ATHENS, P.A. (WENY) - After leading the Athens High School football program for 22 years, Head Coach Jack Young is retiring.

The news was first reported by Pat McDonald of The Daily review after Athens Area School District Superintendent, Craig Stage announced in Tuesday night's school board meeting that Young will be retiring from coaching and teaching. 

"Just a big thank you to Coach Young," Athens Area School District Superintendent, Craig Stage said in Tuesday's school board meeting. "Twenty-two years is an incredible amount of time to have an impact on our student-athletes. He leads well, he was a person that I would be very confident around students and I would love to have more role models like Coach Young."

Young led the Wildcats to a lot of success during his time with the program, including six Northern Tier League Championships and a District IV title in 2004. Young also coached the East Team in the Big 33 East-West game in 2021. Last season, Young guided Athens to a 7-5 overall record where they advanced to the District IV Class AAA Semifinals before falling to top-seeded Danville.

WENY Sports caught up with Young on Thursday as he discussed making the process of making the decision to retire. 

"A little bit of time into the new year and as we got through the winter, I just weighed out all of my options and looked at some of those dreams and aspirations my wife and I have and it's just time," Young said. "In the end, I'm confident that I'm doing the right thing for myself and my family and see what this next journey is going to be like."

Young also reflected on a storied career and what he'll cherish the most as he hopes he made a positive impact on the lives of the student-athletes he coached.

"Just in the last two days, I've had former players reach out to me who I haven't heard from in years so just those relationships. When a kid comes back to me and says hey coach, this is something I'll never forget about football, that means something to me," Young said.

"Hopefully they respected me, and hopefully I could contribute to something, help build a little character, help them instill something in them to make them a great person in whatever community they end up in, a great husband, a great father. If I could help build in any of those characteristics, then I guess it was a success" he added.

In Tuesday's school board meeting, Athens Superintendent, Craig Stage said the school district will soon be advertising its Varsity Head Football Coach opening.