By Ryan Atkinson
Globe Sports Writer
David Large said he knew three years ago that a big decision was looming in his future.
His two daughters — Ashlea and Amber — were nearing high school and their activities, namely softball, would begin to compete with Cassville High School football for Large’s attention.
On Monday, Large officially made that big decision.
Large, who helped build Cassville into a Class 3 state football power, stepped down as the Wildcats’ head coach.
“I always told my kids that family comes before football,” Large said on Monday night. “I have to practice what I preach.”
Large’s oldest daughter, Ashlea, will be a freshman next year. Large said she chose to play softball over cheerleading.
“She’s always been big into travel softball so I knew this could be a possibility,” he said. “Then earlier this year, when she told me she had decided to play softball in high school, I knew I was in trouble.”
Large was 104-27 in his 11 seasons at Cassville and led the Wildcats to Class 3 state championships in 2008 and 2009. All this after working through an 0-10 campaign in his first season at the school.
“What stands out the most for me is what we were able to accomplish here,” he said. “Everybody looks at the state championships, and don’t get me wrong — those are great — but the community support, the atmosphere ... this really became a football community.
“We feel like everyone here worked hard and made this program as good as anyone in any class.”
Large, a native of Fort Scott, Kan., played baseball at and graduated from Pittsburg State University.
“I left college thinking I’d be a baseball coach,” he said. “But El Dorado Springs fired its whole football staff and I got a spot there as an assistant.”
He became the head coach a year later and went 29-15 before taking over at Cassville in 2002.
Large said he will remain employed in the Cassville school district and wouldn’t rule out any possible coaching duties in the future.
“I’m never going to say never,” he said. “I’ve got the next six years to enjoy my daughters going through high school and you never know what’s ahead of you. I learned a long time ago that you never close the door on anything.”