Citing health concerns and the need to spend more time with his family, Dennis Cole has resigned as football coach at Glenelg High School.
"I'm not sure whether I'm retiring. I don't think I'm hanging (it) up forever," said Cole, who has spent the last nine years as the Gladiators' head coach.
"I'm going to be out for a couple of years at least."
Cole, who worked for nine years as an assistant coach at Glenelg before assuming the head coaching job in 1982, said he had thought about stepping down since July, when he found out his wife Rita was pregnant with their fifth child.
"It gave me the season to try to look at it (coaching) objectively, which is tough to do when this is so much a part of your life," said Cole, 43. "It's going to be like starting a second family.
"I'll miss the kids the most, but I've been coaching someone else's kids for years. Now I've got other kids I need to coach -- my own."
Cole declined to elaborate on his health concerns, but added that they weren't serious.
Cole guided the Gladiators to a 44-46 record over nine years. His best season was in 1985, when Glenelg was 8-2 in the regular season, beat Wilde Lake to gain a share of the county championship and earned a berth in the state playoffs. The Gladiators were eliminated in the first round.
Glenelg had only three losing seasons under Cole. The Gladiators struggled the last two years, finishing 3-7 each year.
Glenelg has also produced some notable players under Cole.
Dan Ricker, now an assistant football coach at Oakland Mills, graduated from Glenelg in 1982 and went on to set a career rushing record (1,876 yards) at Towson State University. Jim Kantowski, a great kicker at Glenelg before graduating in 1988, is attending East Tennessee State on a full scholarship. Cliff Dutton, an All-Metro defensive back last year, attends the University of Tennessee, also on a full scholarship.
"I love this football program, and I realize I can't give it the time it deserves," said Cole, who has taught social studies at Glenelg for the past 17 years.
Jim McGregor, Glenelg's principal, said he was mildly surprised by Cole's resignation. McGregor, who has advertised the job within the school, is now accepting applications from outside Glenelg and the county.
"I don't want to say it was a complete surprise. He cited some personal reasons. Maybe he sees it as a time to take a little rest," said McGregor, a former coach and athletic director at Glenelg. "Dennis has been coaching here a long time. He's got football in his blood.
"I'm hoping for a good pool of applicants. I want what's best for football here at Glenelg."