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David Abbott talks with Justin Jones during Senior Night.

While sitting on a milk crate outside of a cold North Laurel stadium watching his football team win their last game of the season, coach David Abbott fought to stay warm.

Moments later, warmth came in a heavy dose as his team scored on the first play of the game and pointed to their coach. Little did they know Abbott was handing in his resignation on Monday morning.

After being suspended for the last two games of the season for complaining to officials that his team was not getting a fair shake during their play-off hopes ending loss to Perry Co. Central, Abbott met with school officials, who felt it was time to move on in his coaching career.

“They felt it was best for me to resign,” Abbott said. “So it kinda took all the thought out of it for me, but I don’t blame them. I haven’t produced the wins you would like to see and you have to win some games, it’s the nature of the game.” Abbott was 9-31 in four seasons at North Laurel.

Although Abbott and the Jaguars came up a game short of making the play-offs in back-to-back seasons, Abbott did make an impact during his time as head coach.

Abbott knocked off the 8th ranked team in the state, Madison Central, 26-23 in overtime during the 2005 season. He also started the first ever football camp at North Laurel back in 2006. The number of players have also doubled during his tenure from 40 some kids to 80 some kids this season.

“It was my dream to coach football in my hometown,” Abbott said. “I was raised on Hawk Creek and if North was built back then I would have went to North Laurel. I know most of these kids and their families. I have always felt like a part of them.”

Abbott also wanted to thank the people who helped him get his start at North Laurel.

“I want to thank coach Larry Welch for giving me a job,” Abbott said. “I would like to thank Greg Duncum for making me his defensive coordinator and Sheila Hibbard for hiring me as head coach.”

After the game last Friday night, the players gathered at midfield, but something was missing. The players ran to the corner of the end zone and jumped the fence to be with their coach. After an emotional gathering, the team, now completely intact ,said their post game prayer. After the game Abbott informed his players he would not be back next season.

“It was emotional,” Abbott said. “They had a lot of question and there were a lot of hugs and good-byes, they were sad. They wanted me to stay, but I explained the situation to them. When they ran over to me after the game I knew they had accepted me as their coach and a part of their family. It was the best moment ever as a coach.”

Abbott wants to return to coaching, but plans on taking a year away from the game and spending time with his family.

“I will be back on the sidelines soon,” Abbott said. “I will spend the summer with my kids, Brandon and Emily. Everything has been scheduled around football so I will finally be able to play daddy for a while. My wife Rose and the kids have been so supportive of me. My wife and little girl have cried more than I have about this situation, but my son is excited about having me around more.”

Tim Branstetter can be reached at tbranstetter@sentinel-echo.com.

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