By DAN GOLDMAN
The most successful era in Summerville High School football came to a sudden and unexpected halt yesterday when it was announced that head coach Dave Woods is stepping down for health reasons.
Woods, who guided the Bears to four Mother Lode League titles and seven playoff appearances while compiling a record of 81-53-2 (.596 winning percentage) in his 13 years, made the decision based on his doctor's recommendation.
"It's something that I've been dealing with on-and-off for the last four or five years," Woods said. "It could be life-or-death if I don't deal with it. I would never say never, but right now, it looks like a career thing, so I'm probably done."
Woods announced his situation to next season's team and Summerville principal Dave Urquhart in separate meetings last Friday.
"I'm living with it," said Woods, who will continue teaching in the Summerville district. "It's kind of hard when it first hits you. My wife (Sue) and I talked a lot and I talked to my kids (Josh, Tim and Dave Jr.).
"It's just a game; life goes on," he added. "I wouldn't say I wanted to quit coaching this way, but it's got to stop sometime."
After taking over the then-moribound Summerville program in 1990, Woods immediately transformed the Bears from perennial doormat to perennial contender.
In his first season as Summerville's head coach, a year after Summerville had gone 0-9, Woods took the Bears to a record of 7-3 and the first playoff appearance in school history. Woods and the Bears followed that up in 1991 with a record of 8-2 good for a second straight playoff berth and the school's first MLL title since 1963.