For the past 25 years, Greg Mytrysak has closed the swimming pool at his Brush Valley home on Labor Day.
This year, though, the former football coach hopes to enjoy his pool well into September.
“I guess I’m going to have to leave the pool open this year,” joked Mytry- sak, who stepped down as United High School’s football coach. “Every year on Labor Day, the world stopped and it was time for football. Now, I won’t be at football practice after school every day. There are some nice days in September, you know, and I might be able to swim after school.”
Mytrysak, who was the head coach of the Lions for four years, has been with the program since 1987. The United Elementary teacher submitted his letter of resignation, and the school board accepted it Tuesday.
“I’ve been there for a quarter-century,” he said. “It’s really hard to explain, but you get to a point where you know it’s time to say goodbye. I’ve spoken to other coaches who have left high school athletics, and you just know when it’s time. It’s hard, though, because you work, work, work and then just step aside.”
Mytrysak finished with a 20-21 record in four seasons.
In his first year as the head coach, United went 9-2, won the Heritage Conference championship and made its first appearance in the district playoffs since 2005. Things have gone downhill, though, and the Lions finished 0-10 last season while scoring a mere 33 points.
“Things are changing in high school sports,” Mytrysak said.
“There’s no doubt that the modern-day athlete has changed. When I played football, all I wanted to do was be a United football player. But enrollments are dropping and the costs are high, and I’m not sure I like the direction it’s heading.”
Assistant coach Erik Foust also resigned, which came as a shock to Mytrysak, who had spread the word that he was stepping down.
“I made everyone aware I was leaving,” Mytrysak said. “I mentioned to the coaches and some other people, but I didn’t want or expect anyone else to go. When I read that, I was very surprised. I think next year, they have a lot of young, good players who played a lot last year, and I hope they use that experience, and I hope they do well.”
The Lions finished with a 7-4 record in 2010 and went 4-5 in 2011 before ending last season with no wins.
“When you’ve been doing anything for that long, of course you’re going to miss it,” Mytrysak said. “I’ve coached a lot of special kids over the years. I’ve been there for so long, and I enjoyed it, I really did. But you just know when it’s time to go.”