Dale Mueller, the winningest championship football coach in state history, is giving up the reins of Highlands' powerhouse program.
Mueller announced Monday he was retiring as the Bluebirds coach, but it was a decision he made last year.
"I actually told my family and the Highlands administration last December that this was going to be my last year," he said.
Mueller just finished his 20th season at Highlands. The Bluebirds were going for a seventh consecutive state title but were upset by Collins 37-34 in Saturday's Class 4A finals in Bowling Green.
Mueller led Highlands to 11 state titles, a state record for coaches, and accounted for half of the Bluebirds' 22 championships, a state record they share with Trinity.
Mueller was a high school head coach in Cincinnati for nine years before taking over at Highlands, his alma mater, in 1994. He had an overall record of 309-67, including a 250-36 mark at Highlands.
Mueller said several factors entered into his decision to call it quits.
"The first thing, I'm 59 years old and I just don't have the energy anymore to do the job the way I think it should be done," he said.
Mueller also said that it's time that he center his time around his family, and not have his family revolve around his coaching.
"My two daughters got married during the (high school sports) dead period when it worked best for dad and football," he said.
"Our Thanksgiving meals were always early because dad always had football practice that day.
"Yes, I absolutely loved coaching, but it's time for me to revolve around my family, not them around me."
Mueller, who played on an undefeated state championship team when he was a sophomore at Highlands, said he's one of the Bluebirds' biggest fans and is excited to see the next chapter of the program unfold.
"It's time for a change," he said. "I think the next coach will have a better weight program, a better offensive scheme, run more organized practices, and guys will have even more fun playing Highlands football.
"And I think we'll have even more success."
Mueller plans to continue teaching at Highlands and serving as athletic director.
Mike Fields: (859) 231-3337. Twitter: @MikeFieldsNotes. Blog: fieldsnotes.bloginky.com