Wamego football coach Dale Burkholder is stepping down after a four year run that included the school’s first playoff appearance since 2007.
“Telling some of my kids yesterday was the toughest thing I’ve ever done,” Burkholder said. “I love those kids.”
The 65-year-old Burkholder, who has a wife that recently retired, cited spending more time with his grandchildren as the primary reason for his departure. Burkholder was commuting around 100 miles a day to Wamego during his time at the school.
“We have six grandsons, and the only thing that bothered me last year was that I knew I had an eighth grade grandson playing football and I could never go watch him,” Burkholder said. “He’s the oldest, so I’ve got five more coming.”
Burkholder went just 1-8 during his first season at Wamego in 2011 but won 20 games over the next three seasons, including back-to-back NCKL championships and a district championship this past season.
“It’s a great place and there are winners there,” Burkholder said. “I think the last couple of years have put Wamego on the map as a school that can play competitive 4A football.”
Burkholder may join his wife in retirement, but wouldn’t totally rule out a return to coaching someday.
“I still look at coverages in my sleep, and I still draw plays in church,” Burkholder said. “It’s in my blood.”