For 18 years, Bill Ackerman has coached some of West York's finest athletes.
Now it's time for him to spend more time coaching his own kids, he said.
Ackerman, who has spent the last 18 years coaching the West York boys' basketball team, submitted his resignation Tuesday morning, citing a desire to spend more time with his family.
"I have a 5-year-old daughter and an 11-year-old son and I've already missed a lot with them," Ackerman said. "There are other things I want to do in life. I've coached other people's kids for 18 years. Maybe it's time to coach my own."
The Bulldogs won three YAIAA titles and one District 3 title during his tenure. Ackerman weighed this question after each of the last five seasons, he said, but this time he felt he couldn't fully commit for another season and would rather hand over the reins than give less than 100 percent.
"After every season I reevaluate if I still have what it takes to be a productive head coach," Ackerman said. "Right after this season I started to reflect and think about moving forward and if I'm the right guy. I wouldn't say I'm burnt out. I just always thought it would be time to leave when I couldn't put my heart and soul into it. So maybe it's time for someone else to take the reins."
Ackerman informed his players Tuesday of his decision. West York athletic director Frank Hawkins said the school would address Ackerman's resignation on Wednesday.
"When coach told us that he was stepping down as head coach, I was in shock," Bulldogs senior forward Darian McCauley said. "Coach Ack lives West York basketball. He's a huge reason why West York basketball has had so much success over the years. All of us players buy into everything he tells us and I just have so much respect for him. The room became silent and we were all in shock. However, we all completely understood why he was resigning and support him 100 percent. Every single person on our team went up to him and hugged him because he has something special with each of us. We look up to him."
The coaching job has always been a labor of love, Ackerman said, but it was becoming more time consuming than ever.
"Being a head coach has really become a monster," Ackerman said. "You don't ever get a break and if you do take one, someone passes you by. I've always put the team first and the team before me. If I would've come back, that would be me putting my self interests before them."
Ackerman's biggest message to his team has always been to "walk the walk," McCauley said.
"Ackerman has been saying that for as long as I can remember," McCauley said. "He always tells us and teaches us how to face adversity. On and off the court he wants the best for us and teaches us how to become men. My freshman year was when Ackerman was diagnosed with cancer and he didn't even seem to flinch about it. He looked at it as another problem to overcome. He walked the walk and won that battle, and 'walk the walk' sticks in my mind every time."
Ackerman has never taught or coached anywhere other than West York and admitted "tomorrow is going to be a little different."
So what comes next? Ackerman is taking classes to get his certification to become a principal. In the meantime, he'll still teach at West York, and he added that he'll still handle offseason workouts and youth camps until a new coach is named.
Building relationships with the players is what Ackerman will miss the most, he said.
"I was talking to another coach today and I reminded him that wins and losses will fade," Ackerman said. "But relationships are something you and others can take with you the rest of your life."
A look back at Ack
West York boys' basketball coach Bill Ackerman, who resigned from his position on Tuesday, had a successful tenure at the school. Here's a look back:
- During his 18-years as Bulldogs head coach, Ackerman held a 348-133 record.
- Ackerman-led teams won three YAIAA titles and one district championship.
- Between the 1998-99 and 2009-10 seasons, West York lost just 64 games combined -- an average of just over 10 per season.
- Ackerman said he's stepping away as Bulldogs coach to spend more time with his children.