Although senior Yasmine Strausbaugh has played her last game for the Grove City High School girls basketball team, she still became emotional when she learned longtime coach Dale Corbett had stepped down.
After guiding the Greyhounds for 31 seasons, Corbett resigned March 22 and informed his players after school the next day.
Strausbaugh called her father, James, moments after receiving a group text that alerted the players of Corbett’s decision.
“I called my dad right away because I started crying,” Strausbaugh said. “I was really surprised. I thought he’d stay at least two more years to coach. It made me kind of sad. I just know how much he’s impacted everyone at Grove City and he’s impacted my life a lot, too.”
Not aware of Corbett’s pending decision, Strausbaugh publicly thanked her coach for his contributions to her prep career during the team’s awards ceremony March 21.
“It came from my heart,” she said. “I really didn’t write it or think about it. I knew what I wanted to say. Not even through just basketball, he just helped me through every little step of my life through high school. He’s picked me up when I was down.”
The Greyhounds finished 7-16 overall and 1-9 in the OCC-Ohio Division this winter after three consecutive seasons of having a .500 or better overall record. They went 14-10 in 2016-17, 12-11 in 2015-16 and 12-12 in 2014-15.
“It was a tough decision,” Corbett said. “You’ve been doing it for so many years — and I’m not going to say I’m never going to coach again — I just think right now it’s a good time to step back. It’s tough. I’m not going to lie about it. I wouldn’t have done it for 30 years if I didn’t enjoy it.”
Corbett helped develop several talented players throughout his career, including 2017 graduate Gina Conti, who recently completed her freshman season at Wake Forest.
Conti was named first-team all-state and all-district in Division I and first-team all-league in her senior season after averaging 15.3 points and 7.2 rebounds. As a junior, she was first-team all-state and all-district and the OCC-Ohio Player of the Year after averaging 17.9 points and 9.1 rebounds.
“I can’t believe Mr. Corbett resigned,” Conti said. “He was both my sisters (Ellen and Anna’s) coach when I was little and then finally my coach. He was not only my coach but he was an awesome counselor, mentor and neighbor, too. I grew up with him and appreciate everything he has done for me.”
Along with Gina Conti’s legacy, Corbett said he leaves the program with several fond memories.
“You’re going to have thousands of memories and the vast majority of them are positive memories,” he said. “There’s bumps in the road, but for the most part it’s been really good. You don’t last 30 years at one school unless there’s a lot of good things going on, and those good things include how you get along with kids, how your (players’) parents are and how your administrators are.”
Corbett has earned the respect of players, coaches and administrators during a career spent guiding student-athletes on and off the court. He will remain a guidance counselor at Grove City.
“In all the years I've known and worked with Dale, I have developed the utmost respect for the man and the coach,” athletics supervisor Ron Hutcheson said. “He, more than any other coach I have been associated with, truly cares about his players and would do anything to make them successful on and off the court. Dale has always maintained the spirit of cooperation with the school in general and the athletics department specifically.”
It was the second time in less than a week that a veteran coach from the OCC-Ohio stepped down, as Pickerington North coach Dave Butcher announced his retirement March 19 after a 35-year career.