OCEANSIDE (CBS 8) – Oceanside High School head football coach John Carroll said his decision to step down after 26 years as head coach wasn't easy, but it was necessary.
"I am at peace with it. At the same time it is sad that I don't get to continue coaching these men I care so much about at a school I care so much about, playing a sport I care so much about. So that's painful," Carroll said.
His resignation was forced by continuing symptoms of a brain injury he suffered over a year ago at practice. He was demonstrating to the kids how to maintain proper leverage during a drill.
"My brain told me I could still cut, but my feet told me 'no you couldn't' and I head-planted, face-planted and had serious repercussions as a result of that," Carroll said.
He'll go down as one of the best coaches in the history of San Diego County high school football.
"He helped put San Diego County on the map and put it there permanently," La Costa Canyon football coach Sean Sovacool said.
Carroll's 13 section titles are a record – three more than legend Herb Meyer, and Meyer coached 19 more seasons. Carroll also has two state championships.
"He set a high bar for younger coaches like myself, and older coaches gave us something to aim for," Sovacool said.
"John's old school, which is a nice way to say, he's old like myself and a lot of guys are. John found a method to reach the kids that's he's around," Francis Parker football coach John Morrison said.
"It's a special bond, those of us who coach know, and the Friday night adrenaline. i'm gonna miss all those things," Carroll said.
But he won't miss Oceanside High. He's still teaching full time at the school, and hopes to be involved with the football team in some capacity that his health will allow.
"These 26 years at Oceanside have been an incredible blessing in my life. I feel a very strong bond to the school. While my role is gonna change, I'm a Pirate, and I'm a Pirate for life," he said.