Kyle Sprenkle has plenty of experience balancing football and fatherhood.
His wife has given birth during the season multiple times during his coaching career. But after the couple’s sixth child was born this fall, Sprenkle decided it was time to focus on being a dad.
Sprenkle stepped down as Spring Grove football coach earlier this month and his resignation was officially approved by the school board Monday night. A 2004 Spring Grove graduate, he spent seven years as the head coach at his alma mater.
He went 28-42 in his tenure with two playoff appearances in his first and final seasons. He was named YAIAA Division I co-Coach of the Year in 2020.
“It’s about my family,” Sprenkle said about his decision Monday afternoon. “I’ve got a large family and the commitment I need to make to them outweighs the commitment I can make to football. I can’t fairly give back to Spring Grove.”
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Sprenkle’s oldest daughter is 8 and his youngest is three months. He and his wife have two sets of twins between those two.
His infant daughter, Anistyn, was born this October on a Sunday during football season. He missed the next day of practice before returning to help the Rockets prepare for what turned out to be a statement win over Dallastown.
It was just over five years from when he and his wife welcomed a set of twins between weeks 1 and 2 of the 2016 season. But with his older kids starting extracurricular activities and Anistyn so young, Sprenkle realized the past few months that something had to give.
He weighed his options over the holidays before deciding it was time to take a break from coaching.
“My wife has been a superhero and allowed me to coach and be passionate about football for this long,” he said. “The holidays put things in perspective. I let my staff know and I think I took them by surprise. I have treasured being the coach at my alma mater and the biggest letdown was telling my players I’m not coming back.
"It would be bittersweet regardless if we were 0-10 or undefeated."
But Spring Grove is coming off a historic season. The Rockets went 10-2 and won two playoff games for the first time in program history. The only teams to beat them were powerhouses Central York and Governor Mifflin.
The Rockets showed improvement with a 4-3 record during the COVID-shortened 2020 season after they won just four games from 2017 to 2019. A strong senior class led by Slippery Rock running back commit Zyree Brooks and Randolph-Macon commit linebacker Darien Osmun fueled the turnaround of the last two seasons.
"I said this throughout the season, but the kids were the ones out there performing," Sprenkle said about the success of this season. "The credit goes to them. They set the foundation."
Spring Grove faced adversity this season when star linebacker Tyree Brooks attacked a referee at the conclusion of a win over Dover, according to Northern York Regional Police. Brooks was charged with three counts of assault and did not play the rest of the season.
Sprenkle declined to directly comment on the situation but said the Rockets moved past the incident by "focusing on the team."
"The focus of the team was that we were a family and we had each others' backs," he said of how the Rockets handled adversity. "We carried each other through and we overcame challenges."
Sprenkle was an all-state defensive lineman at Spring Grove and also won more than 100 career matches and two state medals as a heavyweight wrestler. He then became an All-Patriot League defensive tackle at Division I FCS Lafayette.
A teacher at Spring Grove, he started his coaching career as an assistant under longtime Rockets football coach Gregg Trone and longtime wrestling coach Tony Miller. He then had a stint as an assistant at Dover under Bill Miller before returning to Spring Grove to coach under now-York High coach Russ Stoner.
He described his current break from coaching as a "pause" and said he'd be interested in returning in the future — whether at the varsity level or just for his kids' youth teams.
Regardless, he expects Spring Grove to remain competitive next season. Despite graduating a huge senior class, the Rockets will return rising senior quarterback Andrew Osmun, who is a potential Division I recruit as a safety and offensive athlete.
"I think they can be successful," he said. "There are good players waiting in the background because of how talented the senior class was. Those guys are excited to get their shot."
In the YAIAA, there are now football coaching vacancies at Spring Grove and Susquehannock. Last week, Dallastown hired Levi Murphy and Eastern York hired Bud Kyle.
Spring Grove athletic director Jeff Laux said the school is planning to post the open job position soon.
"We want the next coach to build on what coach Sprenkle had in place and build quality football players and young men," Laux said.
Matt Allibone is a sports reporter for GameTimePA. He can be reached at 717-881-8221, email@example.com or on Twitter at @bad2theallibone.
This article originally appeared on York Daily Record: Spring Grove football coach Kyle Sprenkle resigns for family reasons