Sayville High School football coach Rob Hoss, who led the Golden Flashes to five Long Island Class III championships in 15 years, has decided to retire.
Hoss, who is a social studies teacher and social studies chairman for the district, will remain in his teaching and administrative positions.
“I thought I’d be buried on the football field and that I’d never leave coaching,” Hoss said. “I have a burning desire for coaching and it hasn’t changed in the past 15 years. The competing, the strategizing, the grind, it was all that defined me. And I don’t love it any less now. I am a coach. It’s why I got into education, to mold and teach young people.”
An emotional Hoss, 43, said his decision to give up coaching was strictly based on family.
“My three children are at the age where I need to be there all the time,” Hoss said. “There is no such thing as a part-time dad. I’ve done a bad job of always putting the Sayville football program ahead of my family. I don’t know how my wife always put up with it. I have no regrets about putting the time that I put into the program. But it’s time.”
Hoss married his wife, Suzanne, in 2002, the same year he was named head football coach at Sayville.
He made a name for himself by leading the Golden Flashes to 10 appearances in the Suffolk Division III championship game and winning eight county titles. His .818 winning percentage ranks second in Suffolk history (to Lou Howard, Amityville, .835). His career record is 130-29, including undefeated seasons in 2004, 2011 and 2015. This season, led by Hansen Award-winning quarterback Jack Coan, Sayville compiled a 10-1 record, losing to East Islip, 42-35, in the Suffolk Division III final.
“I don’t have an ‘off’ button, and for 15 years, my wife put up with me,” Hoss said. “I can’t shut my brain off. I could never find the perspective and find the balance to coach and have proper family time. I couldn’t stop the planning, the thinking, because the more we won, the more I worked. I couldn’t even enjoy winning anymore because I was so afraid to lose — it just consumed me. I love coaching, but I knew I couldn’t do this anymore.”
Hoss has traveled the country with his 13-year-old daughter, Brooke, who plays lacrosse. His daughter Taylor is 11, and he said her time is coming on the lacrosse field. But it was something his 8-year-old son Robert said that made him think deeply about his commitment to family.
“I started to game-plan at 3:45 in the morning and planned on getting to Robert’s game [football] by the 9 a.m. start in Northport,” he said. “I missed his game, and it was the third one that I’d missed. When he came home, I promised to get to the next game and he looked at me and said, ‘You promised you were coming and you didn’t. I don’t trust you.’ That’s when I realized it was time.”
He said it was painful to break the news to his players.
Said Hoss, “It was hard to keep it together.”