EAST PALESTINE - Sometime this season, East Palestine basketball coach Tom Bingham started thinking hard about his coaching future.
That's when he knew it was time to step aside.
"It's like (former Steelers coach) Chuck Noll used to say 'When you start thinking about it, then it's time,'" Bingham said.
Choking back emotion, Bingham made the announcement of his resignation as basketball coach at the East Palestine school board meeting on Monday.
He said the board of education and Superintendent George Fisk offered him a chance to reconsider, and during that time he just couldn't change his mind.
He said that if he stayed, he wouldn't be able to give 100 percent anymore.
"It's just a lot of time ... a lot of wear and tear mentally and physically," he said.
He added that over the years there have been a lot of sleepless nights-especially the evenings before a game.
"Nothing happened to lead me to this decision, I just felt mentally and physically burned out," he said.
He just completed his ninth consecutive season as the head basketball coach at East Palestine. His career record at East Palestine - which includes six seasons in a previous stint - is 219-131. He also coached one season at Southern Local where he posted a 10-13 record.
His tenure included many Tri-County League and Inter-Tri County League championships. He said he started discussing his future as a coach with his wife and parents during the season. That eventually led to the decision to step down. He let the team know he was not returning when the players handed in their uniforms at the end of the season.
Board member Rube Ginder, who has also served as scorekeeper the last 20 years, was also told of Bingham's intentions to resign prior to the meeting.
"It's going to be different not having him around," he said.
The two played basketball together in high school and have been "lifelong friends," he added.
The coach said he doesn't have any plans to come back after taking a few seasons off like he did in the early 2000s.
"I have no idea. I can't predict the future," Bingham said.
One thing is fore sure, he will miss the athletes.
"I have been blessed with talented and great kids," he said.
His father Bill Bingham volunteered alongside him over the years after retiring from his own coaching positions with the district and said said the athletes they have coached have always been well behaved.
He confirmed his son's decision was based solely on being "burnt out."
"If you don't feel like you can give 100 percent anymore then it's time to give up," he said.
Fisk joked that he would have liked Bingham to stay on even if he could muster up 85 percent.
Board member Sue Weigle thanked Bingham on behalf of the board for his service as coach and his dedication to the students.
Bingham said the board has given him "outstanding and unwavering" support over the years.
Now, he's going to focus on working on his golf game.
"I want to be a better golfer, so (former PGA golfer and East Palestine resident) Jerry McGee will stop harassing me," he said.