It was while Tim Daniels was working as an assistant coach for a postseason all-star game that the thought first crossed his mind.
Coaching the offensive line three years ago for a senior showcase, Daniels enjoyed working outside the spotlight that comes with being a head coach.
So after 18 years of leading a high school football program, the last 10 at Red Bank, Daniels resigned Thursday.
"I don't have any other coaching offers or anything else going. I'm just tired," Daniels said. "After every season you kind of evaluate where you are in your career, and I just kept going back to how much fun it was as an assistant in that all-star game, not having to deal with all the extras that come with being the head guy.
"The wheels have been turning in my head for a long time, and I finally decided this is the right time. I've had a blast and have zero regrets right now. I love working with the kids and Red Bank High School, but I'm just ready to take a step back."
Daniels, who was the head coach at Loudon High School for eight years before coming to Red Bank, compiled a 77-40 record with the Lions, including last season's 7-4 finish, and has a 149-65 overall record.
He had the unenviable task of taking over for a local legend by following Tom Weathers, who had guided the Lions for 28 years and had won its only state championship just two years before Daniels took over. With a roster loaded with younger players, Daniels took his lumps for the first two years, going a combined 3-17, but then turned things around and led the Lions to eight consecutive playoff appearances, four region titles, a district championship and an average of nine wins a season the last eight years.
Daniels, who played offensive line at the University of Tennessee, had three undefeated regular seasons before quarterfinal losses, twice to eventual state champion Maryville and the other time to state runner-up Greeneville.
He said he would help with the coaching search if asked and did not rule out continuing to coach as an assistant, although that is unlikely at Red Bank. The Lions' new coach will be only the third to head the program since 1972.