Jeremy Thibault announced his resignation as Centralia High School football coach after five seasons Wednesday night.
Thibault, a 1996 Centralia graduate, took the job in 2017 after a five-year stint at Toledo, where he posted a 40-15 record that included three state playoff appearances and trips to the 2B state semifinals in 2014 and 2016.
Thibault went 12-32 in his five years with Centralia, including a 1-8 season this year, and struggled with turnout numbers and eligibility issues throughout.
Thibault said the wear and tear of the job eventually took hold and became too much. When he first took the job, he hoped to have the Tigers able to compete with Tumwater and Chehalis within four years.
“When I look across town and see what they have going on, we aren’t even close,” Thibault said. “We’ve worked hard trying to get it turned around, but I don’t see it happening any time soon. I’m emotionally and mentally drained.”
He said at Toledo his anxiety would come from competing for league titles with 2B powerhouses Napavine, Adna and Kalama. At Centralia, the anxiety comes from just trying to be competitive with the rest of the 2A Evergreen Conference.
Thibault, who owns Centralia Auto Center, Chehalis Auto Center and A Better Towing Company, said with everything else going on in his life, from spending time with his daughter and son, and expanding his businesses, he just isn’t able to give 100% to the head coaching job anymore. He wants to focus on his family and personal life.
“Love my players. They competed and gave so much effort,” Thibault said. “My kids are becoming more involved in sports and extra-curricular activities, and I have a lot of irons in the fire with my businesses expanding. Something had to give. I will always be a Tiger for life, but it’s time for someone else to give it a crack.”
He’s been mulling the decision since last winter during last season, but didn’t want the shortened COVID season to be the reason he left. And he didn’t want to leave the school hanging during that time to try and find a replacement. Now the school levy has passed and sports are funded at the school, and with the 2021 season just ended, it will give new athletic director Tim Ahern ample time to find a replacement.
“I’ve talked with a lot of people and coaches and they all said it, ‘When it’s time, it’s time,’” Thibault said. “I don’t want this to be viewed as giving up or anything. It’s not. I love Centralia football. I want to view this as a reset or relaunch.”
Thibault said he’s not ruling out coaching in the future, maybe as an assistant, or possibly as a head coach again somewhere else. But, for now, it’s time for a break.