It isn’t often that high school football coaches stay in place for many years, especially in a public school.
Burroughs High has been fortunate enough that it hasn’t had that problem. Keith Knoop has been part of the Indians’ coaching staff for 26 years, 19 of those as the head coach.
Friday night against his alma mater, Burbank High, Knoop coached in his last game.
Having been an assistant coach the past three seasons, Knoop will now take on a full-time role as the school’s athletic director.
He takes over for Marty Garrison, who retired at the end of the last school year.
“I was at peace with the knowledge I was not going to coach after that game,” Knoop said. “I have been coaching since 1987 and have enough memories to last. So I am good. Plus I am excited to focus on Athletic Director.”
For parents who look at their son’s report cards, Knoop said he will still be the teacher of record, since head coach Rand Holdren is a walk-on coach. But aside from that Knoop will be a spectator next season.
Knoop, who coached at Glendale Community College before coming to Burroughs, said the wins and losses were not the most important thing in being a coach and teacher.
“(We have) sent hundreds of fantastic young men and women into society to be productive human (beings) who are great people,” Knoop said. “We also brought back tradition to Burroughs and won a few football games in the process.”
Over the years Knoop has witnessed changes in high school football.
“We have gone from a blue-collar mentality to a don’t hurt my feelings mentality. Everything is out there now with social media,” Knoop said. “We need to teach kids failure is a tool, not an outcome that cannot be overcome. There is no reset button in life. Each of us must continue to dig down deep and fight to get what we want.”
A member of the Burroughs Athletic Hall of Fame, Knoop began coaching at Burroughs in 1993 before the internet even took off. He thinks it has contributed to the change of sports.
“Players today want instant gratification, personal coaches, Division 1 scholarship offers and winning records without the hard work,” he said. “But deep down kids are kids no matter what generation they are from, they just need guidance.”
With many students and parents now looking at various educational options, Knoop said he hopes to keep Burroughs as a school of choice for prospective student-athletes.
“John Burroughs has excellent academics and sports facilities,” Knoop said. “We need to fight every day to keep our local student-athletes in the city of Burbank. We need the students who are supposed to be at Burroughs to have a reason to come here and stay here.”