Glenn Gess wants to see his son and daughter grow up.
One of the most successful coaches in the history of Haddonfield Memorial High School officially announced last week that he was stepping down from his storied girls' soccer program.
Now, he'll have time to coach his son, Derek, in soccer and watch his daughter, Briana, compete with the Bulldawgs cross-country team next fall.
“I know a lot of coaches who regret missing time watching their own kids compete,” Gess said. “I can't do that. It was an extremely tough decision to give up coaching, but one I had to make.”
Gess said he knew this would be his final season back in the summer, but having all those months to prepare didn’t make stepping away any easier.
“I knew in August this would be my last season, but I had no idea how tough it would be to officially say goodbye,” Gess said. “There are so many people to thank and I will not even begin to list them because I do not want to miss anyone. My nine years at (Haddonfield) have been very rewarding.
"Like I've said to anyone who would listen, I am the luckiest coach around. I have been blessed with awesome coaches, a supportive athletic director, great volunteers, loyal parents, and the most unbelievable group of young ladies year after year.
"There is no doubt in my mind that Lefty Banos and the school administration will find the right coach to continue the culture we built nine years ago. I am so proud of this program and I look forward to its continued success on and off the field.”
Gess prided himself on creating a defense-first approach that often featured having 10 players behind the ball. His teams became so good at the style that whenever the Bulldawgs took a 1-0 lead, it felt like the game was over.
The 2011 season may have been the best of his coaching career as he guided the Bulldawgs to a 25-2 record and a South Jersey Group 2 title. That squad did not allow a goal through its first nine games and allowed just three the entire regular season.
This year’s bunch was not far behind, winning a Colonial Conference Liberty Division championship and earning the No. 1 seed in the Group 2 playoffs.
Gess currently owns more than 270 wins in his coaching career, and finished with just one home loss over eight seasons. He won six South Jersey titles with the Bulldawgs and eight Colonial Conference Liberty Division crowns.
Prior to coming to coach at Haddonfield, Gess held the same title at Haddon Township, where he led the Hawks to a pair of Colonial Conference titles and a Group 1 championship in 2000. He stepped down following the 2002 season, before returning to the sidelines as the Bulldawgs coach in 2004. He still teaches physical education at Haddon Township High School.
Gess is the only coach to lead a squad to the original 10-team Colonial Conference title, the Colonial Patriot title and a Colonial Liberty title.
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