After leading the Brookhaven High School football team to a 24-10 record and two playoff berths in three seasons, Anthony Thornton resigned as coach Monday.
Thornton, who took over as head coach in 2008 after Tom Blake retired, said he hopes to be coaching at the high school or college level next fall.
"You get to a point in life and you need to seek new avenues," Thornton said. "I'm not getting any younger, and when it all comes to an end, I don't want there to be any regrets. This is a good point in time to step away from it and seek the new challenge. It's a very tough decision."
A 1987 Brookhaven graduate who played quarterback for Ohio University from 1987-90, Thornton was out of the game for nearly 13 years before returning to the sidelines as the Bearcats' offensive coordinator in 2003.
Brookhaven made the playoffs in four of the five seasons Thornton was an assistant under Blake including 2004 when it won the Division II state championship.
In 2009, the Bearcats went 10-3 and lost to Marion-Franklin 31-24 in the Region 7 championship game. With a roster featuring few experienced players entering this season, Brookhaven went 5-5 and had a string of City League-North Division championships snapped at three.
Despite an 0-3 start, the Bearcats won their first four in City-North play including beating Division I playoff-qualifier Northland (3-0 on Sept. 17) before losing two of their final three.
Athletics director Jeremy Froehlich said he was aware of some of Thornton's coaching ambitions.
"It was and it wasn't," Froehlich said when asked if Thornton's resignation was a surprise. "He's always had aspirations of going to college, and I know he has goals."