Bluffton High School track and field coach Alan Dunson has announced he is leaving the program.
Dunson, who has led the Bobcats' boys and girls track teams for the last three years, said he is taking a job as the assistant track and field coach at Ashland (Ohio) University, his alma mater.
According to athletics director Dave Adams, Bobcats' cross country coach Dana House will take over for Dunson as head track and field coach.
"It was some of the most difficult conversations I've ever had," Dunson said of announcing his decision to his team. "Leaving the area, the program, the community is really very difficult. I like to think everything I involve myself in is almost a family type environment."
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Dunson said leaving Bluffton, where he is also a geometry and statistics teacher, was not a decision he was prepared to make so soon. But when the opening at Ashland came up, it was too good an opportunity to pass up.
"It's an opportunity that in the long run I would have regretted not taking advantage of it," Dunson said. "Things have been working out so much better than expected."
Dunson said he expects the Bluffton program, which sent just one athlete to the state meet this year, to improve over the next two to three years.
"There's a countless number of sophomores and freshman and some eighth graders that I know will be very good," Dunson said. "I'm just going to miss those kids."
Follow reporter Kendall Salter at twitter.com/IPBG_Kendall