign in Philadelphia Area

By Chris Goldberg,

Dave Sowers, who guided Hatboro-Horsham to a share of the Suburban One Continental Conference crown and into the state playoffs in 2010, has resigned after nine years as head coach.

Sowers said he resigned for personal reasons and preferred not to discuss details. He compiled an overall record of 137-44, also winning a title in the former Bux-Mont League in 2004.

Sowers led the Hatters to a mark of 18-6 and a seventh-place finish in the District 1 tournament last year.

Hatboro-Horsham nearly pulled off what would have been the year's biggest playoff upsets when it nearly defeated Springfield-Delco in the District 1 quarterfinals. But the Central League champion Cougars rallied from a 6-2 deficit to claim a 7-6 win.

Hatboro-Horsham earned a state berth with a clutch 11-10 overtime win over Radnor and later was eliminated in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association championship by eventual state champion Conestoga.

Sowers, a Wissahickon graduate who played at the club level at Penn State, was hired to bring the program from the club level to varsity in 2002. In his first year, his team went 12-7.

"It was an awesome journey," he said. "They came to me and asked me to start a brand new program and it was a great challenge."

Sowers credited all of his assistants, especially the group of four John Kureck,

Rick Smith, Duncan Swezey and Kevin Kerrigan that were with him all nine years. All of Sowers' assistants also resigned.

"We've been together for nine years and the neat thing is that we have had six alumni from the program working in the program (as coaches)," Sowers said.

Sowers said he enjoyed coaching against the top teams in the northern suburbs.

"One of the positive things is that I've had the ability to coach against some of my peers," he said. "Every year we'd go against (Central Bucks East's) Bruce Garcia and we'd go at it.

"But there was such a mutual respect between us. There were always two great teams fighting it out."

Hatboro-Horsham tied with CB East for the Suburban One crown in 2010 and fell one game behind East in 2008 and 2009.

Sowers' team was named the United Sports Team of the Week during the season by for its role in a benefit game for breast cancer to honor girls' coach Marie Schmucker. About $2,000 was raised.

Hatboro-Horsham also was cited in late January when the team participated in the 2010 Polar Bear Plunge Benefiting Special Olympics of Pennsylvania. In that service event, 27 Hatboro-Horsham team members and Sowers swam in the icy waters of the Delaware River and raised more than $2,000.

"To me my job was not about wins and losses," he said. "My job was to make sure in 20 years my boys are good sons, good husbands and good fathers. If in 20 years I go to their weddings, and see their kids play, at that point I feel I did a good job."

Sowers remains a business education teacher at Hatboro-Horsham.

* * * *

Dan Keating, who led Malvern Prep to a share of the Inter-Ac League championship in his first season as head boys' lacrosse coach, has resigned to pursue a career as a college coach.

Keating said he will be taking a position as a volunteer assistant at Lehigh University. He said his goal is to become a full-time college coach.

Keating guided the Friars to a 13-8 season in 2010, when they tied for the Inter-Ac crown with nationally-ranked Haverford School. Malvern defeated the Fords in both games, Haverford's only losses to teams from Pennsylvania.

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