After guiding his team to the WPIAL playoffs in back-to-back seasons, West Greene High School football coach Rod Huffman has resigned.
A voting committee approved his resignation, which was submitted in mid-December, on Thursday night.
“The main reason was wanting to spend more time with my family,” Huffman said. “It was time to move on. I’m 66 years old and at an age now where I can’t mix it up with hands-on coaching. It took a toll on me physically. Your body just doesn’t recover like it should because of your age. I’m not in bad health by any means, but it was just a good time to go.”
West Greene gave Huffman, a 1970 graduate of the school, his first opportunity at a head coaching job when he was hired prior to the 2015 season. He spent more than 15 years coaching at Curtis Baptist High School in Augusta, Ga., and Fox Creek Charter High School in North Augusta, S.C., before returning home.
In four seasons, Huffman took a struggling Pioneers program, which hadn’t made the playoffs since 1993, to the postseason in both 2017 and 2018. West Greene went 7-4 in both seasons.
“I don’t take credit for anything that occurred there other than I was a part of it,” Huffman said. “I was blessed with good players and assistants who bought into the program. I told them when I first took the job that it would take a while, that it could be three years before winning. That is about what it took for us to get there.”
West Greene went 0-9 in Huffman’s first year then improved to 3-7 in 2016. He was 17-24 in four seasons.
“The program is in pretty good shape, I believe,” Huffman, who contemplated resigning after the 2017 season, said. “I feel like it was a good time to step aside. I don’t regret one moment of it. The future is bright because the junior high and youth programs are strong.”
The Pioneers won a tiebreaking coin flip to earn the top playoff seed from the Tri-County South Conference after they tied with Monessen and California for the title – all three teams finished 6-1 in the conference. Their playoff fate in 2017 and 2018 was the same, losing to Rochester both seasons in the first round.
West Greene, which had 30 players on its roster, lose six seniors to graduation. Quarterback Gavin Scott and running back Ben Jackson will return for their senior seasons behind an experienced offensive line. In the second game of last season, Jackson became the sixth running back in Greene County history to eclipse 4,000 career rushing yards. He ran for 1,541 yards and 26 touchdowns as a junior despite missing the several games with an injury.
“We have had a nice string of (seasons) and a nice team coming back,” said West Greene athletic director Bill Simms. “I would assume that would be a positive. We were pleased of the effort (Huffman) gave. He met with the kids and had a strong message for them. We hope that it is an enticing job.”
West Greene will advertise the position internally for the required 10 school days before opening it to the public.