Mark Mueller resigned as New Albany High School football coach March 4 after eight seasons, two of which culminated in state semifinal appearances.
Mueller cited a desire to spend more time with his family, as well as a belief that he’s not leaving the program’s cupboard bare.
“I’ve been thinking about it for a long time, since the season was over,” said Mueller, who went 69-24 with the Eagles. “It wasn’t an easy decision, but it was in my best interests. It’s something where my kids are getting to that age where I’m not getting to witness a lot of their activities. I missed most of my son’s seventh-grade football season and there’s not much time left to enjoy those activities before I start missing out completely.
“At the same time, it’s a good time to walk away from the program. There’s a lot of talent left here.”
Mueller and his wife, Elyse, have three children — Kyler, 13, Keegan, 10 and Kerinne, 7.
New Albany finished 11-3 overall and 7-0 in the OCC-Capital Division last season, winning 11 consecutive games after an 0-2 start before losing 33-32 to Trotwood-Madison in a Division II state semifinal Nov. 23 at Piqua. That was the Eagles’ fourth consecutive league championship and best season since 2006, when the Eagles lost 31-7 to eventual state runner-up Kettering Alter in a Division III state semifinal.
Mueller was an all-state linebacker at Cincinnati Finneytown and played football and basketball at Ashland University. After graduating from Ashland in 1993, he was an assistant football coach at Mansfield Senior for six seasons before serving as an assistant at New Albany from 2000-04 under Jamie Masi and Mike Golden.
When Mueller replaced Golden as head coach in May 2005, he became the Eagles’ seventh coach in 13 seasons.
New Albany is expected to return six starters on defense — juniors Nick Clemons (LB), Tyrell Howard (CB), O.B. Oppong (S), Trey Quillin (DE) and Joe Siegenthaler (S) and sophomore Jack Schroer (DE). Leslie Anokye (RB), Will Mooney (LT), Siegenthaler (WR) and Ryan Wilson (RG) are the expected returning starters on offense.
Losses to graduation include quarterback/safety Darron Lee, an Ohio State signee who accounted for 1,698 total yards and 21 touchdowns on offense and made five interceptions on defense, and running back Alan Watson. Watson, a Columbia University signee, rushed for 1,388 yards and 21 touchdowns on 173 carries.
Mueller said he plans to continue teaching health and physical education at the high school.
“We love the community, we love football and we love New Albany football,” Mueller said. “(Coaching) is what I’ve done for 21 years now. It’ll be something I miss.”