ROYERSFORD - It was a secret Jeff Rinehimer guarded more closely than his Spring-Ford girls basketball team guarded its opposition.
That this past season, his 19th, would be his final at the helm of the Rams’ highly successful ship.
Ironically enough, it also wound up being the best campaign in school history.
Rinehimer, who guided Spring-Ford to a 32-2 season culminating in the PIAA Class AAAA championship, confirmed Saturday night he has resigned as Rams coach, citing family reasons.
“My team at home needs me,” Rinehimer said, referring to his wife, Jen, and their children — 9-year-old Grace and 19-month-old Daniel. “I knew at the beginning of the year this was going to be it for me, but I didn’t want to say anything. My daughter is starting to get into some activities and sports, and there are always going to be the little things like practices and appointments to get to. Things were getting a little too busy, and it was just time.”
The 44-year-old Rinehimer, a Boyertown grad, compiled a 321-167 mark during his tenure.
Under his watch, the Rams have gone 62-5 over the past two seasons, winning back-to-back Pioneer Athletic Conference titles and two straight District 1-AAAA crowns.
Last winter, Spring-Ford won its final 24 games — defeating Methacton 53-23 in the PAC-10 final, downing Mount St. Joseph Academy 51-30 in the district championship and beating Cumberland Valley 60-45 for the state title. Rinehimer was named Class AAAA Coach of the Year last season, and has been named All-Area Coach of the Year the past two seasons.
The Rams will take a 30-game PAC-10 regular-season winning streak into next season.
“Without question, Jeff has made a major impact on our program over his 19 years as head coach,” said Spring-Ford athletic director Mickey McDaniel, who also served as Rinehimer’s right-hand man on the girls basketball coaching staff. “He has raised the level of expectations within the program with the winning of five PAC-10 championships, two consecutive District 1 championships and the ultimate prize, a PIAA state championship.
“Most importantly, however, he has not compromised his core values to be a winner. His 321 career victories are not only an indication of his longevity, but a tribute to his yearning and passion to continual growth as a coach and as a leader of young people, and I sincerely appreciate him allowing me to be on board for this tremendous journey.”
Rinehimer said he gradually informed his players over the past few weeks of his decision, and recently made it official by turning in his letter of resignation to McDaniel.
“Our players are special,” Rinehimer said. “They had such a great work ethic, and everything they did had a purpose. Whoever is going to be the next coach is going to be the luckiest person in the world because of what kind of kids they are.”
According to Spring-Ford officials, a new coach is expected to be in place by the summer.