Bryan Webb knew for some time that the 2017 season would be his last as Hilliard Darby High School boys volleyball coach.

He made it official in mid-June, telling his players and his assistant and informing athletics director Chris Ludban.

“I was confident before the season began that this was it, the final season,” Webb said. “In fact, I knew that when I first found out my wife, Anne, was pregnant. With two children, it was just time.”

The couple’s second child, Katherine, was born April 11. They also have a 3-year-old son, Patrick.

“We knew he was leaning in this direction and asked him several times if there was anything we could do to get him to change his mind because he’s a great coach,” Ludban said. “But he’s not a teacher and has a 9-to-5 job. So there were several nights where he was getting home round 9 p.m. and never saw his kids while they were awake. That’s tough.”

Webb’s coaching record at Darby was 179-39. He posted at least 20 wins in each season except 2010 (19-4, first season) and 2014 (17-8).

The Panthers finished 25-5 overall this spring, losing to Cleveland St. Ignatius 25-18, 26-24, 25-19 in the Division I state final June 4 at Capital University.

It was Darby’s 12th consecutive appearance in the state tournament, but Webb helped the Panthers reach a new level. In his third season, Darby finally reached its first state final before falling to Cincinnati Moeller. The Panthers competed in four finals in Webb’s tenure, finishing 2-2. They won state titles in 2013 and 2015.

The Panthers went 12-0 in the OCC-Cardinal Division this spring to win their 18th consecutive league championship.

“It would’ve been a great ending to go out winning our third state championship, but it wouldn’t have affected my decision,” Webb said. “I’ve talked to a lot of people in the community and every one of them tells me this is the right decision. Time goes by quickly and I need to take care of all of my family obligations and enjoy this time.”

Darby lost six seniors, including outside hitters Brad Brinkerhoff and Robert Bowling and middle blocker Mason Moldovan. Brinkerhoff was named the state, region and league Player of the Year, as well as the ThisWeek boys volleyball Athlete of the Year. Moldovan was second-team all-state and first-team all-region, and Bowling was honorable mention all-region.

“It will be several years before I become a head coach again, but I would be willing to volunteer once or twice a week, but that’s about it for the time being,” Webb said. “We’ll see what kind of sports our kids get into and whether or not I can help there. But right now, I feel a lot less stressed. It’s a relief knowing I don’t have to be at practice or coaching every day.”

bemerine@thisweeknews.com

@Brad_ThisWeek