Whittell coach says ’09 season will be his last | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Whittell coach says ’09 season will be his last

Steve Yingling, Tribune sports editor

Road trips to Battle Mountain and Lovelock won’t bother David Atherton this season.

The second-year Whittell High School football coach has been living most of the year on the road in his new job with Dental Refiners. Atherton works as a purchasing agent for scrap metal – mainly gold – and his employee responsibilities require him to travel into southern and eastern parts of the United States. His road trips take up to two weeks time, then he returns home for two weeks off.

“I’m ready to enter the next stage of my life,” Atherton said.

“I have to pay bills. At some point, we want a better life. I love Tahoe and I definitely want to stay here, and to stay here, this job is what is keeping me around.”

Consequently, Atherton said the 2009 season will be his last – for the time being – with the Whittell High School football program.

“I’m not stopping football because of this job. I’m 32, and I do want to grow up, get married and have some kids. Chicks don’t mix with football,” he said. “I will continue to work with kids in the community year after year, even if I was to move to Florida.”

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Atherton will be missed by the players who have been with him the past four years.

“He’s like our older brother, on and off the field,” said Whittell senior lineman Nick Warner. “If we ask him to do anything, he’ll do it. It’s that different respect that sets him apart from all of the other coaches.”

“It’s like a brotherhood,” said senior running back Cody Nelson. “All of us have Dave’s number in our phones, and we can call him up anytime we feel like it. He’ll drive out of his way to come get us. We all have each other’s backs.”

Last year in his first season as Whittell’s head coach, one of the school’s most famous football alums guided the Warriors to the postseason for the first time since 2002.

“Getting the lights on the field was a big deal and coaching the kids and getting to the playoffs last year, that was a daydream. Daydreams do come true,” Atherton said.

Atherton said when – not if – he returns to live full-time in the community, he’ll pursue his former position.

“I like the comeback story. Somehow, some way I will coach Whittell football again,” he said. “Right now, I need to focus on myself.”