ASHTON, Ill. (WIFR) It has been a couple months since Brad Winterland actually handed in his resignation papers, but news got out last week about his decision to step away from the Ashton-Franklin Center football program. Winterland said he has no regrets.
"The last few years really, really hammered me, physically, mentally, it was tough."
Winterland leaves after nine years. He said he mulled over his options though for a few months after this past season.
"We needed to make that decision. I feel confident in my decision that it was the right thing to do.It just kind of a recharge time right now I think."
He said there was not one single thing that led to his departure, but playing in the NUIC was certainly a challenge for the small school.
"You're playing against top notch competition week-in, week-out," said Winterland. "That's a big part of it and every week you're going to have a winner and you're going to have a loser."
The Raiders were on the losing end more often than Winterland would have liked, going 0-9 the last two years and finished with just one winning season during his tenure.
"Two, three plays away from being a playoff team your first two years, I think that taste of success is what kept you driving, kept you driving and thinking you're going to get back and unfortunately we couldn't get the job done that we wanted."
Winterland said once the news got out about his resignation, the support was non-stop.
"It makes you feel good," said Winterland. "Former players reached out, the coaches that I've competed against, the current and former school board members who have contacted me. Yeah, it's overwhelming."
Winterland believes he's still a football coach and will be back on the sidelines as an assistant down the road.
Winterland also said the school has lost about 35% of its enrollment since 2012. He said AFC is committed to playing 11-man football this fall, but will make the switch to 8-man starting in 2021.