Daniel Armstrong didn't rule out coaching again in the near future.
"I might coach peewee," he said with a laugh.
For now, he is hanging up the headset as a high school coach. Armstrong resigned as Fairview's sideline boss Friday morning, he said, the day after the Eagles' season ended with a 57-0 loss to Raceland in the Class A, District 6 semifinals. He is taking a job outside the education field.
Armstrong cited advice from his first coaching boss at Greenup County in spurring the realization it was time to move on.
"I'm caught between being a great teacher, a great coach and a great dad," said Armstrong, who with wife Chelsey parents 14-month-old son Bennett. "Chris Mullins told me when I got into coaching you can pick two, but you can't do all three. So when my priorities changed, I put my family and my son above everything else, and a new opportunity presented itself outside of education and it's just an opportunity that I'm willing to take and run with."
Fairview completed its third season under Armstrong on Thursday night. The Eagles were 0-12 in 2021 -- counting two COVID-19 cancellation forfeits as reported to the KHSAA -- and 5-25 with Armstrong in charge.
That time wasn't devoid of positivity, though. Fairview's 38-6 victory at Morgan County in its third game with Armstrong as coach on Sept. 13, 2019 ended a drought of 14 games over 23 months between wins.
The Eagles added two more wins that season and won their 2020 opener, a 20-6 decision over the Cougars.
Fairview only dressed 17 players on Thursday night against Raceland and trotted out its third starting quarterback of the season. But just participating in that game was indicative of the school's spirit, said Armstrong, a 2008 Fairview alumnus.
"We're a community that has always kind of had a little bit of a harder road, and we gotta fight and strain and work for everything that we get here," Armstrong said. "Those values have been instilled in me."
Armstrong's replacement will be Fairview's seventh coach in 17 seasons. Armstrong was a rising Eagles senior when Fairview underwent the first of those changes as Rex Cooksey stepped in to replace Chad Tackett, now Ashland's defensive coordinator.
"It's been that way in this community for a long time," Armstrong said, "and I think the greatest thing it does for our kids is prepares them to overcome adversity. ... We're prepared, when the road throws us a bump or a pothole, we're pretty able to adjust and change direction and pivot and move on and get better from that little bit of adversity."
Fairview athletic director Rick Lambert referred a request for comment to district superintendent Jackie Risden-Smith.
"Our coaches have a tremendous amount of responsibility resulting in a significant impact on the education of our students," Risden-Smith said. "I understand Mr. Armstrong’s decision and I appreciate the hard work he’s put in for our kids and district."
Armstrong doesn't plan to be on a high school sideline next fall, he said, but didn't rule out a return to the game.
"I think I'm probably gonna take a couple years off," he said. "I don't have any immediate plans to coach anywhere. I'm not leaving here to go coach somewhere else. You never know, but I still have a lot of passion for the game and still a lot of love for coaching kids and the schematic parts of it."
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