Westside football coach Darren Thomas is stepping down.
Thomas, who guided the Renegades to two playoff appearances in seven seasons, says he wants to focus on family matters. “I want to watch and coach my kids a while,” he commented. T
homas is an assistant to Jamie Lusk for the girls basketball team, and his oldest daughter will be at WHS next year.
“My daughter is going to be in high school, and I want to watch her play,” said Thomas. “My younger daughter plays fifth and sixth grade basketball, and they play at the same time as football. “I want to watch my kids for a while,” he added. “Before you know it, they’re graduating.”
He took over the program in 2006, succeeding Silas Mullins. He had been the head coach at Baileysville for five seasons prior to consolidation.
His first team was freshman-dominated.
“We knew the first year would be tough, but I had a great bunch of kids and they bought into the weightlifting, we really had success after that first year,” Thomas commented.
The Renegades were 9-1 in both 2009 and 2011 and hosted first round playoff games. They narrowly missed the post-season several times, including the 2012 campaign. W
estside lost the 16th spot on a tie breaker.
“I’ve had some great kids here,” said Thomas. “One of my fondest memories was when we beat Man in my second or third year here,” he recalled. “We knew we were on the right track because we hadn’t beat Man in a while.”
While he enjoyed the camaraderie with coaches, he says he knew last season that it was time to stop.
“I always said when I didn’t want to go to practice, I knew it was time to quit,” he observed. “I knew about the fourth week of the season last year that it was time to quit. I stayed run down and tired all the time.
“I’ll miss the people of the Westside community,” he added. “They’ve been great to me. But I’m happy helping Jamie, and I don’t want to be a head coach right now.”