Interim Title Removed; Tropf Named Head Basketball Coach at Goshen College

Photo Courtesy Goshen Athletics

Goshen College has named Jon Tropf permanent head coach of its men’s basketball program, the Maple Leaf Athletic Department announced Thursday. He had filled the role on an interim basis since August.

Tropf is a 2012 graduate of Eastern Michigan University who came to Goshen as an assistant coach in 2014. He was promoted to associate head coach in 2016 before assuming the reins when Neal Young resigned last summer. Before becoming a Maple Leaf, he spent two seasons as a graduate manager at Oakland University.

With at least seven regular-season games left in his first season as head coach, Tropf has already become one of six GC men’s basketball coaches to win at least 10 games in his debut season.

“Jon’s passion for the game of basketball and for building the Goshen College program is second to none,” said Josh Gleason, athletic director. “More importantly, though, he has equal passion for developing the young men in his program to be men of integrity, faith and character off the court as well as on it.”

Since joining the Goshen coaching staff, Tropf has also served as an event supervisor and announcer at baseball, softball and soccer games; an adjunct professor in the kinesiology department; coordinator of the Roman Gingerich Recreation-Fitness Center on campus; and most recently an athletic department assistant focusing on compliance and eligibility.

“Jon has worked incredibly hard at his previous stops and in multiple roles in our department and proven to be an invaluable leader,” Gleason said. “I have been impressed with his collaborative approach with his athletes and others on campus, his willingness to ask questions and learn, and his energy to push past obstacles and through tough situations. He has earned this and I am both excited and proud to welcome him to this new role on our team.”

“First of all, I want to say thank you to Josh Gleason for entrusting me with the leadership of this program,” Tropf said. “I am truly honored and blessed that he feels I can continue to lead this program in the right manner. Second, I want to thank our players. This group of young men has had to endure some unique circumstances and adversity. Their support for me and each other is something I will not soon forget. Last, as with all blessings, I thank God for thestrength and guidance to lead and direct this program.”

As a player at Van Buren High School in Ohio, Tropf reached the quarterfinals of consecutive state basketball tournaments in 2007 and 2008. The 2017-18 Maple Leaf season has been a reunion of sorts from those days: one of Van Buren’s coaches, Mike Daniels, now works with Tropf as an assistant coach.

Tropf graduated summa cum laude from Eastern Michigan with a B.A. in history and received an M.A. in history at Oakland, where he was active in Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He spent four seasons as a men’s basketball manager, including three as head manager, at Eastern Michigan and two years as a graduate manager at Oakland.

He has also spent summers as an AAU coach of seventh- and ninth-graders for the Western Washtenaw Basketball Association (2010-11) and running summer camps for inner-city boys through Team Focus USA (2011-12).

Tropf’s first two games as permanent head coach send him into the gyms of the Maple Leafs’ two closest rivals: Goshen visits Grace College in Winona Lake at 3 p.m. on Saturday and Bethel College in Mishawaka at 8 p.m. on Wednesday. Both games are part of doubleheaders following women’s games that tip off two hours earlier. Tropf’s next home game will come on Saturday, Feb. 3, when the Maple Leafs host the University of Saint Francis in Gunden Gymnasium for a 3 p.m. tip-off.

He also solidifies command of a team in the thick of a Crossroads League tournament push; the Maple Leafs sit in ninth place, three games out of a tie for third, with seven games left in the regular season. The top eight teams reach the conference tournament, which begins Feb. 20.

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