Loyola football coach Brian Abbott has stepped down after 10 years, four Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference titles and six Turkey Bowl victories.
"I just think your internal clock tells you it's time," Abbott said. "My goal was never to be a coach that was a head coach for 30 years. There's a lot of opportunities out there and staying here at Loyola. I'm going to go back to grad school in the fall and just find new opportunities and be excited about the things that I can do."
Abbott, 45, will remain at the school, where he will continue to run the school's summer programs and the Blakefield Experience program as well as coach middle school lacrosse.
A St. Paul's and Towson University graduate, Abbott has been a head football coach for 18 years -- eight at St Paul's before moving to Loyola. At St. Paul's, he led the Crusaders to MIAA B Conference titles in 1995 and 1996. He took over the Dons from Joe Brune in 2002 and finishes his Loyola career with a 78-30 record and A Conference titles in 2003, 2006, 2007 and 2008 (two of them shared).
More importantly perhaps, he led the Dons to six victories in the Turkey Bowl, the 92-year-old Thanksgiving Day rivalry with Calvert Hall.
Abbot said he plans to stay involved with high school football through volunteer efforts, including with the Baltimore Touchdown Club, an organization he helped found but hasn't had much time to devote to, because being a head coach takes up so much time.
"I've been doing it for a long time, whether it was over at St. Paul's or here, and it is a grind," Abbott said. "It's a full-time job that encompasses 365 days a year. That's preparing kids and the climate of football has changed. There's some things that I think are great. There's some other things I don't like as much."
Abbott, whose team finished 6-4 this fall and just missed the playoffs, informed the Loyola administration of his decision Wednesday, told his coaching staff Thursday and told his players Friday.
"Young men, they take things and they move on very quickly," Abbott said. "I'm here to support them. I'll continue [to help] the seniors that we have all wrapped up in their recruiting for college and I'll continue to prep the junior film and transcripts for those boys, because I'm not going anywhere."
Abbott, who continues to officiate high school and college lacrosse, plans to see a lot of football games in the fall -- high school games as well as some college games that feature former Dons players.
He also plans to watch his children -- a 13-year old and 10-year-old twins -- in more of their games. One of the things he's looking forward to most is a full August vacation with his family instead of slipping in a few short visits while preparing for the season to kick off.