Shawn Hinkle has resigned after three seasons as coach of the Canal Winchester High School football team.

Shawn Hinkle has resigned after three seasons as coach of the Canal Winchester High School football team.

During his tenure, he compiled a 16-16 record and guided the Indians to one playoff berth and one league championship.

This fall, however, Canal Winchester was outscored 402-116 on its way to finishing 0-10 overall and 0-7 in its first season in the OCC-Cardinal Division. It was the program's first losing season since finishing 2-8 in 2006 and its first winless season since going 0-10 in 1999.

The Indians had seven or more wins in each of their previous six seasons.

"Things didn't go as well as we hoped this past season, so it was probably time to go in a new direction," Hinkle said. "It wasn't an easy decision because I will greatly miss the kids in the locker room. It was just time to move on to other things. It was time for a change."

Athletics director Kent Riggs has begun the search for Hinkle's successor. He will accept resumes through Monday, Dec. 9, and then will begin interviewing candidates for the position.

"Characteristics of good coaches is what we are looking for," Riggs said. "(The) ability to motivate young people (and) provide leadership, (and be a) positive role model and a good fundamental football coach would be some of things we are looking for."

Hinkle was part of Canal Winchester's varsity staff for seven seasons, serving as assistant head coach and special teams coordinator in 2010, before replacing Phil Mauro as head coach. Mauro guided the program for four seasons before resigning.

In 2011 under Hinkle, the Indians went 7-3, finishing ninth in the Division II, Region 7 computer ratings to fall one place shy of a playoff berth.

In 2012, Canal Winchester went 9-3 overall and won the MSL-Buckeye title, going 7-0 to mark the third time in program history that it went undefeated in league play. The Indians also qualified for the Region 7 playoffs, where they upset second-seeded Zanesville 21-16 in the first round as the seventh seed before losing to third-seeded Marion-Franklin 44-14 in a regional semifinal.

In beating Zanesville, the Indians posted their second playoff victory in program history and their first postseason win on the road.

"We had some nice victories, and getting one of our two playoff wins in team history is one that stands out above most of them," Hinkle said. "The biggest highlight for me was the relationships I got to build with the kids. I still keep in touch with many of my former players and it's cool to see them grow up from being snot-nosed teenagers to young men with families. That's what you do this for."

Hinkle, who hasn't ruled out returning to coaching in the near future, believes the Indians will bounce back next season, as seven offensive starters and six defensive starters are expected to return.

"My family and I will sift through my coaching options and come to a decision as to when and where I might coach in the future," Hinkle said. "We had a tough season, but with (next year's) senior class, I think (the Indians) will rebound and be very competitive next season. I wish the kids all the best."