New Upper Perkiomen High School varsity basketball coach Jared Krupp, second from right, explains a drill to players on the first day of practice Monday. Krupp previously held a coaching position with the middle school team.
Another boys basketball season, another head coach for the Upper Perk Indians. Jared Krupp is the next to try and steer a program sorely in need of direction since Jeff Huddleston relinquished the helm at the end of the 2008 season.
Krupp, a teacher at Marlborough Elementary, becomes the team’s fourth head coach in four years, a span that has produced a brutal record of 7-59.
The latest head man is not new to the Upper Perk program; Krupp coached at the middle school for the last four years and has worked with most of this year’s varsity and JV hopefuls. He knows what kind of task he has in front of him.
“One of the biggest challenges of taking over a struggling varsity program is to get the kids to be ‘all-in’ in order to put the time and work required to rebuild a program,” Krupp said.
“One struggles to give their maximum effort when they have seen losing records over the past few years, and this attitude and mindset weakens a program.”
Krupp had the chance to begin off-season work with his team after taking over from Bruce Schmidt several weeks ago.
Senior Mike Winters, now playing for coach number four, has seen a different approach from Krupp. Open gyms were more than just pick-up games, as Krupp introduced conditioning and drills to get the players acclimated to his expectations.
“I think he’s a really good coach,” Winters said. “He’s been very interactive with us. He’s got guys working.”
From his perspective, Krupp noted, “Pre-season workouts showed that the players are on board for a change. They are willing to work harder, learn from their experiences, and create a renewed culture of basketball.”
That “culture” includes a commitment to discipline both on and off the court, something that was lacking the past few years.
The new skipper has something of a mandate from Athletic Director Steve Perlstein: “Coaches are responsible for the action and behavior of themselves and ultimately of their players with respect to team conduct and sportsmanship.”
Change will take some time and will be measured in small increments for now.
Krupp said, “We want to view each day as an opportunity to get better and to recognize our transformation as student-athletes.”
Wins and losses will be noted as always, but Krupp, who attended Souderton and studied at Eastern and Wilkes, will bring his teaching mentality to practice every day as he tries to right the ship in what is his first varsity coaching experience.
“You are given a student, and it is your duty to motivate and cultivate something. You watch it grow individually with your guidance and help. To see the progress an individual has made is the most enjoyable thing about coaching. Whether it is a growth as a basketball player or maturity as a person, to know that you had an impact on that individual is rewarding.”
Formal practice began this week, and Krupp began the rebuilding process with a larger than normal turnout. He will be helped in his transition by assistant coach Todd Swenk, last year’s JV coach.
Krupp hopes to play an up tempo style of basketball and feature his team’s best asset, speed. Before that, he wants his players to rely on and support each other and grow together.
“The student-athletes on the team understand their roles and the roles of the person next to them, and we want to utilize our ability to play well as a unit.”
Winters, for one, has bought in.
“Come out and watch us play. It’s going to be different. With coach Krupp to help us, I expect a lot from us this year.”