Heading into the 2015 season, long-time Coast coach Buddy Singleton said he would hang up his whistle and clipboard at year's end.
It took a bit longer than most expected, but D'Iberville's legendary coach officially tendered his retirement earlier this week after 49 years of coaching.
"I felt like it was time to move on," Singleton told the Sun Herald on Tuesday. "I have been after it quite a while. I'm 75 years old -- there aren't too many people still coaching at 75.
"I felt like it was time and I have some other things I'd like to get done."
Singleton first took over at D'Iberville in 1965 after two years as an assistant coach and proceeded to lead the team for the next 20 years, winning 180 games during that span. After coaching at St. John from 1997 to 2003, he returned to the Warriors in 2008 and posted a 52-35 record in eight seasons.
The Warriors headed into this past season with high hopes but battled inconsistency and were eliminated in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs at Brandon.
During his career, Singleton has been inducted into the Mississippi Association of Coaches Hall of Fame, posted 30 winning seasons, won the Pascagoula River Conference championship five times, the Gulf Coast Conference championship once and claimed four region titles.
Interest has already flooded in for the D'Iberville job opening, from both external and internal candidates.
The school district will accept applications until Feb. 10, at which point interviews are expected to begin.
Harrison County Athletics Director Bobby Trosclair said it will be hard to replace Singleton, but he's eager to see how the process plays out.
"He's a legend. I'm happy to have had the opportunity to work with him and learn from him," Trosclair said Tuesday, one day after the school board accepted Singleton's resignation. "I'm going to miss him tremendously. Obviously those are going to be tough shoes to fill. We want somebody to step in and continue the winning tradition that coach Singleton established at D'Iberville."
West Harrison job open
In addition to D'Iberville, West Harrison is also looking for a new coach after Sean Harden tendered his resignation on Monday as well.
"West Harrison is a great place with wonderful students, faculty and administration. I care enough about it to step away as head football coach and give somebody else a chance to give our student-athletes the opportunity to achieve greater things," Harden told the Sun Herald. "It's going to happen. Bright things are in the future."
Harden was hired at West Harrison in 2013 after having served in the same position at Long Beach from 2000 to 2008.
The Canes won four games in Harden's first season, an immediate success after a winless 2012 campaign, but the school posted 0-11 seasons the last two years.
Prospective coaches have already started applying for the Hurricanes' vacancy.
"It's about finding the right fit for a school that doesn't have a large legacy," Trosclair said after commending Harden for his professionalism and commitment to the program. "We need to find someone who can build a program. Where at D'Iberville we're looking for someone who can carry on that tradition, at West Harrison we're looking for someone to start it."
George County is the third Coast school currently conducting a coaching search after John Douglass resigned last month.