When you’ve been a high school coach as long as John Groff, you don’t make rash decisions.
But the Sandy Valley High School football and wrestling coach was presented with an offer back in the fall that he didn’t have much time to mull over.
Now the Cardinals are looking for a head coach in both sports come next school year.
“I retired,” said Groff, Sandy Valley’s head football coach for the past five seasons and in his second stint at the school. “The district told me that if I retired before August 15, that I could save on health insurance.
“I had planned on retiring from teaching and coaching at the end of the year anyway.”
• John Groff and his son Sam were on an episode of:
Groff has coached football for 35 years and this will be his 39th, and final, season on the mats.
He took over a Sandy Valley football team that was 1-9 in 2007 and won three times his first season. His second team went 5-5 overall and 3-3 in the Inter-Valley Conference. His next two teams went 3-7 but the 2012 Cardinals started on a tear that had them dreaming of their first winning season since 2002.
“I thought we were going to have a winning season and make the maybe make the playoffs,” Groff said of the team’s 4-1 start.
“But then we lost to Ridgewood.”
That 34-23 loss to the Generals sent Sandy Valley on a five-game losing streak to end the season at 4-6.
It had no bearing on Groff’s decision, and he had no regrets about his last five seasons, and seven total, on the sidelines.
“It was fun. It’s always about the kids,” Groff said. “It has been enjoyable. It has been rough.
“If you know Sandy Valley football history, it’s always been a challenge. Anyone coming in should know that. We got the program up a little ... but whoever comes in, they need to go past where we were at.”