“It was just time,” Norris said Monday. “Sometimes you just know when it’s time. I’m really excited about the athletic department as a whole at Sullivan North. I want to make sure all of our student-athletes are better off after they finish their career at Sullivan North.”
Norris has been North’s athletic director since last year. He became the Golden Raiders’ football coach in 2006 and put together a record of 85-50 while making the playoffs nine times and winning two conference championships.
He had two teams make the state quarterfinals. The 2011 team went 12-1 and the 2012 squad was 11-2. Norris was also an assistant at North from 1996-2001 before serving on Graham Clark’s staff at Dobyns-Bennett for four years.
The 49-year-old Norris said the reality of not being a coach will hit him when the lights come on that first Friday night of next season.
“Absolutely,” he said. “I love coaching. I’m just grateful. I’m grateful for my family. It’s not easy to be the family of a coach sometimes. I’m grateful for the players, my assistant coaches and the administration that gave me a chance to be a head coach. I’m grateful for the community. I was born and raised here.”
Norris said there wasn’t a timetable for the school to hire a replacement.
“I think there are all kinds of qualified people on staff to become a head coach,” he said. “I think that’s one of the reasons we’ve had success.”
That success made stepping away from coaching a little easier, knowing he’s left a solid program behind for the next man on the job.
“The program is in good shape,” Norris said. “They’re used to being successful and I think they’ll continue to be successful. I’ll do everything I can to help that process. I’m going to stay out of the way, but anything I can help, I’ll do it.”