Jay Gratton leaves for work in the dark, returns in the dark and didn't want to leave anyone in the dark about where he might be at a given time, so he stepped down as Beaufort High School's softball coach after three seasons.
Gratton, the golf course superintendent at Old Tabby Links on Spring Island, has been part of the course's $4.5 million renovation since March, about the time softball season was winding down. The project is scheduled to finish at the end of October, just before softball practice begins.
Gratton, who began coaching when his daughter was a senior on the team and stayed on two more seasons, said he needed a break to spend time with family and maybe play a little golf.
"I've just been tired here lately," Gratton said.
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Gratton also spent three years as the Eagles junior varsity coach. The Eagles varsity made the playoffs in 2010 and 2011. They finished 8-12 this past season.
"It is sad to see him go," Beaufort High athletics director Jerry Linn said in an email. Linn said a small committee would find Gratton's replacement and that he hopes to have someone in place before the end of October.
Gratton said he would be available to help select another coach if Linn asks.
"We're proud of what took place there," Gratton said. "Hopefully the tradition will continue and they'll keep getting better."