McKay, who led the Panthers to a 5-15 record as head coach the past two seasons, said it was a decision he didn’t come to lightly. He had mulled it over in his mind since the end of last season and recently came to his decision.
McKay informed principal Mike Welsh of his intention to resign his head-coaching duties in a meeting a couple of weeks ago. The Cherokee County Board of Education accepted his resignation at its last meeting on Tuesday.
McKay said he still intends to remain teaching at Spring Garden, and hasn’t ruled out continuing on as an assistant coach again.
“I was glad I took the (head coach) position, and I’m thankful they let me take it,” McKay said. “I’ve enjoyed my two years, but I had decided it wasn’t for me personally. I enjoy coaching, and I love these kids, but I was just more comfortable as an assistant.
“I’ve coached 11 years here, and it’s one of those things where you don’t know until you try it. Once I was doing it, I enjoyed it. I don’t regret it at all. It was a very tough decision to make because it’s one that affects the kids. I really hated to tell them.”
McKay called the team meeting “very emotional.”
“They were emotional. I was emotional. It was rough to tell them. It was a very tough thing to do because you get so close with them, but I think I got it through to them that it was best.”
Welsh said he’s “certainly understanding” of what McKay was going through and respects his decision. He went on to say he appreciates what McKay has done for the Panther program.
“He was willing to step up when we needed someone, and he’s done everything that needed to be done,” Welsh said. “It’s been very time-consuming, and we understand his decision to resign. I just really appreciate his hard work the past two years. From experience, I know what kind of time it takes for a head football coach to put in.”
Welsh said the school plans to move quickly on filling the vacancy. He said the job is now posted and he’s already had several inquiries.
“We haven’t interviewed anyone, but we expect to have a lot of interest now that the board has voted (to accept McKay’s resignation),” Welsh said. “I’ve already had at least three people interested, and we expect more. We’re going to jump on this thing with both feet and get a recommendation as soon as possible. We’d like to name someone in the next couple of weeks so we can have them in for spring training. We hope things will fall into place.”
Regardless of who the next head football coach will be, McKay feels it should be an easy transition for them. He’s still overseeing the Panthers through their workouts and plans to continue until a new hire is in place.
“This group has a great work ethic,” he said. “I know our win-loss record may not have shown it, but they work as hard as anybody, and I’m not just saying that. That’s one thing they’ve continued to do as soon as the season was over.
“This senior group, they’ve all been starting together since 10th grade, and it should pay off for them this coming year. I really think that. I think they’re going to win with whoever comes in just because of their experience, work ethic and determination to get things done.”