By John Lachmann
After setting the all-time Kentucky mark for consecutive state championships and winning a record 11 states titles overall in 20 seasons, Highlands football coach Dale Mueller is calling it quits.
Mueller, 59, he will remain the athletic director and advanced placement physics teacher through 2014-15.
“I decided last December that this season was going to be my last season, and I told my family and I told the administration at Highlands that this was going to be last year,” Mueller said.
Mueller began his coaching career with Cincinnati Withrow and Sycamore before taking over the helm at Highlands in 1994. He finishes his career with 309 total wins and a 250-36 record (.874) in Kentucky.
Highlands’ win in the state semifinals at Lexington Catholic made him the 19th coach in state history to reach the 250-win mark. The Bluebirds lost, 37-34 in the state championship on Dec. 7 to finish his final campaign 13-2.
Highlands had set the state record for consecutive championships in 2012 by winning its sixth straight. Mueller’s mark of 11 overall titles leads all Kentucky coaches, as he is one ahead of Louisville Trinity coach Bob Beatty.
“I’m 59 years old and I just don’t have the energy to do the job that I think you should do as a high school coach and still do the rest of my job as a teacher and a father and a grandfather,” Mueller said. “I just don’t have the energy I had when I was 40.”
Mueller also said his family has made tremendous sacrifices over the years due to his schedule, which is another reason he chose to step down.
“My family’s just been wonderfully accommodating to me – both my daughters got married in the middle of the Kentucky dead period – that’s what worked best for dad and football,” Mueller said. “And our Thanksgiving dinner always had to be early in the day because I was going to practice every night.
“I’ve really spent a lot of time around football and my family and friends have revolved their time around football, and it’s just time for me to be able to revolve my time around them.”
Mueller also thinks the next coach can improve upon his standard and he is eager to see what the next coach will be able to accomplish as head of the Bluebirds.
“I loved being the Highlands football coach, but I think I’m going to enjoy not being the Highlands football coach,” Mueller said.
NKY TOP ALL-TIME COACHES
Bob Schneider (NewCath) 345-183-2 – 653
Owen Hauck (Boone County) 258-109-1 – .703
Dale Mueller (Highlands) 250-36 – .874