Luther Welsh isn't just saying this might be his last year coaching football.
In the past, he's hinted that he might retire from the game that he's coached for the past 55 years.
This time, he's not dropping a hint.
This time, it's for real.
He's leaving prep football coaching circles.
The 78-year-old legendary coach has decided to give into retirement, as the head mentor of the Thomson High School Bulldogs following the conclusion of the 2010 football season.
"It's time to go," lamented coach Welsh during a recent interview with The McDuffie Mirror . "I've always heard that when a coach has coached a long time, he would know when it's time to go without anybody telling him. Well, I've decided it's time to go."
Coach Welsh said he's not sad about his decision.
"I'm actually pleased about it," he said. "This is something I've done for a long, long time. And now it's time to turn away from it and do some other things that I want to do while I still can."
He said he's going to miss the game because it's given him so much joy in his life.
"I'll miss it," said coach Welsh. "It's time."
He said Wright Bazemore, former legendary football head coach at Valdosta High School in Valdosta, Ga., once told him that he'd know when it was time to leave coaching.
"'It's something no one can tell you; you'll just know when that time has come,"' said coach Welsh, remembering almost verbatim what his friend had told him many years ago.
Such a time has now arrived for him, he said.
Coach Welsh and his wife, Ann, plan to move back to where he grew up in Lee County, S.C., about a 21/2 hour drive from Thomson.
"I want to go back home to South Carolina and live," said coach Welsh. "That's my home -- where I grew up. That's where I want to retire."
Coach Welsh plans to attend football games involving his grandchildren.
"I'm going to watch them play a little football, but I'm going to be watching them from the stands -- not down on the field," said coach Welsh.