Pete Tucci recalled a quote from Bill Parcells when he thought about stepping down as Norwalk High's football coach. "He said if you've ever even thought about quitting, in a sense, you already have,'' Tucci said. "That stuck with me."
Tucci will retire as Norwalk's coach after the Bears' annual Thanksgiving showdown against intracity rival Brien McMahon High School. Tucci took over as coach of the Bears in 1998 and has a career record of 58-72. He led the Bears to the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference title game in his first year, but Darien won that contest, 28-13.
Tucci said it was a "very hard" decision to relinquish his head coaching duties. He is looking to devote more time to his family, particularly his grandchildren. His son-in-low, Marco Monteiro, died earlier this year at age 38. "There were times when I felt like I should be there for them, and I wasn't,'' Tucci said.
Norwalk started the season with a stunning 19-7 win over Greenwich , the team's first victory over the Cardinals in 30 years. The Bears are 2-6 since that game, however. Tucci said this year's frustrations had little to do with his resignation.
He may return as the school's baseball coach. Tucci stepped down as the team's coach in 2000, when his son, Pete Jr., was playing baseball in the minor leagues with organizations affiliated with the Toronto Blue Jays and San Diego Padres.
"Baseball's a little easier because it's not a lot of nights, and there aren't too many games on weekends,'' Tucci said. "I don't want it to seem to the football players like I'm choosing one over the other. I think coaching baseball, the schedule is a little bit more manageable."
Several assistants on Tucci's staff will be considered for the head coaching position. Athletic director Wayne Mones will also seek external candidates.
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