What made the success of New Palestine High School football coach Tim Able all the more remarkable is the reason he resigned earlier this week.
Able, 52, led the Dragons to a 30-6 record -- including a sectional title in 2009 and Hoosier Heritage Conference titles in 2010 and '11 -- over the past three seasons while working 25 miles away in Decatur Township. He was hoping to be hired at New Palestine, but no jobs have opened, according to athletic director Al Cooper.
"Last year I was getting to practice late," said Able, who works at two elementary schools. "Schools start at different times in Decatur Township, but I can't choose which school I work for and I was still going to be a half-hour late to practice. You're running out of one building, to the car, going above the speed limit and hoping you don't get in a wreck, then I had to stay later (at New Palestine).
"I felt like it was best (to resign)."
Cooper said the position will be filled on an interim basis because of the timing. He will discuss the position with current assistants but is also accepting resumes.
"This is not a great time to be looking for a football coach" with the season opening on Aug. 17, Cooper said, "(But) we just don't have a teaching situation where we can create a position or add staff, and there's very little turnover.
"(Able) is a great person and a great football coach. His record speaks for itself. He's been operating this way for three years and his success is amazing under the circumstances. It's a big, big loss for us. (But) we have a great community of football passion, so we'll rally around it."
Able was previously coach at Decatur Central (eight years), East Noble (six) and North Davies (three), compiling a 125-98 overall record.
"The kids as a whole were awesome to coach," Able said. "They love the game, understand the details of the game and the commitment it takes to be successful. There's a good staff there. The machine will keep rolling in the right direction."
Athletes of the year
Speedway's JoJo Daghe, Bishop Chatard's Mary Davis, North Central's Futsum Zienasellassie and Tyler Willis of Cathedral were named the Marion County and City senior athletes of the year by a panel of athletic directors.
Daghe, the County's female honoree, lettered in 12 sports during her career, was valedictorian with a 4.17 grade-point average, scored the second most career soccer goals in state history (137) and was the first girls basketball player to surpass 1,000 points (finishing with 1,137) at Speedway.
Zienasellassie is the male County winner after establishing himself as one of the top distance runners in Indiana high school history, winning three cross-country state championships and four at 3,200 meters.
Davis is the girls' City winner after a career that included two City cross-country championships; four appearances in the cross-country state finals; eight City track titles; and qualifying for the state track meet three times, helping the Trojans to a best-ever fifth-place finish this year. She also had a 4.38 GPA.
Willis earned the male City recognition by making all-state twice as a defensive back while leading the Irish to two state titles; winning four City wrestling titles and making four state meet appearances, finishing second as a senior.
Brebeuf soccer player Jalen Brown has committed to Xavier. . . . Pendleton Heights' Kenzie Gustin committed to Evansville. . . . Carlos Zavaleta was named boys soccer coach at Brebeuf Jesuit. . . . Jason Young was named Hamilton Southeastern's volleyball coach. . . . Lebanon hired Brad Mustin as boys tennis coach, replacing Roy Flanary, who retired after a 44-year coaching career. Mustin played for Flanary and is a graduate of Marian.
Call Star assistant sports editor Nat Newell at (317) 444-6182.