Coaching takes a lot of sacrifice and commitment.
But so does raising a family.
On Monday, Chiefland football coach James Corbin announced on social media that he was stepping down to spend more time with his wife, Savannah, and his daughter Flora, who will turn a year old on Nov. 29.
“I knew when we had our baby girl my time was running out as head coach,” Corbin said. “However, this senior class had been through three coaches in three years when I stepped in as head coach, and I knew they didn’t deserve to go through four coaches in four years. Therefore, I knew when I took over, I was in for at least two seasons.”
Corbin said the difficulties arose from the time commitment that both take.
“I am fully committed to my team and program and that means working a lot of hours both during the regular season and the offseason,” he said. “I’ve loved every minute I’ve got to spend with my team, but I’m looking forward to having some extra hours of the day with my wife and daughter.”
The season came to an end for the Indians (4-7) last Friday with a 49-16 loss at Newberry in the first round of the Class 1R state playoffs.
Last year, Chiefland finished 7-3 and also qualified for the postseason, defeating Newberry, 49-7, in the first round before losing at Pahokee in the regional semifinals.
But it was the difference he made off the field that should be remembered most.
“My only goal as a coach is to ensure that when these young men graduate that they will look back in five or 10 years and say that they are in a better place because of the impact I had on their lives,” he said. “Last year, we saw 11 of our 17 seniors go on to college, three of which are playing college football right now and four more who turned down that opportunity. One joined the military, and the rest joined the workforce following high school. That is success, to me.”
Corbin said he told his kids from day one “even if you were blessed enough to play in the NFL, there is going to come a day where football ends.”
“What else do you have to offer,” Corbin asked of his players. “I think the kids that have passed through this program are exceptional young men, and I can’t wait to see where this senior class goes next. I’ve coached some phenomenal athletes here at Chiefland and they certainly made me a better coach. I have built relationships with some players that have transcended football and I will never forget those.”
The back-to-back playoff appearances extended Chiefland’s postseason streak to six years in a row.
“Going to the playoffs both years, getting a playoff win in my first season and being voted FACA district coach of the year my first season are all really big accolades for me, but it really is all about the relationships,” Corbin said. “My favorite game I’ve coached was actually the game we lost this season to Dixie County (19-18 on Oct. 6). Although it didn’t fall in our favor, it was one of the most chaotic endings I’ve ever seen in a high school football game.”
Corbin said he was pleased overall with what he did as head coach of the Indians.
“Absolutely,” he said. “Wins and losses will come and go and I don’t want to be the coach who hangs their hat on the success that the players found. The kids made me a better coach each and every day, but to never have missed the playoffs and to continue to be able to build that standard is really special.”
The foundation was set before he arrived as head coach.
Despite only coaching for two seasons, Corbin has left his fingerprints all over the program.
“I think Chiefland football is in a fantastic place right now,” Corbin said. “This season, we had a lot of growing pains moving into a new school and new facility. We didn’t have locker rooms in until week three this year, believe it or not.”
Under Corbin, the Chiefland football program was able to accomplish “some major things through community support.” “We finished our locker room, built a new weight room and have some major plans for the near future,” he said. “The standard has been set and the foundation has been built upon. I am beyond excited to see what’s next for Indian football.”