When Howard Story returned to John Tyler in 2008 the first thing he wanted to do was reestablish a soccer tradition.
Story did that, guiding the Lions to district titles and four straight appearances in the sectional playoffs round from 2010-2014.
Now he hopes his successor can continue that momentum and perhaps take JT to the next level.
Story told school officials Monday he is stepping down as John Tyler boys soccer coach.
"Sometimes you just have to know when it's time and I think it's time," Story said. "Hopefully the school district will get somebody who's committed to the program to take over that position."
The Lions finished 10-9-5 this past season, falling in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs to end a streak of four consecutive deep playoff runs. When Story arrived, JT hadn't had a winning record in nearly a decade.
"I would like to thank coach Story for his outstanding leadership of the John Tyler soccer team," Tyler ISD athletic director Greg Priest said. "He has built a strong program and we appreciate all of his efforts and contributions."
Story was an assistant during the Lions' halcyon days in the 1990s under coach Demetrio Hernandez and returned JT to prominence in recent seasons. Last year Story's squad went 21-3-3 and nearly completed a perfect run through District 16-4A.
Now nearly 100 kids turn out for the soccer program each year.
"I was real proud of what the kids at John Tyler achieved," Story said. "I feel like we have a tradition and I would like for a coach to come in that's going to take over the program and take it to the next level, to maintain the tradition and the strength of the program."
Story admits he does not yet know what he will do next, saying he could get out of education all together.
"I'm walking a tight wire without a net right now," said Story, who celebrated his birthday with his family Tuesday. "It should be interesting."
Despite JT's on-field successes under Story, the coach said some of his greatest joys have come from watching his players grow and mature. For him, a former player coming up to give him a hug was as gratifying as any win or district title.
"I've been blessed with the opportunity to work with some great kids in the soccer program at John Tyler," Story said. "It's been really fulfilling in that sense."
Whitehouse Hires New AD
Whitehouse Independent School District approved Randy Copeland as the school's new athletic director at a Board of Trustees meeting on Monday.
Copeland, who has had an extensive career in coaching, teaching and school administration, brings 30 years of experience to the Wildcats program. Most recently he was principal at Arp High School. He also had a stint as head football coach at Jacksonville High School.
"We are excited and very fortunate to have the opportunity to welcome Mr. Copeland to Whitehouse ISD," Whitehouse Superintendent Daniel DuPree said in a news release. "He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Whitehouse ISD. He is a man of impeccable character and integrity and will be a tremendous role model to our coaches, students and community."