Bob Wilson isn’t finished coaching. He’s just finished coaching high school football.
Putnam City North’s head coach of the last 22 years announced his retirement Wednesday, though he plans to stay at the Class 6A school as athletic director.
“My wife asked me if I was through coaching,” Wilson said. “No, I’ll probably be out coaching T-ball or something else. I’m gonna coach the rest of my life. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do. I never thought about doing anything else.
“When they lay me in my grave, I’ll still be coaching somebody.”
Wilson was on the coaching staff at PC North for 33 years in all, the first 11 as an assistant, spending some time under legendary coach Mike Little. He replaced Little in 1992, leading the Panthers to several playoff appearances, including 6A state runner-up finishes in 1995 and 2001.
Wilson’s program produced multiple college and NFL players, including Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Sam Bradford of Oklahoma. Bradford is now the St. Louis Rams’ starting QB.
Despite his passion to coach, Wilson decided the time had come to step away. He expects the decision will give him more time to fulfill his duties as the athletic director, especially during the fall, as well as providing time to spend with his grandchildren.
“We’ve fought the hard fights,” said Wilson, who guided the Panthers to a 150-96 record. “I had the chance to coach a lot of great players and with a lot of great coaches — and against a lot of great coaches. It’ll be tough in August, but I feel like this is the right time. Maybe they can get somebody in here who can turn Putnam City North around and get them back on track.”
PC North finished 4-6 last season, just missing the playoffs after a season-ending loss to Yukon.
Wilson isn’t sure how the hiring process to replace him will go, and he doesn’t know if he’ll be involved, leaving those decisions up to his principal and other administrators in the PC school system, including athletic director Dick Balenseifen.
“It’s tough leaving your kids,” Wilson said. “I kind of broke down in front of them, and I didn’t see that coming at all.
“I think this will be a positive thing for Putnam City North.”
Wilson’s retirement leaves two head coaching vacancies at Class 6A Division I programs. Yukon’s head job recently came open when Todd Wilson left to take the same position at Class 4A Cleveland.