Type to search

Chris and Mark Knopick: A father and son capturing football memories

Chris and Mark Knopick: A father and son capturing football memories


By Tom Nader

Publisher and Editor

Football has connected the Knopick family together in many ways over the last 40 years.

Rootstown football head coach Chris Knopick (gray shirt) speaks to his team following a game from the 2022 season, with his father Mark (blue shirt) close by.

In 2023, the game is still giving back.

And it may be more special now than ever.

Chris Knopick is three games into this third season as the head coach at Rootstown High School, where his father, Mark, spent 10 years coaching the Rovers on the gridiron.

Mark is now a member of his son’s coaching staff as the team’s defensive coordinator. Mark’s wife and Chris’ mother, Corry, has also been a football mainstay, serving a longtime role as a film coordinator.

It was not that long ago that Mark was the head coach and Chris, along with his younger brother Joe, were the youngsters running the sidelines as ball boys, falling in love with the game for the first time.

A couple blinks of the eye, though, and time pushes forward quickly.

Both Chris and Joe graduated from Southeast High School. Chris played college football at Baldwin Wallace. Joe played college football at Findlay. Both began their professional careers in education and coaching (Chris at Parma, Kent Roosevelt and Twinsburg; Joe at Jackson) and then suddenly Mark and Chris are back in Rootstown.

With it, brings multiple layers of emotions for Mark on Friday nights.

Mark Knopick poses with a picture with his son Chris in the late 1980’s.

First, his competitive spirit remains, and he is fully invested in his team and their success. He wants to put players in positions to be successful, and he wants his team to execute well enough to celebrate victories.

Secondly, he watches through the eyes of a proud father. He has the most unique, front-row seat to watch his son’s head-coaching career.

Thirdly, he is a smiling grandfather, with his grandsons running around the same sidelines his sons did. With his grandsons watching their father coach just like his sons did.

Football is special like that and the Knopick family have the memories to prove it.

Chris knew he only wanted more of them.

“When I was hired, I immediately thought that I wanted to ask my dad to help out,” Chris said. “When you start thinking about bringing together a staff, you want experience and people you can trust. It didn’t get any closer to that for me than my own father. It was a no brainer.”

For Mark, it was also an easy career choice.

Chris Knopick (center) poses for a picture with his father Mark and mother Corry on Senior Night at Baldwin Wallace.

“It really has been pretty cool to watch him be the head coach,” Mark said. “He is such a great football mind. He knows a lot of stuff, and he has been around some great head coaches like (Kent Roosevelt’s) John Nemec and (Twinsburg’s) Mike Bell. When I watch him coach, I am very proud of him. I am proud of the way he addresses the kids every day, how well he knows the game, how he builds relationships with kids and so many other things. I am just proud.”

Mark, who is a retired Rootstown physical education teacher and also a former baseball and basketball coach in the district, had nostalgic moments thinking back to his coaching days.

“I would get Chris and Joe from school, oftentimes run them down the street to get a couple of burgers, then set them up in the locker room with the large projector to watch NFL Films, while I prepared for practice.”

It all seemed normal to Chris.

“It wasn’t until I was older that I realized how big of an impact my dad had on so many kids and how being around that had an influence on who I am today,” Chris said. “In a lot of ways, I took it for granted as a kid. Now that I am a coach and a father, I know how much work coaches put in for kids that are not their own family.”

“It takes a remarkable wife to support a coach,” Mark said.

For Mark, it is wife Corry.

For Chris, it is his wife Emily.

“My mom made sure we could be part of my dad’s coaching career, and I appreciate that so much,” Chris said. “Now, I am extremely lucky myself to have an amazing wife that does a ton to make sure our boys can be around me while I am coaching.”

The foundation for the next decade of memories is already being laid.

The details will be sorted out later, but you can expect football and the Knopick family will be there to capture them.

The Knopick family (left to right): Joe, Mark, Chris and Corry.


  1. Robert Leget September 7, 2023

    What a great tribute to a great Family!!!🏈

  2. John Nemec September 7, 2023

    Great family that has positively influenced many students and athletes.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *