"Family first" is an axiom that the vast majority of folks should and do live by.
It was John Horton's commitment to his family that recently prompted him to submit his resignation as Central High School's head wrestling coach after nine years of service.
"I love coaching, but I had been missing my children's activities to go be with my team,'' Horton, 41, said. "I want to get more involved with helping my son and daughter in their sports, and that requires time to do stuff with them.''
Horton's son, Hunter, 8, and daughter Brooke, 7, are both involved in athletic programs at the Spring Cove Elementary School. Hunter competes in wrestling and Brooke participates in gymnastics.
"I want to help coach my son in wrestling, and drive my daughter to her gymnastics events,'' Horton said.
Horton, a chemistry teacher at Central, leaves the wrestling program in decent shape. Eight lettermen return from this year's team, which posted an 8-13 record in dual meets.
Doug Ritchey was a two-time Class AA state tournament qualifier for Central at 103 pounds under Horton in both 2003 and 2004, and earned a sixth-place medal in 2004.
"I really enjoyed the sport, and I think we're starting to build a program,'' Horton said. "We have a good talent base coming up. I just couldn't get everything done that I have to do [while coaching].''
Central Athletic Director Chuck Gojmerac said he will be accepting applications for a minimum of two weeks. Central will also be taking applications for a new junior high school head wrestling coach and assistant coach.
"We would like to name the coaches at least before the May school board meeting, so the coaches will have the summer months to work with the kids,'' Gojmerac said. "John did a fine job. Our wrestling program made some decent progress over the past couple years.''
Horton tendered his resignation as coach about a month ago, and it was accepted at Central's school board meeting last Monday night.
"I would think it would be an attractive position for somebody to take,'' Horton said. "There's definitely a high degree of talent coming up through, and the opportunity is there for somebody to continue to build it.''