Carl Eaton, a month away from turning 60, has decided to end a softball coaching career that lasted 25 seasons.
Eaton said he decided he didn't have the energy to continue coaching that he once had.
"I like coaching and watching players develop," he said. "Coaching is a blast, especially being on third base during games, but the other things that come up during coaching take a lot of energy."
Eaton coached Lakeview High School for the past nine seasons, compiling a record of 111-49. Before that, he spent 16 seasons at McDonald.
"With the loss of coach Eaton as our girls softball coach, Lakeview is losing a great man and someone we were proud to have represented our district," Lakeview athletic director Mike DeToro said. "At Lakeview, we pride ourselves on hiring quality individuals to coach our interscholastic teams. Coach Eaton certainly fit that criteria. He was a man of integrity. His years as a teacher shined through in terms of patience and nurturing on the softball diamond. In that respect, the softball diamond was an extension of his classroom."
He led the Bulldogs as far as the district semifinals on three occasions, but they weren't able to get past that point. Lakeview lost in that round twice to Poland and to Canfield this past season.
Eaton was part of the McDonald softball program from its very beginning.
"I remember Tracie Logar pitching McDonald to its first ever victory over Mineral Ridge (I believe as a sophomore)," he said. "She later went on to pitch for Kent State University."
He was also a part of history as coach at Lakeview.
"I remember Abbey Bensing pitching two no-hitters in a row for Lakeview to set a state record," Eaton said. "The one against Liberty was one in which she struck out every batter. She struck out 19 because we won in six innings, and one of the batters reached on a third-strike passed ball.
"The year we won the TAC-8 in 2007, we were 18-2. We lost to Ursuline on a passed ball with a runner on third in a tie game (in the regular season). That was exciting. Ursuline was always good competition. We were undefeated in the TAC-8 that year. The next year we were co-champs with LaBrae. We were 19-4 that year. Usually in softball you have good pitching. If you have good pitching you have a good chance of winning."
Eaton added that he also has fond memories of Lakeview's games against its top rivals.
"Lately Alexis Neumeister helped get us to districts," he said. "The district game against Poland and always the competition against Champion. We were always playing against Champion whether they were in our league or not was good competition and that always got you up more than other games.
"Just being on third base and calling the signals and watching the athletes grow over the years."
With his coaching career over, Eaton said he plans an easy retirement with not a lot of activity.
"Just babysit the grandchildren and golfing," he said. "You never say never (about coaching again), but for right now that's where it's at."
Before being named Lakeview's athletic director, DeToro shared the Bulldogs' diamond with Eaton and is pleased his old friend will be able to enjoy his retirement.
"I've been Lakeview's A.D. for five years. Prior to that, I was our head baseball coach," DeToro said. "I have fond memories of sharing bus rides with Coach Eaton's softball teams back then.
"Coach Eaton is a family man and I know he will now get to spend even more time with his grandkids this spring. Frankly, who can blame a man for wanting to do that?"
Eaton spent 32 years as a teacher at McDonald, 30 of those mentoring sixth graders. He had many people to thank for his success.
"I enjoyed the students and the people of McDonald and have fond memories of coaching the athletes of Lakeview High School," he said. "I would like to thank the players and assistant coaches through the years, both at McDonald and Lakeview, for their effort and their abilities that helped the program. Whether we achieved great seasons or not, I appreciate their effort."