After guiding the Central High School girls varsity basketball program for just one season, Mike Horton has decided to step down.
Horton led Central to an 11-9 record and a berth in the District 6-AA playoffs last February. His resignation, he said, had nothing to do with personnel issues.
He said he enjoyed his time coaching the players and his relationships with the players' parents. He also said he got good support and cooperation from his employer, Smith Transport of Roaring Spring, where he works in the safety department.
"The players were great, the parents and my employer were very supportive,'' Horton, 54, said. "There isn't one specific reason (for the resignation). There are a lot of small reasons - none that have to do with the players or their parents.
"I've spoken to the players, and I'll leave what I said to them between myself and the players,'' Horton added. "I've also had a few health concerns in the last couple weeks that put my decision to resign over the edge.''
Horton is happy with what was accomplished during his coaching tenure in the Central program, which included two years as the junior high school girls head basketball coach and one year as an assistant varsity coach before he took over as the varsity coach last winter.
"I think we left the program in better shape than when I began four years ago,'' said Horton, a 1979 graduate of Central.
Central's policy when there is a resignation at the top coaching position is to open all the coaching staff positions from the varsity down through the junior high school levels.
Horton hopes that his varsity assistant coach last year, Rob Mock, gets considered for the head coaching position.
"I hope the school board and administrators give Rob Mock serious consideration,'' Horton said. "I worked with him both at the junior high and high school levels, and he was very valuable to me and will continue the positive approach that we both believe in.''
Central athletic director Chuck Gojmerac lauded Horton for his contributions to the girls basketball program.
"He did a fine job, and he was really dedicated to, and had a true commitment to, the sport of basketball,'' Gojmerac said of Horton. "We'll probably start advertising the position later this week, and we'll keep the application process going for about a two-week period. We would like to have a new head coach in place by the September (school) board meeting.''
Horton will continue to root for the Lady Dragons no matter who takes over the head coaching role.
"I am very thankful for the time that I shared with them, and I will be their biggest fan,'' he said.