WASHINGTON, N.C. (WITN) - Monday was an emotional day for Sport Sawyer, the head football coach at Washington High School, as he stepped down from his position.
Sawyer has spent 20 years coaching the Pam Pack, and although this program is dear to his heart, he says it is time to shake things up.
"You kind of analyze things," he says. "What you did right, what you did wrong. I think being here so long, there are good things, but also sometimes you need to change things up. That has been in my head for a little while now."
Just two years ago, Sawyer led his team to the 2AA state title game, but he says going from a championship game to 3 and 8 hasn't been easy.
Sawyer says that is what ultimately led him to this decision.
Kevin Chapman Jr., who played for Sawyer from 2009-2011 and now serves alongside of him on the staff, says he is surprised by the news and the next person who takes on the job will be hard pressed to match Sawyer's legacy.
"They have huge shoes to fill as a coach and a person," Chapman says. "I love Coach Sawyer as a person. Great bond. He connects with the parents, kids, with everybody. So I mean he has quite a big job to fill."
Chapman says many of the lessons Sawyer taught in the locker room will live on forever.
Sawyer does not plan on being done with the game anytime soon, saying he would love to take another head coaching position if the right opportunity is available.
For now, he wants his players and the community to know just how much past two decades have meant to him.
Sawyer says this was not a forced decision, but he feels like it was best to part ways for the program and for him personally.
He says the school, coaching staff and everyone involved have been extremely supportive.