After leading the turnaround of Piner High School varsity football, head coach John Antonio announced his resignation Friday.
Antonio, whose teams compiled a 22-32 record in his tenure, met with Prospectors both past and present Friday after informing school officials of his decision earlier in the day, he said.
“The greatest accomplishment is every single year, the expectation is that you are going to make playoffs,” he said. “We have that winning expectation.”
Antonio, who is a full-time patrol officer with the Petaluma Police Department, said he expects that to continue despite his departure.
“They are in great shape,” he said. “The program has grown every year.”
In 2011, Antonio took over a squad that had gone 1-9 overall and 1-6 in North Bay League play the previous year, before the NBL and Sonoma County League were reconfigured.
Antonio’s Prospectors went 1-9 and 1-5 in 2011 but improved in their inagural SCL season in 2012 and nearly every year since. The Prospectors were 6-5 last fall with a 4-2 record in the SCL. They were beaten 41-0 by Bishop O’Dowd in the first round of the North Coast Section Division 3 playoffs.
“The highlight to me is the fact that the program is breathing again,” he said. “To see where it’s at today and to look back?
“It wasn’t me, it was we,” he said.
Antonio praised the school’s administration and teachers for promoting the campus and successfully boosting what had been declining enrollment.
Antonio said his departure was based not on football, but on his young family. He and his wife live in Petaluma and they have sons who are 9 and 4.
“I haven’t been part of my own family’s lives — birthday parties and dinners — because of football,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it. I’m not going to hang up coaching; just take a step back.”
Antonio expects to continue coaching locally next season but not as a head coach.
You can reach Kerry Benefield at 526-8671 or email@example.com, on Twitter @benefield and on Instagram at kerry.benefield. Podcasting on iTunes “Overtime with Benefield.”