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Jon DeFoe knew he was making the right decision, but that didn’t make it any easier for him.

After 21 seasons as Bermudian Springs’ head football coach, DeFoe made the choice to step off the sidelines and into the stands to watch his kids play sports as they grow up. 

Now all he had to do was write the resignation letter. 

Although it was just two paragraphs, it took DeFoe three days to find the words to make it official.

“Every time I would start, I would be flooded with various thoughts and emotions,” DeFoe said. “Ultimately, it’s just all the relationships with coaches and players that I have developed.”

The right time: DeFoe considered resigning before the 2019 season, but decided he could make it work for one more year. His son is a sophomore who played junior varsity football for Gettysburg and DeFoe was able to make it to his games on Mondays.

DeFoe is excited to be there to watch his son and Gettysburg play on Friday nights next season.

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What he wasn’t expecting was that his daughter would start playing middle school field hockey. With those games played during football practice, DeFoe could only attend one and that wasn’t going to work for him.

“As much as I love coaching and as much as the competitive fire and desire to coach is still there, at the top of my priorities is to be the best dad I can be,” DeFoe said. “I knew this was what I had to do and what I really wanted to do. You have personally come to terms with it, because it’s all I’ve known for a long time.” 

Passion for coaching: In the time DeFoe led the Eagles, the team reached the District 3 title game twice, won the division five times and compiled a 152-78 record. While he was proud of the success the team had on the field, DeFoe’s favorite part of his coaching career is seeing players he coached after their careers and taking pride in the young men they have become. 

While he knows he made the right choice for his family right now, Defoe said that a return to coaching after his kids are done playing sports is likely, if the passion is still there. 

He joked that when people congratulate him on his retirement, he tells them he is only 50 years old and views it more as a pause on his coaching career than the end. 

There in support: He will still remain the principal at Bermudian Springs and said he isn’t sure if still being around the players and coaches will make his choice to step away easier or harder. One thing is for sure, he wants the best for the program and the players. 

DeFoe is willing to do anything to continue the Eagles’ success, whether it means being involved or just being a fan.

“My role changes from leader to biggest supporter,” said DeFoe, who led the Eagles to a 6-5 overall record and a District 3 Class 3-A playoff berth in his last season. “I wish them all the best and will do all I can to assist (and) that may be just get out of the way.” 

Reach Rob Rose at rrose@yorkdispatch.com.

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