After 33 years of high school football and four years after his sophomore stint at Red Land High School, Frank Gay has stepped down as head coach of the Patriots.
Gay resigned as director of the York County program Wednesday morning after speaking to family and friends over the past few days, he said. His resignation is pending approval by the West Shore School District Board of Education.
Gay cited frustration and the attrition of the coach over the past four seasons as his top reasons for retiring.
“I’ve been trying to change the culture at Red Land for four years,” Gay said in a phone call Thursday morning, “and it’s been a really tough process, I’m not going to lie.” but I was getting more and more frustrated with the kids not showing up and the kids we count on or they missed and they have this excuse. And here I am, frustrated in front of the kids who are really good kids who show everything and see me in that light. And here I am, and I’m close to them. It’s not fair to them, it’s not fair.
“Coaching has certainly changed over the past four years, and I’ve just looked in the mirror and said, ‘Am I the guy for this job? Am I the type to change this culture?’ For the past month and a half, I’ve kept asking myself, looking in the mirror, and realizing that I don’t think I’m the right person for this job.”
Gay spent two stints as head coach at Red Land. In 2003, he landed his first head coaching job with the Patriots and managed the program until 2010. From 2011 to 2016, Gay coached Camp Hill’s football program and led the Lions to two straight District 3 titles and a 44-25 overall record in 2014 and 2015 .
In 2017 he took on a volunteer position as an assistant coach at Dover before returning to Red Land in 2018. During his two stints with the Patriots, Gay compiled an overall record of 55-70 and led Red Land to a Class 3A district championship in 2006 and a PIAA State semifinals in the same year. The Patriots lost four straight seasons in Gay’s second stint.
On Thursday morning, Gay said he has retired from coaching and will see what life without football feels like in the summer.
In an email Thursday afternoon, Red Land’s athletic director Tom Peifer told The Sentinel that the head coaching position is set to be advertised sometime late Thursday.
“100% chance to be around the kids all the time,” Gay says of what he’ll miss the most. “I think they are great kids and I have some great kids who I will miss very much. I’ve been trying to get her to understand that I’m not going to give up on you, but that I’m being realistic with myself and with you guys.”