Venturing onto Philomath High School's boys soccer practice field in the fall of 2005, Anton Grube had been considering some advice he had received about getting involved with coaching.
The 27-year-old Grube, a PHS Class of 1996 graduate, had been working in the Philomath School District's maintenance department. Learning about Grube's background as a former player, administrator Jon Bartlow approached him with the idea about contributing to the program.
So, Grube decided to check it out. The Warriors were already a couple of weeks into practice and then-coach Mike Lynch had an immediate reaction to the idea of the newcomer taking over the junior varsity.
"Coach Lynch said, 'Nice to meet you and your team's over there,'" Grube recalled. "I had just gone out there to see if I wanted to think about it. The next day was an away game and I remember sitting on the bus and going up to each player and asking, 'What position do you play?' and creating a plan. The rest is history."
It was the beginning of a 13-year coaching career for Grube with the Warriors — the first six heading up the JV team and the last seven with the varsity, a run that included a state championship.
Grube, 39, resigned his position Tuesday for family reasons. The father of two, Grube's older daughter will be entering high school this fall and participating in soccer. But with the way scheduling is set up, it would be nearly impossible for him to see his daughter play in a game. When the boys play at home, the girls are on the road, and vice versa.
"I very much care about the program and the players that are in it and it was a difficult decision, but I couldn't imagine not seeing my daughter play," said Grube, whose younger daughter is two grades behind her sister and will also likely be involved in high school soccer.
Grube didn't share his decision until he had a chance to meet with students.
"Today we had a meeting first with the players before making the announcement public," Grube said. "It was important to me to communicate with the players first. It's their team and I'm their coach to help them have success. But it's their team and I wanted to make sure they heard it not from parents or community members."
Grube grew up in Philomath playing soccer, starting out in AYSO like so many still do today. After graduating from PHS, he crossed the country to attend Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania. Although he intended to play soccer, Grube ended up competing in volleyball instead. After a year, he came home to continue his education at the University of Oregon.
Grube worked with Lynch for just one season with Shawn Bundy (formerly known as Shawn Bonds) taking over in 2006. Grube continued in the JV coaching role before getting an opportunity to head up the varsity in 2011.
"I loved working with the players and helping them become quality young gentlemen and better soccer players," Grube said about those JV years.
In his first season, the Warriors compiled a 13-2-3 record and reached the state semifinals, just one year after Philomath hadn't qualified. Philomath dropped a 1-0 game on penalty kicks to Molalla, which went on to take the state title.
But in 2012, the Warriors brought home the state title trophy. Brookings-Harbor, Molalla and McLoughlin all went down in the first three games before Philomath defeated La Salle Prep, 2-1, for the championship.
Philomath followed up with another final four appearance in 2013, losing to Sisters in the semifinals. Just as Molalla had done in 2011, Sisters then went on to win the state title.
Over the past four years, Philomath has qualified for state three times with each of those postseason appearances ending with first-round losses. In all, Grube's varsity record was 60-41-16, including an 8-5 mark in the state playoffs.
"I think my moments are the small moments you have with individual athletes out on the field, or even off the field where you're just creating relationships and watching them grow up, especially when you get to see them from freshmen all the way through seniors," he said. "The wins and state title were certainly fun and it's something I will always remember, but it's as much about the players than the actual events that I'll take away now."
In a letter to players, parents and the community, Grube thanked many who supported the athletes and the program, including all of them as well as coaches he worked with, school administrators, office and athletic department staff, and his family.
Grube hasn't closed the door on a possible return to coaching at some point in the future.
"I certainly have the window open and you can never say never," he said. "I have two daughters, one sixth-grader and one eighth-grader, and who knows what the future holds between now and then and after that."