Penn Manor sports have set themselves apart from other high schools in the area for more reasons than one.
Jeff Roth, Penn Manor’s athletic director, stood out among all others by winning not only one, but two awards, recently.
Roth recently won the Lancaster/Lebanon Athletic Director of the Year and District 3 Athletic Director of the Year award.
It all started in 1979. Roth had his first job at McCaskey High School where he was teaching business and also coaching basketball, cross country and track.
After that, he had the same jobs at Mansfield and Pequea Valley High School.
Roth took a break from school and took a job at RR Donnelly Printing, but it’s hard to keep this man away from sports.
It wasn’t long until Roth enrolled at Penn State to get his master’s degree in sports administration. He stayed at Penn State for four months then went to F&M to work after getting his degree. He worked in the athletic department at both schools.
Ten years ago, Arlen Mummaw (Penn Manor’s previous athletic director) took a sabbatical and Roth filled in for him. Mummaw came back to Penn Manor but decided to give up his job as athletic director and take a teaching job. Roth was then named athletic director.
“When I first started, 10 years ago, I took the job as the athletic director as well as the girls basketball coach,” said Roth. “I stopped coaching basketball because it was hard to balance all the things I do. We currently have 1000 athletes and only 80 coaches. I do the paper work for everything.”
Without Roth, Penn Manor sports would have a hard time functioning. Between scheduling contests and officials to run games and making sure there are fields to play on, courts to hold tournaments and coaches have their equipment, it’s a busy job.
“I’ve worked very hard to see our sports grow and succeed,” Roth said about his 10 years in the position. “I do more than just stand on the side-lines, that is just what everyone else sees.”
“My kids attended Hambright Elementary school when I decided to start a run for kids 20 years ago. We called it ‘The Fun Run’,” said Roth.
But after years and years of hard work toiling behind the scenes of Penn Manor sports, Roth was officially recognized this year by his peers.
Roth said he was a little surprised to get the awards.
“There were five candidates for the pool of the Lancaster-Lebanon League (award), and I was very, very surprised that I won,” Roth said.
“The award usually goes to someone at the district or state level,” he said. “The reason I think other directors and such nominated me is I am more of a hands-on type of director.”
Roth has been very hands-on in the realm of sports for years. He is a life-long runner himself.
Roth has coached a couple of different sports including track and field, girls basketball and even boys basketball.
But Roth is happy to work behind the scenes of the actual athletic contests these days.
“I have a great time doing my job and a great time working with the coaches and athletes,” Roth said. “I just like to help programs succeed.”
And succeed they do. Roth has been instrumental in improving Penn Manor sports for the past decade but he’s quick to not take the glory for himself.
“I give a lot of credit to the athletes and coaches,” Roth said. “I’m sure that many of our athletes here at Penn Manor will move on to play sports for a collegiate level.”
By Mike Bouder, Chassidy Sowersby and Kyle Hallett
Alex Geli also contributed to this story