College Football Coach Calls Fourth Timeout to Tell Players He’s Retiring, Walks Off Field

Denny Douds left in style after 45 years in charge of East Stroudsburg University. 
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Head coach Denny Douds left in style after 45 years in charge of East Stroudsburg University. 

Douds, 77, spent the past 53 years coaching at the eastern Pennsylvania school, including 45 as head coach, but decided Saturday to call it a career. With his Warriors trailing by two touchdowns against Ohio Dominican University and the Panthers kneeling out the clock, Douds decided to call a timeout to let his players know he was stepping aside.

“I nudged the official in front of me and I said, ‘Sir, we are going to call a fourth timeout. I know that’s illegal, you’re going to penalize it, but that’s OK. I’m retiring,’” Douds told WNEP. “I called timeout with four seconds to go, blew the whistle, the kids came in and I told them this is what we’re doing.”

The plan caused some confusion on the field but Douds did walk off the field as planned and right to his car.

The Warriors have two road games left this season and will be coached by associate head coach Jimmy Terwilliger, a former record-setting quarterback under Douds. Terwillger’s father, Mike, also played quarterback under Douds and has been the offensive coordinator for ESU since 2001. 

Douds compiled 264 wins in his 45 years running the team, the most ever in the history of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference and the most among any active NCAA football coach at the time of his retirement. It has been a disappointing season for Douds and ESU, with a 1–8 record thus far, but Douds isn’t letting it end his career on a sour note. 

“I told my wife when I leave the stadium, I am going to tip my hat and say, ‘I love ya,’” Douds told WNEP. “I tipped my hat, walked to the car, and smiled all the way home.”