Family first for departing Trojans AD

Many a high-achieving professional reaches a point where life priorities shift a little bit.

Scott Knapp had an opportunity to do something about it, and he wasn’t about to pass it up.

Still in his first year as the athletic director at Center Grove, Knapp will step down next month to take on the same job at Tri-West.

Knapp, who had previously served as the Trojans’ assistant AD for eight years, loved his time in Johnson County but said the move to Hendricks County was the right one right now for himself, his wife Beth and their young children.

“What it came down to was just family,” he said. “My wife is from Tri-West, and their family’s lived out there for over 110 years, the same farm, 1,000 acres. So we always kind of had that dream, and as we had kids, you kind of put things in perspective of what’s important. I’ve always been so goal-oriented from a professional standpoint that I kind of lost sight of my kids and my wife — and as they get bigger, you want to be there and support them. I was always so laser-focused on the job.

“I wasn’t looking to leave. I wasn’t anticipating ever leaving, to be honest with you. It was just the timing of it all. Had my kids been older and more established, we probably wouldn’t have made the move.”

Also factoring in for Knapp was the ability to shorten the distance between himself and Iowa, where he has a daughter from a previous marriage who is now a three-sport athlete in seventh grade.

The farm in Hendricks County has served as an off-day getaway for the Knapps over the past few years, a place to unwind and get away from the day-to-day grind that comes with managing a high school sports juggernaut. Now, it’ll serve as the family’s home base.

As much as Knapp has enjoyed his time at Center Grove, the positives of the move for his family outweighed the reasons to stay.

“It’s crazy how life changes,” Knapp said. “You think you’re on one road, and then all of a sudden there’ll be an exit and it’s like, ‘Man, maybe going that path will be better for everyone.’”

Knapp will remain with the Trojans through the end of the athletic calendar; his target start date at Tri-West is June 20. He’s hopeful that his tenure here will end with Center Grove’s baseball team holding up a state championship trophy at Victory Field on the 18th.

“I’d like to be in the stands for that,” he said.

Still, he’s eager to take the reins at Tri-West, which like Center Grove has four state football championships and a proud athletic tradition across the board. Knapp noted that the Bruins are “not afraid to play anybody” — the Class 3A school either has appeared or will appear on the Trojans’ schedule in several sports, including baseball, softball and volleyball.

Tri-West is also revamping many of its athletic facilities, with new baseball and softball fields and tennis courts among the projects in the works.

“It’s almost like where Center Grove was six years ago, when we started really attacking some of the facilities and making them grander, if you will,” Knapp said.

In the end, though, this move had far less to do with facilities and trophies than it did with striking a better work-life balance for himself and his family.

“Life’s short,” Knapp said. “I just don’t want to miss certain things. I want to be involved, and for them to be involved in what I’m doing, so I think this is the best of both worlds.”