All things considered, Rock Farlow has had a good run.
“Now I'll let someone else work that hard for a while,” Farlow said.
The head coach of 19 years, which included stops at three area schools, most recently Margaretta for the past five seasons, has said he has retired from coaching Tuesday.
Farlow is 111-81 overall with four conference championships and a state championship.
However, Farlow didn't completely close the door on a return years down the road.
“I ultimately made the decision to retire,” he said. “I've got two more years to go as a school teacher and I'm eligible to retire from that as well. I'm not going to say it's 100 percent over, because I may eat my words.
“I'm 50 years old and relatively young in terms of having years left in me, but right now immediately, yes, I'm happy to let someone else take the reigns and I'll kick back and spend time with my two girls and my wife.”
Farlow has two young daughters, Topanga, 8, and Mariska, 4.
“I'm backwards, I had my family later in my life,” he said. “I had the chance to be single and not worry about losing family time when I was coaching for so many years. I'll step back and spend time with my girls. Who knows down the road, but immediately I'm happy.”
Farlow, a native of Geneva, Indiana, started as an assistant coach at New London in 1985. He finally became the head coach at the Firelands Conference school in 1992, where he stayed for five seasons while compiling an impressive 35-18 record with two FC titles and two playoff appearances.
“I've always been a small town guy, so I liked New London a lot,” Farlow said. “I was itching to get my shot. I was there quite a while, and I almost got to a point where I thought maybe it will pass me by with no shot. Then Jim (Kubuske) left and it opened up for me, and we had a great run with great kids.”
In 1994, the Wildcats steamrolled teams to a 10-0 regular season, but were Division IV and had to face defending state champion Wauseon, which at the time had the longest winning streak in Ohio.
New London lost the game, 24-6.
“We were the smallest and last team in Division IV, which was unfortunate,” Farlow said. “We were right at the cutoff. We were going to play Orrville or Wauseon, and the word New London didn't go with those guys.
“We needed to ease in more than facing someone of that caliber right off the bat.”
In 1995, New London went 9-1, again winning a share of the FC. This time it beat Clearview in the first round before falling in a snowstorm to Waynedale, 16-13.
“We lose 19 starters and come back and lose in a regional title game on a fourth and goal call in six inches of snow,” Farlow said. “We were so close to being in the state semifinals.”
From 1997-2004, Farlow was head coach at Perkins, which culminated in his ultimate accomplishment.
“I think it was a perfect fit. It was just one of those things,” Farlow said of Perkins. “It was just a perfect group of kids that responded to a guy like me really well. I think that's what it all comes down to sometimes, timing and fitting.
“They needed a little fire to them. They had a reputation of being kind of soft, but we shed that reputation in a hurry. It was one of those perfect storms that worked out well for everyone.”
Farlow's Pirates opened with a 6-4 record in 1997, and went 8-3 the next season with the program's first-ever playoff appearance, a first-round loss to Aurora. But in 1999, it all came together perfectly.
The Pirates marched through all challengers, finishing 15-0 and winning the Div. IV state championship in the final 30 seconds vs. Ironton.