For the past two or three years, Brandon Dennis has known the day would come when he would call it a day as baseball head coach at Daviess County High School.
And Dennis, 40, did so following the Panthers' season-ending 6-5 loss to Owensboro in the first round of the 9th District Tournament on May 20 at Chautauqua Park.
But it wasn't easy.
"It's the hardest decision I've ever had to make, but my kids are growing up and getting older and it was best for me to step down," I'm super-excited to get the extra time with my family.
"But (resigning) it stings a little bit, and coaches who have made decisions like I made have told me that it will sting next spring when the weather starts getting warmer. I'm sure there will be an adjustment."
Indeed, Dennis has spent most of his life in the game, as either a player, an assistant coach, or a head coach -- the vast majority of those years being at DC.
"I've spent nearly half my life on a Daviess County baseball field, and that's what made the decision so tough," he said. "But I've reached a point where it's time to put the program in someone else's hands."
Daviess County athletic director Larry Logsdon says the school is looking to fill the position as quickly as possible.
"It's posted, and we are in the process of hiring a new coach," Logsdon said. "We want to make the hire as soon as possible and make it as seamless as possible for our baseball program."
Dennis was a star high school player under Hall of Fame coach Bob Mantooth at Apollo, where he graduated in 1997. A prolific power hitter, Dennis really blossomed at Brescia University, where he set program home run records before graduating in 2001.
He served as Daviess County assistant under both Jeff Hurley and another Hall of Famer, Gary Bartlett, before assuming the head coach responsibilities in 2009.
In 11 seasons at the helm, Dennis fashioned a record of 203-160 (.559), posting six 20-victory seasons, winning 9th District championships in 2013, 2016 and 2017, and winning 3rd Region titles in 2010 and 2014.
"The 2010 season stands out as being special because we made an unexpected run to the (KHSAA State Tournament) final eight," Dennis said. "That turned out to be a very special team, and it featured Austin Clay and Caleb McIntire, two significant players who returned to the program as assistant coaches.
"The 2014 team also won a regional championship and they, too, were a very special group."
As his coaching career progressed, however, Dennis said he began measuring the success of the program differently.
"Oh, I still wanted to win -- always," he said, "but in time I learned how important and gratifying it was to see our players grow as individuals, become good citizens, and make a positive impact even after their playing days were through.
"In the end, helping them become quality young men is really what it's all about."
Now, Dennis has stepped away from the sport he has loved passionately for so long.
"It's going to be different, but I've been so blessed along the way," Dennis said. "I sit back and think of playing for a man like Bob Mantooth, serving as an assistant under men like Jeff Hurley and Gary Bartlett, and I realize how fortunate I've been.
"It's been a wonderful experience."