Warren Central athletic director Marques Clayton asked his wife if he had pursued her as hard as did Lawrence Central football coach Jayson West.
Her answer: No. Wednesday, Clayton got his man as the school board approved the hiring of West as football and track and field coach. West, who will also teach physical education, will start in his new teaching position in January. "Once we opened up the search to outside coaches, Jayson was definitely a priority," Clayton said. "When you look at what he's accomplished at Lawrence Central, he took a program that had never played for a state championship to the final game two of the last three years. Going 15-0 in Class 5A (last season), there are only a few teams that have been fortunate to do that. It's more than his football coaching; it's about the human being that he is. He's just a great person." West, 41, had a 52-12 record in five seasons with Lawrence Central. The Bears reached the 2010 Class 5A state title game before losing to Fishers. "It's very tough to leave," West said. "The kids are great and the administration is great. I'm not running away from anything. It's more about my family and a life decision." West said he cried twice when he told his Lawrence Central players he was leaving Wednesday afternoon. "If you are doing your job right, you love those kids," West said. "They're going to be great because they know how to do it now." West and his wife Tori and their three young children live in Warren Township. He said he will be able to spend more time at home working in a community where his children will be attending school. "You have to be well-rounded at home to be a well-rounded coach," West said. West replaces Warren Central interim coach Steve Tutsie, who took over when John Hart left last winter. The Warriors, who were eliminated by Lawrence Central in the second round of the sectional, finished 5-6 last season. Tutsie previously was the Warriors coach in 2006-07, winning the 5A state title in 2006 with a 15-0 mark. West said he didn't talk much with the Warren Central administration about the tradition. "We've not talked about the past or wins and losses," West said. "That was very refreshing. It was a community decision and teaching decision for me. It wasn't just a football decision. If it was, it wasn't the right reason."