John Magistro, who helped build the Westerville Central High School football team into one of the area’s top programs, announced July 11 that the 2017 season will be his last with the Warhawks.

Magistro is 58-36 in eight seasons at Central, including 4-4 in the postseason. The Warhawks made the playoffs in 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015 and won OCC-Cardinal Division titles in 2011 and 2013.

“I really feel the program is in the right direction,” said Magistro, who shared Division I state Coach of the Year honors with Findlay’s Mark Ritzler in 2011. “We’re starting to get coaches now that will be teaching in the building.”

Before taking over at Central, Magistro was an assistant at Olentangy in 2007 and 2008 and the head coach at Bellaire from 1984-2006, guiding the Big Reds to a 181-76 record. He led Bellaire to five undefeated regular seasons and two Division IV state runner-up finishes, and was a four-time state Coach of the Year and 10-time Eastern District Coach of the Year.

Magistro was inducted into the Ohio High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame in 2015.

Although he will be stepping away from the Central position, Magistro said there is a chance he will remain in coaching.

Brent Morrison, who has been an assistant in the program since 2005 and the offensive coordinator since 2009, is expected to be a candidate to replace Magistro.

“I’m going to miss it, but I don't think I’m done,” Magistro said. “I just thought it was time to turn it over. When I was Brent’s age I was champing at the bit. It’s time. I have no plans, I’m just going to sit back and see. I have opportunities.”

Morrison, 34, is a social studies teacher at Central. He credits Magistro for his coaching development.

“He came in here and transformed the program and there’s something magical about how he coaches,” Morrison said.