BLOOMINGTON — Central Catholic announced Friday that head football coach Joe Walters has been relieved of his duties after one season.
Athletic director Hud Venerable said in a late afternoon announcement by the school that Walters “stepped up at a challenging time and led our team through a difficult season. We now need to focus on bringing long-term stability to our football program.”
Contacted later, Venerable said, "All I want to say is sometimes things just don't work out like you want."
Central principal Sean Foster said Walters “taught our student athletes how to work through and endure trying times with grace and to become strong as a result.”
Walters came to Central after going 9-9 in two seasons at Bloomington. Prior to that, he was 42-23 in a seven-year stint at Peoria Notre Dame.
"They asked if I wanted to resign or be fired. I said, 'I don't want to resign.' So they said, 'We'll have to let you go,'" Walters said. "They said they want to go a different direction with leadership."
Asked if he was surprised, Walters said, "Big time."
"It (the season) was challenging," he said. "We had 28 players and after injuries we were left with 22 for most of the season. I did learn a lot about suffering and perseverance. I take that as a lesson learned, for sure. You have to learn those things the hard way."
Walters said "the positive side" is he will be able to devote more time to his businesses: Reinhart Grounds Maintenance and Mr. Appliance.
"I'll be able to focus on coaching those individuals who work for me to better serve our customers," he said.
Will he seek to coach again?
"Oh man, I don't know," he said. "I want to be at a faith-based environment. I've always said that. I'll just pray and see what happens."