CHARLESTON, W.VA. -- It hasn't been lost on John Messinger that he's now part of the majority in the Mountain State Athletic Conference.
The majority of ex-coaches.
By stepping down this week as the football coach at South Charleston - a position that netted him and the school a pair of Class AAA championships in his seven years - he becomes the ninth league coach to resign since the 2010 season.
That's a lot of turnover, even in a conference that had 16 teams until this year. Messinger's decision makes it two down since the regular season ended earlier this month, since Ralph Hensley stepped away at Riverside.
"If you look around,'' Messinger said, "the guard is changing. Look at how many have gone in just the last couple years. In a few more years, it's going to be all new faces.
"I remember when they asked me to do this job and I went to my first MSAC meeting [in 2006]. I was in total awe of the coaches in that room. Now [Ted] Spadaro's gone, [Chip] McMillian's gone, [Derek] Christian's gone. I don't feel obligated to leave because I've gotten old. Like I said, I'm not dying. It's not like I'm putting together some huge bucket list. There's just some things I'd like to do.''
One of the things Messinger wants to do is follow the athletic career of his daughter, Ella, who just finished her sophomore season in volleyball at Glenville State. He'd also like to get back into competitive powerlifting, a sport in which he's won 28 state championships and five national championships.
"A couple things really had a profound effect on me,'' Messinger said. "My daughter's had about 60 matches in volleyball and track in college and I've seen her play about five. And for 35 years, every other weekend I went to a weightlifting meet somewhere. I've still got some old guys working with me and I'd like to go do that again.
"Between that and the past summer when I lost my mother and my aunt died . . . well, I told the kids and I told [SC Principal] Mike Arbogast that when next season starts, I'll be 60 years old and I want to spend more time with my family.''
Messinger has certainly left his mark on the program. In his seven seasons, the Black Eagles won 62 of 83 games, made the playoffs four times and captured state titles back-to-back in 2008-09 while compiling a school-record 19-game winning streak.