YORK, PA – Longtime York College men's basketball coach Jeff Gamber has announced that he will be retiring at the conclusion of the 2011-12 season. Gamber, who is entering his 35th season at the helm of the Spartans and his 44th year in coaching, starts the season with 475 career wins.
Gamber, who is also the Spartan golf coach, is the dean of Capital Athletic Conference men's basketball coaches. He is first in overall conference wins (172); first overall wins since the start of the conference in 1991 (314), and fourth in overall winning percentage. He is the only remaining men's basketball coach in the conference that has coached the entire duration of the CAC. He is a four-time Capital Athletic Conference Coach-of-the-Year.
Gamber came to the decision earlier this year.
"I have enjoyed my time coaching very much," states Gamber. "I have loved York College since the start of my time here but I believe it is time to move on."
Spartan Assistant Dean for Athletics and Recreation Paul Saikia knows the values that Gamber has brought to the athletic department.
"Jeff's contributions to York College as the coach of two sports and as our Athletic Director are vast. The honor, passion, and devotion with which he leads has affected hundreds of Spartan athletes over the years as well as those who have worked with and for him. His knowledge and experience have been invaluable to our department. Many of us were originally hired by Jeff and share a deep appreciation, not only for what he has accomplished, but for the opportunities he helped provide for us."
Gamber's career has always been one of having his teams prepared and ready to play. His tireless work with players, both on and off the floor, has left lasting impressions on generations of players.
The highlight for Gamber's tenure was the Spartans' 2004-05 season as York went 28-4 with a trip to the NCAA Division III Final Four. York also won the Capital Athletic Conference championship and set the standard for victories in a season with 28. For his efforts, Gamber was named the CAC Coach-of-the-Year, the NABC Mid-Atlantic Coach-of-the-Year, and also the NABC Division III National Coach-of-the-Year.
In 2005-06, Gamber led the Spartans to the CAC regular season championship and a return trip to the NCAA Tournament. In 2006-07, he reached the 400-career win plateau with the Spartans' 96-79 win over Gallaudet on December 6, 2006. The Spartans have won three of the last seven regular season Capital Athletic Conference championships.
"I still enjoy being on the floor with the guys at practice and I am looking forward to having a great season," says Gamber. "I have always said that practice is my favorite time. Games are for the players but I have always enjoyed helping kids become better players during practice."
Gamber has been responsible for coaching 18 of the Spartans' 19 1,000 career point scorers while he has also brought in 15 players who earned 19 first-team All-CAC accolades and nine second-team All-CAC honors. He has also guided two Capital Athletic Conference Player-of-the-Year winners (Chad McGowan and Nick Brady) and four CAC Rookie-of-the-Year award winners (Jason Saurbaugh, Chad McGowan, Nick Brady and Julian Watson). McGowan and Brady both went on to earn prestigious NABC All-America honors. McGowan was a two-time honoree including being a first-team selection in 2006-07 while Brady was a 2009-10 third-team pick.
"I have been blessed with so many great players and great people over the course of my coaching career," says Gamber. "I am proud of the program we have built and the people we have produced."
In addition to his success on the floor, Gamber has been heavily involved in the fight against cancer. In 1995-96, Gamber and his wife, Donna, instituted at York a program called the "Three Point Attack." The "Three Point Attack" is a program devised by the National Association of Basketball Coaches and is a part of the nationwide Coaches vs. Cancer initiative to raise funds for cancer research. The Spartans have been ranked highly in all of college basketball for funds raised in each of the last 16 years, and they were the among the top Division III programs in the country for funds raised in each of those years.
Gamber was awarded the NABC Division III Recognition and Appreciation Award at the 1996 Final Four. The award was given as recognition of an outstanding example of how Division III coaches make their college community and town a better place to live.
Gamber is a member of three Athletic Hall of Fames. He was inducted into the York College Athletic Hall of Fame on October 2, 2004, the Millersville University Athletic Hall of Fame on October 17, 2003 and the York County Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005.
Gamber served York College as Athletic Director as he held that post for 22 seasons before stepping down in the spring of 2004. He has also been the Spartan golf coach for the last 29 years. He coached two of the York College Athletic Hall of Fame golfers while he also has coached eight golfers that have earned a combined 14 All-CAC accolades in the four-year history of the conference golf championships. His 2009 squad won the conference championship.
"We're happy for Jeff--he has enjoyed a long, successful career with much to be proud of," states Saikia. "None of us know what it's like to be at York College without him--I guess that's something we will all have to adjust to. We do know that Coach Gamber and his wife Donna will always be an important part of the Spartan family and we are looking forward to sharing this special season with them."
"I know I will miss coaching," states Gamber. "I'll cherish the relationships I have established with so many players and so many of my colleagues."