There's something to be said for going out on top.
Or almost on top.
Such is the case with Bill Bonham, who was approved Monday night at the Tiffin City Schools board meeting as the new volleyball coach for Columbian High School.
He leaves Buckeye Central after four seasons at the helm, where he compiled a 90-12 record with four North Central Conference titles and a trip to the Division IV state final four tournament this fall.
"I've lost sleep over this wondering if this was the right decision or not. My desire to go back to Columbian is not a secret to people. It all comes down that Columbian is home for me," said Bonham, a 1994 graduate of the school. "What we've accomplished in the last four years is stunning. But it's not just winning. It's the way the girls have matured and grown into young adults. That's what's hard to walk away from. They've surpassed any expectation that I've ever had."
Bonham met with his BC team to break the news on Monday night after basketball practice.
"It was very somber. It was very quiet," Bonham said of telling them. "Not a lot of words on their end. A lot of heads down and teary eyes but not a lot of talking."
The coach has a 105-43 record in his career, which began in the fall of 1995 as a volunteer assistant at Columbian under Mindy Myers. He did it because he wanted to coach his sister, Amanda Ward.
His first head coaching gig was at Fremont Ross in 2007, where he stayed two seasons before leaving to coach at Buckeye Central.
"I get to choose when I'm leaving. I'm going out on good terms where kids still appreciate me. Hopefully I can get that trust with Tiffin," Bonham said. "Being part of the Buckeye Central volleyball program with its storied tradition and success, it's got to be like making it to the majors with the New York Yankees or playing for the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. There's certain places like that for a high school athlete and Buckeye Central is one of those places."
He hopes he can turn Columbian into that kind of program as well.
"I know there's some players there. There's talent there. We need to build a program," Bonham said. "When I say build a program, I mean getting the community involved. We need players to trust in their coach and trust in each other. We have to approach it with the right attitude. They've done things a certain way for the last few years and it hasn't been successful. It needs to change."
Bonham said it will take a lot of work.
"I think the varsity team had five wins last year. That's unacceptable and we're going to work to change that," Bonham said. "We can't say that Player A is good and Player B is good. We need to say that Tiffin Columbian is good."
At BC, Bonham continued a tradition of keeping his athletes involved in offseason volleyball programs, like Black Swamp.
"It doesn't stop there. We need to get kids involved in every age level and get them coming to the high school games. We need a youth program. We need offseason activities, be it Black Swamp or another sport," Bonham said. "We don't have any varsity players playing varsity basketball and vice versa. We have good athletes in the hallways at Columbian and we need to get them involved."
Bonham said there will be some public meetings in the coming weeks and months to make sure parents and student athletes are on the same page.
He knows what it's like to coach a top notch program. He knows what he has in front of him, too.
"As hard as it is to walk away from that, I'm excited about what I'm walking into at Tiffin Columbian," Bonham said.