By SOOJUNG KI
Mr. Mark Cunningham, the head coach of the football team and Co-Chair of the Athletic Department, declared at the team’s annual banquet in late January that he will retire at the end of the school year after coaching for 32 years.
“I realized that if I leave this year, there’ll be a full-time PE position, which can be very attractive for football coaches,” Cunningham said. “I think that in order to do what’s right for [UHS], this was the time.”
After discussing with Principal Dr. Kevin Astor, Cunningham decided to retire to take a break in his life and open up opportunities for UHS to hire a new head football coach and physical education teacher.
“The most amazing thing about Mr. Cunningham that I personally will miss the most is his commitment to kids,” Astor said.
Football players from current and past seasons congratulate and regret Cunningham’s departure.
“If I ever had a problem with anything, he was the guy I would go to,” senior Jonathan Monaco said. “It sucks to see him go because I really do feel that he was a good guy for his job, and I wish him the absolute best and hope he has a fun retirement.”
In addition to working with students and faculty members, Cunningham has continually worked with the sports commissioners of the Associated Student Body (ASB).
“We would send the GOW schedule to him, and work together to promote all the sports,” Boys Spots Commissioner senior Neah Lekan said. “We’re sad to see him go obviously; he was a great component of this school, but it’s important for him to take the next step.”
After his retirement, Cunningham hopes to take a break and take some time to himself.
“I want to ski, play some golf, do some reading and I still will coach football. I’ll just be an assistant coach, where there’s not quite as much of a demand,” Cunningham said. “It’s just going to give me a little bit of time to reflect; I’ll do some traveling and slow down a little bit.”
The administration is currently taking applications from both UHS and outside of UHS to find a suitable replacement for Cunningham in the upcoming 2018-19 school year in the next month.
The new employee will help to assume the roles that Cunningham has left open.
“I will have nothing but the fondest memories going forward,” Cunningham said. “I love this place, I will always love this place, and it has a very special place in my heart.”