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For the past 18 seasons, Steve George has been on the sidelines of Newtown High School football games — the last ten of which he led the way as head coach — and while it’s possible George may be on hand to help run plays in years to come, he made this past campaign his last as the leader of the Nighthawks, after helping the Nighthawks to an undefeated regular slate and a state playoff appearance.
“It’s hard to step away from some something you enjoy — really hard, but nothing lasts forever,” said George, who added that it is possible he will be back coaching in a smaller role, as an assistant.
“I knew it was time,” said George who, along with his wife, Laura, has three children — 9-year-old Jake, 6-year-old Peyton, and 3-year-old Alexis — and a fourth on the way.
George adds that he needs to devote more time to family, now that his children are getting older, and that the football team is also deserving of someone who can put in the necessary hours.
“It’s what you’ve got to do,” said George, adding that every fall his wife took one for the team — really two teams: the George family and the Nighthawks — during his coaching tenure.
“She took a lot of pressure off me, taking care of the kids,” George said.
He will remain at Newtown High, helping educate and shape students, as an auto shop teacher; he’s taught at Newtown High since 1999, the same year he began as an assistant football coach with the program.
George’s days begin prior to the first class early in the morning and, when he coached football, continued until 6 pm with the student-athletes — watching film, and practicing — throughout the fall.
Then for another hour and a half or so per night the coach broke down film and prepared practice itineraries from home. Then there are game nights and weekend time spent preparing for practices and games. It’s a lot of work, and a lot of hours.
“It’s also rewarding,” which is what made stepping down somewhat of a difficult decision for George. “If you love it, it’s fun.”
George said a rewarding part of the ride is that he’s had an opportunity to work alongside great coaches as well as students, some of whom have gone on to coach with him, throughout the years. Among his best memories were a regular-season overtime win over Bunnell of Stratford, the upset of previously unbeaten Ansonia, and the team’s South-West Conference championships.
The Newtown educator/coach grew up here and won a state title with the Newtown High squad during his playing days, which culminated with his graduation in 1993. He and his family now reside in Seymour. An announcement has not been made as to who will succeed George.